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.

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Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.