Analyst sends strong message of agreement with Auburn basketball HC Bruce Pearl on Kentucky

Ole Miss v Kentucky
Ole Miss v Kentucky / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

On3's Zack Geoghegan hammered home the point Auburn basketball head coach Bruce Pearl made about the vaunted Kentucky basketball juggernaut of a program that's fallen on some hard times in recent years: despite the misfires, the Wildcats are still the class of the conference.

"While the tides have very slowly shifted over the last few years, Kentucky men’s basketball is still the premier program in the Southeastern Conference," Geoghegan prefaced before saying, "That’s not really up for debate just yet. It’s going to take more than a handful of “down” years for that narrative to flip any time soon."

Pearl aptly called John Calipari's UK the "gold standard," which is fitting since Kentucky is the only SEC program to have won the Big Dance since 2008. Florida's Billy Donovan and the Al Horford-Joakim Noah Gators were the last SEC representatives to cut down the nets at the postseason's conclusion, twice in a row in 2006 and 2007.

“Kentucky is still the gold standard in our league," Pearl prefaced before saying, "They always will be. That’s never going to change. If you want to be relevant in the world of college basketball, if you want to be relevant in the SEC, you gotta beat Kentucky every now and then. We were able to do it my second year, which obviously gave us some wind in our sails, a little bit of hope that we could get this thing going.”

Auburn basketball needs championship to validate standing in SEC

Just one championship as a program would launch the Tigers into uncharted territory in the SEC. Only Kentucky, Florida, and Arkansas have titles. Period. Kentucky has eight of the conference's 11 national championships.

AU has become relevant nationally under Pearl, but one March Madness run would make them an unforgettable program in the history books.

Rest assured, though, Alabama and Tennessee fans -- and possibly South Carolina fans, though they shouldn't -- are feeling the same way right now.