31 stats from Auburn's record-breaking 31 straight weeks in the AP Poll
Bruce Pearl's Tigers are making more history on Monday. Here are the numbers behind their program-record run of being a ranked team.
(Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)
If you’re reading this before 11 a.m. CT on Monday, hello from the future.
If you’re reading this after 11 a.m. CT on Monday, you probably already know the news by now: Auburn basketball is No. 15 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, making it 31 consecutive weeks in which the Tigers have been ranked.
That’s a new program record, breaking a tie with Cliff Ellis’ 1998-99 and 1999-2000 squads.
Those Tigers debuted in the poll on Dec. 14, 1998 and never dropped out the rest of the season, finishing No. 4 in the final rankings before the NCAA Tournament. In the following season, Auburn was No. 4 in the preseason poll and stayed in the top 25 until the end of the regular season, dropping out for a single week before reappearing at No. 24 in the final poll.
Auburn’s record-breaking run in the poll started at the start of last season, landing at No. 22 in the preseason poll and reaching as high as No. 1 before finishing at No. 8. And then, this season, the Tigers started at No. 15, went as low as No. 22 but has resumed climbing up the rankings with what is currently a five-game winning streak.
The Tigers have had several other long streaks, including a pair of 22-week runs under Bruce Pearl. But those runs came to an end via a losing skid during the 2018-19 season and lower preseason expectations ahead of a challenging 2020-21 campaign.
To put it another way, Auburn basketball hasn’t sustained this level of success for this long at any other point in program history. And while being ranked is more of a media-created honor than anything else — you don’t win trophies or hang banners for the polls — it still means something to Pearl and the Tigers.
“I've talked about making history,” Pearl said last week. “I have talked about that to the team. I think the thing that anybody would wrap their arms around is just trying to have a level of consistency of competitiveness in sports. So I'm proud of this team to have been able to, you know, put themselves in position to make history.
“Real history is made in March, not in January. But it's still significant. And it sends a message to the world of college basketball and our fan base and prospects that, you know, that this is not a flash in the pan. This is a top 25 program.”
To illustrate Auburn’s journey to this program record-breaking mark, The Observer has compiled 31 stats for the 31 consecutive polls that have featured Pearl’s Tigers.
Some are team-wide, while others are player-specific — but they all help tell the story of what Auburn has been able to do from the start of last season’s SEC championship run to now.
Pearl has now coached Auburn to three of the four longest streaks of consecutive AP poll appearances in program history, with the exception being the former record-holding run under Ellis.
If you add up those three streaks, you get 75 weeks of ranked basketball for Auburn. If you add up every other streak of two or more weeks in the poll for the Tigers, you get just 81 weeks. Why is that significant? Pearl has only been the head coach for nine of the 116 seasons in program history — yet Auburn has been ranked almost as much in the Pearl seasons as the non-Pearl seasons.
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