The Crimson Tide travel to Lee County on an impressive 4 game winning streak that includes the highest rated win according to KenPom (at Tennessee). Tip is set for 11:00 Saturday on ESPN.
The Opponent: The hated Tigers come into this Iron Bowl of Hoops heavily relying on freshman as they provide nearly half of Auburn’s offense. One of those players DNP in Auburn’s last contest-a loss at Ole Miss. It seems that Powell will be good to go for tomorrow’s contest, however. Bruce Pearl and staff are well aware that Alabama has been playing well. His club will need to bring a level of intensity on the defensive end that it frankly hasn’t shown outside of the outstanding effort against Troy. Look for Pearl to instill more zone as Alabama has simply been unstoppable when it’s been able to create one on one matchups while driving. Auburn will likely try to force the Tide to shoot over the zone quite a bit. Expect more of the same from Auburn offensively as they lead the SEC in 3s made per game at about 10.5.
Players to watch: Auburn’s Allen Flanigan has been incredibly impressive in my opinion. The Little Rock product is connecting at nearly 40% from 3 and is likely the Tiger’s best defender.
The Tide will once again be without Jahvon Quinerly so it will again be PG by committee between Jones, Ellis, Petty and Primo. All four were able to drive the ball at will against both Tennessee and Florida. As I mentioned earlier, I expect Auburn to incorporate some zone and press to potentially add some pressure to the decision making of ball handlers. Herbert Jones will be tasked with defending without fouling on defense as well as protecting the ball on offense. The Tide has assisted on 46% of its FGs during this 4 game win streak.
My Thoughts: Auburn is winless in SEC play and Alabama sits alone at the top of the standings. Expect a very motivated home team tomorrow. Having said that-Alabama is simply the better team and SHOULD win the game. Auburn is always capable of getting hot from behind the arc and beating anyone, however. I believe these Bama players truly want to beat Auburn on the road-a task it hasn’t accomplished in over 5 years. Bama is playing too well right now and I look for the solid play to continue. Tide tames “The Jungle.”
Prediction: Alabama 86, Auburn 76