9. Auburn (16-4)
Very few reasons for complaining existed in Auburn before this week. The Tigers had worked into the Top 10, were on a long winning streak, and were playing great basketball on both ends. Bruce Pearl is no stranger to success and certainly has this Tigers’ program humming along, with even the metrics looking great despite a weak nonconference schedule. Unfortunately, the schedule stiffened this week.
Trouble began on Wednesday, as Auburn lost a 79-75 battle at rival Alabama. Johni Broome was terrific with 25 points and 14 rebounds while Chad Baker-Mazara added 11 points off the bench, but it wasn’t enough on the road. Those issues away from home lingered into the weekend, as the Tigers fell 64-58 against Mississippi State in Starkville. Broome led the team again, this time with 14 points, but Auburn just didn’t get enough to get over the hump.
With the impressive that Auburn started this season, it’s clear that there’s no reason to panic after two tough road losses. The Tigers still played decent defense this week even if the offense failed to keep up on the road. A relatively tame start to SEC play wasn’t going to last forever, and there are even more challenges ahead. While next week’s home date with Vanderbilt shouldn’t be difficult, they’ll head to Ole Miss over the weekend for quite the showdown.