Energy Rankings: Auburn exhibits endurance


Are we actually going to penalize Auburn for a six-point loss on a impartial courtroom to the consensus greatest group in school basketball?

The Tigers have been No. 7 on Tuesday morning, and so they’re staying there regardless of the loss.

It is maybe most spectacular that Auburn did not play all that effectively and nonetheless managed to remain inside putting distance for a lot of the night time. They solely shot 9 free throws, making 5 of them. They shot 34.Four p.c from 3-point vary and 37.Eight p.c from contained in the arc. And so they did not change their normal recreation plan regardless of going in opposition to Duke and its number of lottery picks.

The largest revelation for Bruce Pearl’s group by way of two video games in Maui is the play of Jared Harper. He someway shot 1-for-9 from contained in the arc and 6-for-10 from 3-point vary on Tuesday, however Harper has been the catalyst for Auburn in opposition to each Xavier and Duke. He constantly carved up the Xavier protection off the dribble and with pick-and-rolls, and hit a number of deep 3-pointers in each video games. He additionally dished out a complete of 14 assists within the two video games. If he retains enjoying like this, he is a legit SEC Participant of the 12 months contender — and Auburn can push for one more SEC title.

1. Duke Blue Devils (5-0)
Earlier rating: 1
This week: Beat San Diego State 90-63 on Monday. Beat Auburn 78-72 on Tuesday; vs. Gonzaga/Arizona (5 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN)

One of many questions dealing with Duke heading into the season was perimeter taking pictures — and we noticed on Tuesday how the Blue Devils’ may falter a bit when 3-pointers aren’t falling. Cam Reddish went 4-for-10 from behind the arc; the remainder of the group was 3-for-15.

2. Kansas Jayhawks (3-0)
Earlier rating: 2
This week: at NIT Season Tip-Off — vs. Marquette (Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN2)

Wednesday ought to convey loads of offensive fireworks. Kansas has scored between 84 and 92 factors in each recreation, whereas Marquette has struggled defensively below Steve Wojciechowski (though the Golden Eagles are higher this season). Will Lagerald Vick proceed his sizzling taking pictures?

3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (4-0)
Earlier rating: 3
This week: at Maui Invitational — Beat Illinois 84-78 on Monday

Everyone seems to be hoping to a possible title recreation matchup between Duke and Gonzaga. Can the Bulldogs dangle with the Blue Devils’ freakishly athletic and gifted freshmen? Will Rui Hachimura match up with Zion Williamson? It might be the spotlight of Feast Week.

4. Nevada Wolf Pack (4-0)
Earlier rating: 4
This week: Beat Cal Baptist 90-55 on Monday; at Las Vegas Vacation Invitational — vs. Tulsa (Thursday, Four p.m., FS1)

Till Nevada goes in opposition to a equally gifted group who can go small, we would probably not get a gauge on whether or not the Wolf Pack can modify with their jumbo lineup. For now although, 6-foot-7 Cody Martin enjoying the purpose and averaging 10 assists a recreation is enjoyable to observe.

5. Virginia Cavaliers (3-0)
Earlier rating: 5
This week: at Battle Four Atlantis — vs. Center Tennessee (Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.)

The Battle Four Atlantis is Virginia’s to lose this 12 months, and the Cavaliers have not been examined in any respect but. De’Andre Hunter has been a difference-maker once more, and if he is changing into a risk from 3-point vary (4-for-Four vs. Coppin State), look out.

6. North Carolina Tar Heels (5-0)
Earlier rating: 6
This week: Beat St. Francis, Pa., 101-76; at Las Vegas Invitational vs. Texas (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., FS1)

One other uber-efficient efficiency from Nassir Little, as soon as once more off the bench. Little had 19 factors on 9 pictures, seven rebounds — in simply 16 minutes. NBA scouts should be salivating.

7. Auburn Tigers (4-1)
Earlier rating: 7
This week: Beat Xavier 88-79 on Monday. Misplaced to Duke 78-72 on Tuesday. vs. Gonzaga/Arizona (11:30 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN)

Contemplating Auburn had its worst taking pictures efficiency of the season and gave up 1.10 factors per possession defensively, solely shedding to Duke by six factors is not the tip of the world. Avoiding a 1-2 stretch in Maui is vital, although.

8. Tennessee Volunteers (3-0)
Earlier rating: 8
This week: at NIT Season Tip-Off — vs. Louisville (Wednesday, 5 p.m., ESPN2)

Tennessee could make an announcement in New York this week, because the Volunteers shall be favored in opposition to Louisville after which may get an opportunity in opposition to Kansas (if the Jayhawks beat Marquette). To this point, they’ve appeared the a part of SEC title contender as soon as once more.

9. Michigan Wolverines (5-0)
Earlier rating: 10
This week: vs. Chattanooga (Friday, Four p.m., BTN)

After yet one more lockdown defensive efficiency from Michigan, the Wolverines now have the No. 1 protection within the nation at Just one group has scored greater than 47 factors and none has cracked the 40 p.c mark from the sector.

10. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0)
Earlier rating: 11
This week: vs. St. Francis PA (Saturday, 1 p.m., SECN)

The Hokies erased a first-half deficit to knock off Purdue and win the Charleston Traditional. Buzz Williams’ group now has loads of momentum — and is likely to be favored in each single recreation till they head to Virginia on January 15 to face the Cavaliers.

11. Kentucky Wildcats (3-1)
Earlier rating: 9
This week: vs. Winthrop (Wednesday, 1 p.m., SECN), vs. Tennessee State (Friday, 7 p.m., SECN)

VMI has now performed two high-major applications this season: Pitt and Kentucky. They scored 55 factors in opposition to Pitt — and 82 in opposition to Kentucky. The Wildcats allowed VMI to make 19 3-pointers and now rank close to the underside of Division-I in 3-point proportion protection.

12. Kansas State Wildcats (5-0)
Earlier rating: 12
This week: Beat Missouri 82-67 on Monday; vs. Lehigh (Saturday, Eight p.m., ESPN3)

Kansas State received the Paradise Jam within the Virgin Islands by knocking off Missouri within the title recreation. Dean Wade lastly broke out from the perimeter, burying 4 3-pointers — after not making one by way of the Wildcats’ first 4 video games.

13. Michigan State Spartans (3-1)
Earlier rating: 13
This week: at Las Vegas Invitational — vs. UCLA (Thursday, 10 p.m., FS1)

The Spartans are set to start an attention-grabbing stretch with a number of potential pitfalls: vs. UCLA, then both North Carolina or Texas, then street journeys to Louisville and Rutgers, adopted up by video games in opposition to Iowa and Florida. We’ll know much more in three weeks.

14. Florida State Seminoles (3-0)
Earlier rating: 14
This week: Beat Canisius 93-61 on Monday; at Advocare Invitational — vs. UAB (Thursday, 9 p.m., ESPNU)

It isn’t a stretch to say Florida State might be the favourite to win the Advocare Invitational this week. Villanova is struggling, and Florida State is a bit additional alongside in its growth than potential semifinal opponent LSU..

15. LSU Tigers (4-0)
Earlier rating: 15
This week: at Advocare Invitational — vs. Charleston (Thursday, 7 p.m., ESPNU)

We simply hit on the potential semifinal between Florida State and LSU — but when LSU is to win that recreation, the Tigers should enhance on the defensive finish of the ground. They’re permitting 103.1 factors per 100 possessions thus far this season.

16. UCLA Bruins (4-0)
Earlier rating: Unranked
This week: Beat Presbyterian 80-65 on Monday; vs. Michigan State (10 p.m. Thursday, FS1), Las Vegas Invitational

Moses Brown had his quietest recreation of the season on Monday (10 factors, seven boards), however he is been probably the most dominant freshmen within the nation thus far this season, averaging 19.7 factors and 13.7 rebounds.

Dropped out: Mississippi State (No. 16)


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