The Auburn Tigers moved up eight spots to No. 11 in the AP Poll after two dominating wins last week.
Sold out home games are starting to become the norm, but the excitement goes way beyond the confines of Auburn Arena.
“Going to the grocery store, or coming out of church or walking around campus, there is a difference,” Coach Bruce Pearl said. “Therefore the kids have got to feel it as well. They absolutely have to feel it.”
Having a packed house wasn’t always the case for a team that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2003.
“A lot of people before didn’t come to the basketball games,” Sophomore Jared Harper said. “They used to only go to the football games, but you’re starting to see a lot more students go to the basketball games and really enjoy it.”
A school record 12 straight wins at home and a 19-2 record has propelled the Tigers to No. 11 in the AP Poll, their highest ranking since February 2000.
“It really isn’t one of our goals to go ‘Okay where are we going to be at the end of January?’ That’s not something we talk about,” Pearl said. “Can we take advantage of the position we put ourselves in right now?”
The answer to that question will come soon enough. In the meantime, they all know being in first place comes at a price.
“I think everybody wants to beats us,” Harper said. “We’re probably the hottest team in SEC right now so a win against us will mean a lot so we understand that we have to come in every game and play like it’s for the SEC championship.”