The Auburn Tigers are 17-1 and ranked #2 in the country. They have wins over ranked opponents Alabama, and LSU and unranked opponents Loyola-Chicago, Syracuse, and Florida. Their only loss came against UConn, a team fully capable of beating anyone in college basketball.
Offensively the tigers are borderline exceptional, they average 80 points per game, shoot 46% from the field, 72% from the free throw line, and 34% from behind the arc. They only turn the ball over 11 times per game, an extremely impressive statistic for a team that averages 75 possessions. The Tigers do a very good job of sharing the ball, and average 16 assists per game.
Few teams can keep pace with Auburn. Gonzaga and Arizona are perhaps the only other elite teams that can consistently go up and down the court with Auburn. Four Tigers average over 10 points per game. Ultra-athletic 6’6″ swingman Allen Flanigan just returned to the team. He’s averaging 8 points, and 4 rebounds a game and his Tigers are consistently blowing out opponents by 10+ points since his return.
Defensively the Tigers aren’t pushovers. They hold opponents to 69 points a game, and only 60 at home. Opponents shoot less than 39% from the field, and 31% from three against Auburn. The Tigers average almost 10 steals a game and allow opponents 11 assists against them a game. Auburn leads the country with over 8 blocked shots a game. These statistics are hardly elite but coupled with the Tigers explosive offense makes Auburn an extremely difficult out for anyone in America.
Auburn has three major strengths, top end talent, size, and depth. Projected #1 pick Jabari Smith, per NBADraft.net, leads the Tigers with just under 16 points per game. He’s a 6’10” small forward with point guard athleticism, and deep range. Smith shoots 43% from beyond the arc. Walker Kessler is 7’1″, plays the 5, averages 10 points and 4 blocks per game. Smith, Jabari Smith, Walker Kessler, and Dylan Cardwell are all over 6’8. The tigers play 8 guys at least 15 minutes. The only Tiger in the 9 man rotation that doesn’t play 15 minutes a game is 6’11 260 lb rebounding and defensive specialist Dylan Cardwell.
Yesterday the Tigers were favored by 21 against Georgia at home. They scored over 80 points again, covered the 21 point spread, and won by 23.
Are the Auburn Tigers the best team in the country? Yes, I think so. Thankfully, I bet them 75-1 multiple times before the season started, and stand to come out quite well if they win it all.