AUBURN, Ala. – For the first time in the 116-year history of Auburn men’s basketball, the program has achieved its first-ever No. 1 national ranking in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll released on Monday.
“The No. 1 ranking matters because it’s historical,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “I’m very happy for Auburn, I’m very happy for my coaches and our players to have been able to achieve that. That said, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Tigers (18-1, 7-0 SEC) received 45 first-place votes and 1,504 points from the 60-member voting panel comprised of media members across the country. Gonzaga was No. 2 with 15 first-place votes and 1,475 points.
Last week, Auburn beat Georgia and No. 12 Kentucky at home – where it remains an undefeated 10-0 this season in front of capacity crowds and The Jungle at Auburn Arena.
Auburn becomes only the eighth SEC school to achieve a No. 1 national ranking all-time. The Tigers are off to their fourth-best start in program history and only the second 7-0 SEC start next to the 1958-59 season. They are also the winningest SEC men’s basketball program (112 victories) over the last five years.
Sports Illustrated previously tabbed Auburn the No. 1 preseason squad in 1999, but the Tigers had never been ranked No. 1 in either the AP or USA TODAY/Coaches Top 25 Polls
Pearl has now led three schools to a No. 1 national ranking – Southern Indiana (NCAA Division II) in 1997, Tennessee in 2008 and Auburn in 2022. He is just one of three head coaches all-time to have three schools reach No. 1 in the polls, joining Frank McGuire (St. John’s, North Carolina and South Carolina) and John Calipari (UMass, Memphis and Kentucky).
Pearl is the only head men’s basketball coach in conference history to lead two SEC programs to No. 1 in the land.
“It’s an honor,” Pearl said. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity and to have the opportunity to do this job. But for those guys that know me, I’ll reflect on it in April. Right now, all of our attention is where it should be. And that’s not just coach talk. It truly is.”
COURTESY AUBURN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS