AUBURN, Ala. – Coming off a disappointing loss at the hands of Kentucky, Auburn will look to get revenge against their biggest rivals, Alabama. The Tigers will make the short trip up to Tuscaloosa this Wednesday to take on the second-best team in the nation.
“We are going to have to be really, really on our game,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. “They play great at home, they shoot great at home, they play with great energy.”
For Auburn, this has been a matchup circled ever since the scheduled released months ago.
In the first meeting between the two squads, it was a perfect storm that ultimately led Alabama to a late run that saw the Crimson Tide pull away to secure a 77-69 victory at Neville Arena.
“It was a great game. We were ahead the whole game and had the chance to win, but we just did not finish out the last six minutes,” Auburn guard Wendell Green Jr. said. “If we can play how we played for the first twenty-six, seven minutes of the game then we will have a good chance.”
Alabama currently sits atop the SEC with a chance to clinch the regular season title with a win against Auburn this Wednesday. In addition, the Crimson Tide are undefeated at Coleman Colosseum this season, so to say an Auburn win would be big is an understatement.
The Crimson Tide have impressed the whole nation this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Alabama currently ranks fifth in the country for scoring offense, averaging 83.3 points per game.
This success is largely due to freshman Brandon Miller. The star forward has turned heads, as he leads the SEC in points per game at 19.7. Miller is known for his athleticism which enables him to contribute in a big way on the defensive end of the floor, contributing eight rebounds a game.
Rebounding has been a tough area for Auburn to dominate in this season, most recently exploited by Kentucky over the weekend. Alabama currently ranks first in the nation with 44 rebounds per game.
Three pointers will be a crucial spot for Auburn to perform if wanting to come away with a win. On the offensive end, the Tigers will have to deal with the third best three point defending team in the nation, so it will be crucial Auburn’s guards to find movement to create quality looks. While on the defensive side of the court, Auburn will attempt to slow down a team that feeds off the long-range shot.
Auburn will need to rely on big man Johni Broome to have a chance at stealing a win. Broome was a key factor early against Kentucky, but quickly got silenced which caused him to not have an impact on the game. Pearl mentioned that getting Broome the ball will be crucial for him to have an impact, which is desperately needed against Alabama.
“Your best player has got to be at their best,” Pearl said. “Everyone is going to be challenged.”
Auburn will attempt to deliver Alabama the first loss of the season at home this Wednesday night at Coleman Colosseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT with broadcasting on ESPN2.