23. Auburn (9-2)
The Tigers lost a tough game to Baylor to open the regular season and were also shocked on the road against Appalachian State. Looking solely at the resume, the Tigers haven’t exactly stockpiled the flashy wins, especially with teams like Indiana, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame not looking elite by any means. Auburn may have collected their best win yet this past week and put themselves in fine position with conference play drawing closer.
That performance came way back on Sunday as the Tigers got a 91-75 win against USC. Five different Tigers were in double-figures, led by Aden Holloway’s 15-point effort in a balanced attack. After delivering against those Trojans, Auburn held serve on Friday night, getting an 82-62 victory at home over Alabama State. Jaylin Williams scored 20 while Johni Broome added 16 points and 13 rebounds, with the Tigers winning despite a porous shooting effort from outside the arc.
Bruce Pearl’s team has talent; there’s no question about that. They scored over 100 against Indiana and they’ve also had lockdown defensive performances. Not many people are paying attention to the Tigers quite yet, likely because they lack a significant or marquee victory. They’ll get plenty of chances for those once SEC play begins, though tune-ups with Chattanooga and Penn await in the next week and a half.