Monday, May 23, 2022

College basketball rankings: Auburn No. 1 for first time in school history in updated AP Top 25 poll

At long last, Auburn’s men’s basketball team reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 on Monday for the first time in program history following an 80-71 win over Kentucky on Saturday. That victory was apparently enough to give the Tigers (18-1, 7-0 SEC) an edge on Gonzaga, which fell from No. 1 to No. 2 this week despite a 78-62 victory against a strong San Francisco team. The Bulldogs (15-2, 4-0 WCC) enjoyed a narrow 1,486-1,482 points edge in the poll last week, even though Auburn actually received more first-place votes (36) than Gonzaga (25). But this time, the Auburn had a 29-point  edge and an even larger share of the first-place votes with 45 to Gonzaga’s 15 and Arizona’s 1.

Auburn is this season’s fifth No. 1 team, joining Gonzaga, Duke, Purdue and Baylor among the group of teams to hold the distinction. The Tigers had been No. 2 on multiple occasions in program history, including this past week. But with a deep roster headlined by potential No. 1 overall pick Jabari Smith and North Carolina transfer center Walker Kessler, the Tigers have one of the nation’s best front courts in the nation and the best defensive squad of Pearl’s eight-year tenure.

Behind that strong roster, Auburn is on a 15-game winning streak as it prepares to play at Missouri on Tuesday before hosting Oklahoma on Saturday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. 

In other poll developments, Texas Tech received a significant boost Monday by rising from No. 18 to No. 13 after knocking off Iowa State and West Virginia. The Red Raiders (15-4, 5-2 Big 12) have not suffered a loss outside of Quad 1 and are 4-4 in Quad 1 games entering a Monday night showdown with No. 5 Kansas.

Houston (17-2, 6-0 AAC) also enjoyed a nice bump from No. 10 to No. 7 as it continues to destroy AAC opposition in spite of season-ending injuries to key players Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark. The Cougars walloped East Carolina 79-36 on Saturday. 

Davidson cracked the poll for the first time this season at No. 25 amid a 15-game winning streak that included road wins over VCU and Fordham last week. It’s the first time in the AP poll since the 2014-15 season for the Wildcats. Marquette also made it in for the first time this season after the Golden Eagles (14-6, 6-3 Big East) knocked off Villanova and Xavier to improve their winning streak to six games.

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AP Top 25

1. Auburn (45)

2. Gonzaga (15)

3. Arizona (1)

4. Baylor

5. Kansas

6. Purdue

7. Houston

7. UCLA

9. Duke

10. Michigan St.

11. Wisconsin

12. Kentucky

13. Texas Tech

14. Villanova

15. Southern Cal

16. Ohio St.

17. Providence

18. Tennessee

19. LSU

20. UConn

21. Xavier

22. Marquette

23. Iowa St.

24. Illinois

25. Davidson

Others receiving votes: BYU 120, Alabama 77, Texas 61, Colorado St. 57, Florida St. 50, Loyola Chicago 21, Oregon 19, Wake Forest 12, Indiana 10, Murray St. 10, Iowa 8, TCU 6, Miami 4, Florida 3, Boise St. 3, Saint Mary’s (Cal) 3, Wyoming 2, Iona 1, Seton Hall 1.

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