Auburn won Wednesday night. Kentucky did, too. So those two schools' midweek challenges are now in the rearview mirror, clearing the way for Saturday's showdown between the Tigers and Wildcats that will double as this weekend's biggest game.
"It'll be a clash of the titans, that's for sure," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl told reporters following Wednesday's 83-60 victory over Georgia. "There will be a lot of great players on the court Saturday — and CBS will be in the house."
Indeed, CBS will be in the house. Saturday's tip is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.
Among the great players on the court whom Pearl referenced will be Jabari Smith, Auburn's 6-foot-10 forward who has emerged as a legitimate candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. The five-star freshman is averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game while shooting 43.0% from 3 on 5.2 attempts per contest. Nobody is necessarily suggesting he's the next Kevin Durant, if only because that's a ridiculous bar to set. But Smith's frame and ability to bounce it and shoot it comfortably from all over the court make the comps to Brooklyn's star unavoidable.
How big of a game is this?
It's so big that standing room-only tickets are currently priced no lower than $210 on Stubhub, in part because this will be the first high-profile game for the Tigers since they moved to No. 1 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings eight days ago. They obviously remain there in Thursday morning's updated Top 25 And 1, while Kentucky is up to No. 9 after its 64-58 victory at Texas A&M. The Wildcats moved up two spots thanks to that Quadrant 1 win, but also because Villanova and LSU both lost Wednesday night — the Wildcats at home to Marquette, the Tigers on the road at Alabama.
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Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Walker Kessler finished with 15 points and six blocks in Wednesday's 83-60 win over Georgia. The Tigers' next game is Saturday against Kentucky.||--||28-6|
|Drew Timme finished with 32 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's 115-83 win at Santa Clara. The Zags' next game is Thursday against San Francisco.||--||28-4|
|Johnny Davis finished with 27 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday's 82-76 win at Northwestern. The Badgers' next game is Friday against Michigan State.||--||25-8|
|LJ Cryer finished with 25 points and two rebounds in Tuesday's 77-68 win at West Virginia. The Bears' next game is Saturday at Oklahoma.||--||27-7|
|Jalen Wilson finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday's 67-64 win at Oklahoma. The Jayhawks' next game is Saturday at Kansas State.||--||34-6|
|Sasha Stefanovic finished with 22 points and eight rebounds in Monday's 96-88 double-overtime win at Illinois. The Boilermakers' next game is Thursday at Indiana.||--||29-8|
|Azuolas Tubelis finished with 32 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's 82-64 win over Utah. The Wildcats' next game is Thursday at Stanford.||--||33-4|
|Kyler Edwards finished with 23 points and seven rebounds in Tuesday's 74-55 win over South Florida. The Cougars' next game is Saturday against East Carolina.||--||32-6|
|Sahvir Wheeler finished with 12 points and four assists in Wednesday's 63-58 win at Texas A&M. The Wildcats' next game is Saturday at Auburn.||2||26-8|
|Johnny Juzang finished with 24 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 81-65 win over Oregon State. The Bruins' next game is Thursday at Utah.||2||27-8|
|LSU turned the ball over 21 times in Wednesday's 70-67 loss at Alabama. The Tigers' next game is Saturday at Tennessee.||1||22-12|
|Villanova missed 18 of the 24 3-pointers it attempted in Wednesday's 57-54 loss to Marquette. The Wildcats' next game is Saturday at Georgetown.||3||30-8|
|Michigan State turned the ball over 17 times in Saturday's 64-62 loss to Northwestern. The Spartans' next game is Friday at Wisconsin.||--||23-13|
|Bryson Williams finished with 16 points and three rebounds in Tuesday's 72-60 win over Iowa State. The Red Raiders' next game is Saturday against West Virginia.||--||27-10|
|Iowa State missed 21 of the 26 3-pointers it attempted in Tuesday's 72-60 loss at Texas Tech. The Cyclones' next game is Saturday against TCU.||--||22-13|
|Duke allowed Florida State to grab 19 offensive rebounds in Tuesday's 79-78 overtime loss to the Seminoles. The Blue Devils' next game is Saturday against Syracuse.||--||32-7|
|Jack Nunge finished with 23 points and six rebounds in Wednesday's 68-67 win at DePaul. The Musketeers' next game is Sunday at Marquette.||--||23-13|
|USC finished with 13 turnovers and just 12 assists in Saturday's 79-69 loss to Oregon. The Trojans' next game is Thursday at Colorado.||--||26-8|
|E.J. Liddell finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday's 83-37 win over IUPUI. The Buckeyes' next game is Thursday at Minnesota.||--||20-12|
|Nate Watson finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's 83-73 win over St. John's. The Friars are on a COVID pause.||--||27-6|
|Kofi Cockburn was held to just 10 points and five rebounds in Monday's 96-88 double-overtime loss to Purdue. The Illini's next game is Friday at Maryland.||--||23-10|
|Lucas Williamson finished with 17 points and two steals in Saturday's 64-56 win at Indiana State. The Ramblers' next game is Tuesday at Evansville.||--||25-8|
|Alex Barcello finished with 18 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 71-69 win at San Francisco. The Cougars' next game is Thursday against San Diego.||--||24-11|
|Adama Sanogo finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds in Tuesday's 76-59 win over Butler. The Huskies' next game is Thursday at Butler.||--||23-10|
|Luka Brajkovic finished with 19 points and five rebounds in Tuesday's 63-61 win at VCU. The Wildcats' next game is Saturday at Fordham.||--||27-7|
|Kennedy Chandler finished with 13 points and five steals in Tuesday's 68-60 win at Vanderbilt. The Vols' next game is Saturday against LSU.||--||27-8|