Alabama (25-4, 15-1) has already defeated the Tigers once this season down on the Plains, but will now have an opportunity to complete the season sweep of Auburn in the confines of Coleman Coliseum.
While it appears the Crimson Tide are all but guaranteed a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, Auburn still has some work to do to secure their ticket to the big dance.
Before Wednesday night’s matchup, I had a chance to catch up with Taylor Jones of Auburn Wire to get a preview of the SEC rival matchup on the hardwood.
Bruce Pearl made the comment after Wednesday’s win over Ole Miss “if we rebound like that at Kentucky, we will lose by 40.” Well, he was almost correct. The Tigers as a whole grabbed just 23 rebounds, while Jacob Toppin and Oscar Tshiebwe combined to grab 27 by themselves. That, and shooting just 34% to Kentucky’s 56% proved costly.
Auburn’s on the line with 19 wins, so I think getting win No. 20 will get it done. However, their final two opportunities will be against Alabama and Tennessee. I don’t think a loss in Tuscaloosa will completely eliminate them, but they need to show signs of fight in order to give the tournament committee something to work with.
I have to go with the backcourt for Wednesday’s game. Wendell Green has been great at times for Auburn, but when he’s off, the team usually follows suit. Zep Jasper needs to find a groove as well. He’s made just three field goals since the last time Auburn and Alabama played, and made just five in the month of February. He and Green need to be productive in order to help out Johni Broome and Jaylin Williams.
Auburn will need to do the fundamentals well in order to have a chance… be selective with shots, limit fouls, and convert free throw opportunities. Also, the last game with Alabama was an endurance test, so the Tigers will need to find a way to keep up with Alabama’s pace.
Auburn will come in hungry, but they will need to play A+ basketball in order to keep the game close. I see Alabama pulling away late. Alabama 82 Auburn 68.