Auburn will face Alabama hoping to repeat its performance from last game after a dominating 92-58 win over Missouri.
In the last six years the Tide are 1-5 when playing at Auburn and come into the game as 9-point underdogs after a narrow victory against No. 22 Mississippi State.
The Tigers are expected to be without star center Austin Wiley, who was listed as “doubtful” by head coach Bruce Pearl.
"I think our greatest challenge is going to be keeping them out of the lane," Pearl said.
Auburn will need Anfernee McLemore to give them the boost in physicality that they have lacked since Wiley’s injury.
Rebounding effectiveness against the Tide, who lead the SEC in rebounding margin, will be another important factor in the outcome of this game.
Auburn’s key to victory starts with the backcourt. Alabama is tied for the most blocked shots in the SEC and will be expected to contest several shots against the Tigers.
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“They do a good job defending the 3-ball, because they’ve got such length, and you don’t get as many open shots,” Pearl said.
Auburn will hope for stellar performances from its top two scorers, Bryce Brown (16.8 ppg) and Jared Harper (15.4 ppg) against the lengthy Tide defense. In Auburn’s last game, it made 16 3-pointers on 41 attempts.
This game is vital to Auburn to avoid a 3-5 start in SEC play.
"It's a pivotal game for us," Pearl said. "We'll have to play our best game so far."
A win against Alabama would give the Tigers more confidence coming off of an impressive win, and would put the Tigers at .500 in SEC play while also giving Pearl a 5-3 lead in the series against Alabama coach Avery Johnson.
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