Bruce Pearl comments on Auburn potentially moving up to No. 1 after win over Ole Miss
Bruce Pearl’s Auburn basketball team made its case to be ranked No. 1. Now it’s up to the Associated Press Top 25 voters.
The Tigers defeated No. 22 Alabama 81-77 in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday and Ole Miss 80-71 in Oxford on Saturday. Auburn, currently ranked No. 4, is 2-0 on the week, while No. 1 Baylor lost twice this week and No. 3 UCLA fell to Oregon on Thursday. In his postgame press conference Saturday, Pearl commented on the possibility of being ranked No. 1 in the next poll.
“Well, you know, we’ve been managing the target for the last week or so, because we’ve put ourselves in position all this time climbing the rankings a little bit, and so, we had to deal with it tonight,” Pearl told reporters. “Look, we’re going to get beat, and when we get beat, it’s not because we rested on our laurels or we started to pay too much attention to what the media. If we got beat tonight – Ole Miss would have beaten us. They were good enough to beat us. They outplayed us for the first 18 minutes of that game.
“But at the same time, it is historic, and it does matter. And it does mean something. That’ll be a proud moment for Auburn, period, our university and athletic department. I understand that it doesn’t mean much right now, but it still makes a very strong statement.”
No. 2 Gonzaga also went 2-0 this week, improving its record to 14-2. Auburn is now 16-1. The recent win over Alabama may help the Tigers jump the Bulldogs. Gonzaga lost to Alabama 91-82 back on Dec. 4.