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Alabama vs. Auburn game preview

Who: Alabama, 13-10 (5-5) @ No. 11 Auburn, 21-2 (8-2)

When: 6:00 p.m. CT, February 12, 2020.

Where: Auburn Arena, Auburn, Alabama

Watch: ESPN2

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)

After defeating Georgia on the road in an overtime thriller, Alabama is slated to take on the 11th ranked Tigers in Auburn on Wednesday. Auburn comes into this game on a six-game win streak. Three of the Tigers last four games have been decided by 3 or less points in overtime. Auburn‘s yet to lose a game in The Jungle this season, with key wins over Kentucky and LSU. Auburn is averaging 79.6 points per game while shooting 43.7% from the field and 31.6% from 3. Auburn is a talented defensive team and is holding its opponents to 69.7 points per game on 41.4% shooting from the field. Auburn is also averaging 41.5 rebounds per game with an offensive rebound rate of 35.4%, per KenPom. This is compared to Alabama who scores 82.6 points per game on 44.5% from the field and 34.8% from 3. Alabama is holding teams to 78.2 points per game on 41.1% shooting from the field. Alabama is averaging 40.4 rebounds per game while allowing 10.6 offensive boards per game. Nate Oats’ Crimson Tide will be coming into a hostile environment, facing a rival team and fanbase that’s itching for revenge for what happened in Coleman Coliseum on January 15. As we all remember, Auburn came into that game with a perfect 15-0 record before falling to the Tide 83-64. It’s hard to imagine Auburn will play so poorly this time around in a revenge game in front of their fans. In January, Auburn shot 31.7% from the field, 25% from 3, and 56.7% from the free throw line on 30 attempts. They also committed 21 turnovers and fouled 31 times. The positive takeaway for Auburn from this performance was that they had 13 offensive boards against Alabama and won the rebounding battle 43-41. It’s safe to say Auburn will play much better in this game with it being on their homecourt, the way they’ve played of late, and how Alabama has struggled as of late without Herb Jones.

With all this said, to have a chance in this huge road game, Alabama will have to play much better than they did the first time around and better than they have in recent games. Alabama has really struggled defensively in the last few games and has struggled to keep opponents off the offensive glass. Alabama absolutely cannot allow Auburn to have double-digit offensive rebounds if they want to win the game. Auburn traditionally has great shooting nights against Alabama in Auburn Arena and this year may not be any different. Not allowing second chance opportunities is an absolute must in this game. Another thing is that Alabama needs to be efficient on the offensive end. Giving Auburn easy looks in transition will be a recipe for failure for the Tide if they make lazy passes against an Auburn club looking for fastbreak opportunities. It’s a big ask to go on the road against Auburn and get a win. To stay competitive and have a chance in this game Alabama is going to have to sit down and guard and not allow easy looks, crash the glass, and have a great offensive night. This is a huge opportunity for a Quadrant 1A win for the Tide, but are they up for the test?

Key Players to Watch:

Samir Doughty – 16 PPG, 4 RPG, 41.4% FG

Isaac Okoro – 12.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 50.7% FG

Austin Wiley – 9.7 PPG, 9 RPG, 1.5 BPG


Prediction:

I try to stay optimistic throughout the season and believe Alabama has a fighter’s chance to win. I try to stay optimistic with this game and I do think Alabama is going to fight and do all they can. However, I think snatching this game from Auburn is too tall of a task without one of your key players in Herb Jones. If Herb were to suit up, things maybe would be a little different. Unfortunately, I think Auburn will win this game and continue their win streak over Alabama in Auburn Arena.

Auburn – 85

Alabama – 72

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