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How Auburn’s win over Ole Miss affects its KenPom ranking

The No. 11 Auburn Tigers cruised to its 11th straight win on Saturday by taking care of No. 21 Ole Miss, 82-59 in front of a rowdy crowd at Neville Arena.

Auburn’s defense played a key role in the win, as they limited Ole Miss, who has four players with double-digit scoring averages, to shoot just 36.8% from the field. Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said in his postgame press conference that he credits unselfish play for the great defensive performance.

“They were locked in. I think they are beginning to enjoy the fact that they have the ability to make it difficult on the opponent and they’re creating some offense from their defense. I get it, it goes back to being unselfish. You realize the effort that it takes to be in the right spot at the right time. To do the things that they have to do to be able to, you know, sit down and guard. Matthew Murrell averaged 24 against us last year. Averaged. He shot two free throws tonight and he shot like 22 last year in two games. The defense can carry us if we can continue to do this. Obviously, our mind is set. We know where we have to go on Wednesday. We understand what an unbelievably tough cover Alabama is. It’s going to be important and we know how physical and athletic, and how hard, Mississippi State plays.”

From an analytics standpoint, how did Saturday’s win over Ole Miss affect Auburn’s position in the latest KenPom ranking? Here’s a look at where the Tigers stand following Saturday’s action.

Overall ranking: No. 5

Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers
Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

Auburn is the SEC’s lone unbeaten, but they are no longer the SEC’s top team in the KenPom rankings after Saturday’s action. Tennessee’s impressive 20-point win over Alabama pushes the Volunteers to No. 4, and bumps Auburn down one spot to No. 5. Auburn will have a chance to help themselves Wednesday by traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama, which is No. 8 in the latest KenPom update.

Adjusted offensive efficiency: No. 9

Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser
Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn’s overall ranking may have taken a slight hit, but their offensive efficiency has not. The Tigers remain the nation’s No. 9 team with a forecasted output of 121.1 points per 100 possessions. Auburn’s next opponent, Alabama, is the nation’s best in this category, which should provide some fun offensive numbers on Wednesday.

Adjusted defensive efficiency: No. 6

Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser
Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser

Limiting an otherwise hot shooting team to 36.8% field work is impressive, and will raise your spot in the KenPom defensive efficiency category. Auburn is now projected to allow 94.2 points per 100 possessions, which is second in the SEC to Tennessee, who is No. 2 defensively. Auburn’s defense has held opponents to under 60 points in three of its first five SEC games.

Adjusted tempo: No. 74

Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers
Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

Auburn took a slight hit in this category as well, dropping four spots from its previous placement at No. 70 following the midweek win over Vanderbilt. KenPom suggests that the Tigers create 70.1 possessions per game. In Saturday’s win over Ole Miss, Auburn had 66 offensive possessions with 36 of those resulting in points.

Strength of Schedule: No. 97

Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser
Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn’s schedule remains one of the top 100 most challenging. According to KenPom data, Auburn’s opponents are projected to score 107.8 points per 100 possessions while allowing 105.1. Those numbers rank No. 126 and No. 75 overall.

Alabama overview

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday for another rivalry showdown with Alabama at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama lost their most recent game, 91-71, to Tennessee on Saturday.

Here’s where the Crimson Tide stands in the KenPom following Saturday’s action.

  • Overall ranking: No. 8

  • Adjusted offensive efficiency: No. 1 (125.8)

  • Adjusted defensive efficiency: No. 64 (101.2)

  • Adjusted tempo: No. 27 (72.0)

  • Strength of Schedule: No. 6

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire