Auburn vs. NC State men’s basketball

Babatunde Akingbola (13) reacts to Samir Doughty’s (10) shot during the Auburn vs. NC State men’s basketball game at Auburn Arena on Dec. 19, 2019.

The undefeated Auburn men’s basketball team jumped to No. 5 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, bringing the Tigers back into the top five for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Auburn is 13-0 overall and 1-0 in SEC play after opening its conference season with a win at Mississippi State last Saturday. The Tigers return to the court Wednesday against Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. in Auburn Arena.

And the Tigers will do so sporting a top-five ranking for the first time since Jan. 17, 2000. Auburn is one of only two undefeated teams left in the country, having won 25 of its last 26 games dating back to last season.

Auburn entered this season ranked No. 24 in the AP’s preseason rankings, and has climbed ever since.

Kentucky is the only other SEC team ranked in the current AP Top 25, coming in at No. 14.

The top four ahead of Auburn includes No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 Baylor.

Breaking into the top five marks another milestone reached by Auburn basketball under Bruce Pearl not seen since those high-flying teams of the late 1990’s — if ever. Auburn’s highest ranking in the AP poll ever came during that 1999-2000 season, which saw the Tigers soar to No. 2 on the talent of stars like Chris Porter, Doc Robinson and Mamadou N’Diaye.

This season marks only the fifth in program history that has seen Auburn spend time in the nation’s top five. Those legends claim two of those instances, from the 1998-99 season and the 1999-2000 season. The other teams do to it were the 1986-87 Tigers led by then-coach Sonny Smith, and the 1958-59 Auburn basketball team — along with this year’s team, rewriting the record books once again.

Auburn is 13-0 for just the fourth time in program history.

The nation’s only other unbeaten team, San Diego State, is ranked No. 7 in the new AP Top 25.

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