Auburn Basketball Soars to No. 1 For First Time In History

The Auburn basketball program is No. 1 in the Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, which was released Monday, for the first time in history.

The Tigers (18-1, 7-0 SEC) rose from No. 2 after an 80-71 victory over No. 12 Kentucky (15-4, 5-2 SEC) on Saturday in Auburn, Alabama. The Wildcats remained at No. 12. Previous No. 1 Gonzaga (15-2, 4-0 West Coast Conference) dropped to No. 2.

“We held serve,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said after the win over Kentucky. “This was an incredible opportunity. We were good enough to beat a really good team that could get to the Final Four.”

So could Auburn, which Pearl took to the Final Four for the first time in 2019. “We’ve got to keep getting better. There’s a big price on our head.”

Auburn, which Pearl took to the SEC title in 2018, is alone in first place in the SEC by two games over Kentucky. The Tigers next play on Tuesday at Missouri (8-10, 2-4) at 8:30 p.m. eastern on the SEC Network.

The other SEC teams ranked were Tennessee (13-5, 4-3) at No. 18 after beating LSU, 64-50, on Saturday and rising six spots. LSU (15-4, 3-4) dropped six spots to No. 19 after losing its third straight game.

The rest of the top five has Arizona (16-1) at No. 3, Baylor (17-2) at No. 4 and Kansas (16-2) at No. 5, Kansas hosts Kentucky on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge (6 p.m. eastern, ESPN), but the Wildcats may not have point guard TyTy Washington, who injured his ankle in the first half at Auburn.

Purdue is No. 6 in the nation with a tie at No. 7 between UCLA and Houston with Duke at No. 9 and Michigan State at No. 10.

The second 10 has No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 12 Kentucky, No. 13 Texas Tech, No. 14 Villanova, No. 15 USC, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 17 Providence, No. 18 Tennessee, No. 19 LSU and No. 20 Connecticut. The bottom five has No. 21 Xavier, No. 22 Marquette, No. 23 Iowa State, No. 24 Illinois and No. 25 Davidson.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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