When the Crimson Tide returns to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday it will have redemption on its mind after suffering a 19-point defeat on Wednesday in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“We’ve got to come back out with what one of my mentors called fiber,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “(Spurs coach) Greg Popovich he talks about fiber as another word for toughness.”
Johnson said his team only played at most 10 good minutes against the Razorbacks. That won’t be good enough if the Crimson Tide hopes to prevail against the only team to hand Alabama (13-8, 6-3 Southeastern) a bigger loss than the Razorbacks did on Wednesday.
Alabama currently leads the overall series against Auburn 93-61. The Crimson Tide has beaten the Tigers in four of senior Jimmie Taylor’s seven matchups between the two teams.
“Probably afterwards I’ll think about it being my last game, but I’m going to go in [Saturday] and play as hard as I would any other game,” Taylor said.
If Taylor is going to end his involvement in the rivalry (barring a postseason matchup) with a victory then Alabama will have to do a better job slowing down Auburn’s Austin Wiley. He finished the Tiger’s 84-64 victory on Jan. 21 with nine rebounds and 19 points.
“Anyone that can enroll early after high school is going to be really key for a team, but we know that he’s going to be physical inside,” junior Riley Norris said. “He draws a lot of fouls so we got to stop fouling.”
Wiley knocked down 11 of his 18 free throws in the last edition of the rivalry. Johnson said it felt like the freshman had his team on its heels.
Wiley has only played 13 games since his collegiate career started when the Tigers played Mercer on Dec. 18, but Johnson said he plays like a 28 year old.
“If you watch the film that I’ve watched, not only in our games but his game against Tennessee, his game against TCU. If you watch that game I don’t know if it’s easier [to prepare for Wiley with more film], but I just think we know a little more about what to expect,” Johnson said.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports