It almost seems like we’re late to the party!
The SEC Tournament’s been going on for two days already in St. Louis, and the Auburn Tigers have yet to make and appearance. It’s been a long time since Auburn hasn’t had to play on the first couple of days of the event, and they’ll begin day three at the Scottrade Center against none other than Alabama.
Avery Johnson’s group escaped Texas A&M in the 8-9 game yesterday, thanks to Collin Sexton’s runner at the buzzer that gave the Tide a 71-70 victory. Sexton was the show for Bama yesterday, scoring 27 points and dishing out five assists, but he was the only guy that really did much for the winners.
Dazon Ingram and Donta Hall each hit double digits, but Ingram hit the only three aside from Sexton’s 3-6 performance from behind the arc. Ingram did grab nine rebounds, but Bama got just 12 bench points and a whopping zero from John Petty, whose road woes continue.
Meanwhile, Auburn comes in rested and ready. The Tigers have had a couple extra days off since Saturday’s SEC-clinching win over South Carolina, and the week leading up has given Bruce Pearl and his guys plenty to think about.
Auburn was essentially snubbed by the rest of the SEC coaches in the All-SEC team voting process, with Bryce Brown and Jared Harper only earning 2nd-team honors, and Mustapha Heron being left off the team completely. Bruce Pearl lost Coach of the Year to Rick Barnes. In itself, that’s not the worst thing in the world, considering Tennessee was picked to finish 13th in the league before the year started, and they finished 2nd, but when Pearl won the conference with ZERO first-team selections, it’s a contradiction of the highest order.
Today’s game isn’t so much about Auburn vs Alabama. I believe Auburn’s the better team, and I believe that Alabama has real problems no matter what lineup they put on the floor. Either they lose the volume scoring of Sexton if he’s out, or Sexton doesn’t involve the rest of the team when he’s taking every shot. For Auburn, Bryce Brown broke out of a major slump with eight threes against the Gamecocks, and we hope that he can continue to make those shots on the road.
If nothing else, Auburn will be fast and rested. The Tigers will be motivated to prove everyone else wrong again. Think about that, the SEC Champions are still being doubted and the rest of the league has given them something to chew on for a few days, all the while getting their legs back.
Today is about hopping to the next checkpoint along the way — coming in to the SEC Tournament as a favorite and winning. As the 1-seed, there’s going to be a target, and we’ll see if Auburn can dodge the bullets coming their way.
Let’s prove everyone wrong, again. War Eagle.
HOW TO WATCH AND LISTEN - Auburn vs Alabama - 12:00 pm CST - St. Louis, MO
Radio: Auburn Sports Network