By: Zach Gaines
–TUSCALOOSA, AL. – With both teams fresh off a successful SEC/BIG-12 weekend, the Crimson Tide travel out to face their rival Auburn on Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT. The Tide look to give the Tigers a taste of their own medicine after losing their first matchup 81-77 back in early January.
Following another disappointing loss last Tuesday in Athens, the Crimson Tide bounced back with arguably their best performance of the season, taking down the No. 4 Baylor Bears in an impressive 87-78 victory. Now with their wins over Houston, Gonzaga, and Baylor, the Tide became the 6th team over the last 30 seasons to beat 3 of the final four teams from the previous year.
Even a win over a top 4 team wasn’t enough to catapult the Crimson Tide into the Top-25. At this point in the season, after their fifth win over a ranked team, Alabama proved once again that they can compete with anyone in the country on any given night.
“When we play really hard, we’re one of the best teams in the country, and that is fun. So let’s play hard and have fun.” Coach Nate Oats said on Monday.
While the Tide are still finding their groove this season, Auburn has continued to show everyone why they are the best team in the country. Coming into this game the Tigers have won 17 straight games and are entering their second week as the number one team in the country.
They are number one for a reason, being one of the most balanced teams in all of college basketball. According to KenPom the Tigers are a top 10 team in offensive and defensive efficiency, averaging 79.7 PPG and 65.4 PPG Allowed. The Tide need to desperately find a way to contain Jabari Smith and Wendell Green, who almost combined for 50 points in their last matchup.
With this game most likely being the Crimson Tide’s toughest road matchup thus far, it will be imperative for the Tide to take the crowd out of the game and make Auburn play their brand of basketball. After seeing how Alabama previously played versus Baylor, it looks like Tiger and Tide fans are in for a treat.