During a Wednesday appearance on "The Next Round," former Auburn basketball star and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley called Alabama's basketball team "the best team in the country."

Barkley said it was "painful like a root canal" for him to admit it, but the Crimson Tide, currently ranked the fourth-best team in the country, is playing the best basketball right now.

"Alabama's the best team in the country, honestly," Barkley asserted. "I've watched them play probably four times. They're the best team. Houston is right there with them, but they beat Houston. But just off the top of my head, Alabama's the best team in the country. And that's painful for me to say."

Barkley praised head coach Nate Oats as a "terrific coach" and pointed toward the team's athleticism and toughness.

"Auburn is good - Bruce [Pearl] is doing a fabulous job as usual - but if I'm going to get on your show and be honest, first, it'd be great if they were both one, two," he added. "But I always try to be honest and fair in my job. Them suckers in Tuscaloosa are the best team I've seen so far this year."

Full interview here (beginning at the 3:44:28 mark):

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email trent.baker@1819news.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.