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Alabama at Auburn Game Preview and Open Thread

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The league’s only 3-0 team comes to Auburn as the Tigers are desperate for a conference win.

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday January 9, 2021

Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers

Auburn Arena

Time: 11:00AM

Network: ESPN2, Auburn Radio Network

Well if Alabama wants to win at Auburn Arena, they better do it today. Last year, Alabama made a then SEC record 22 3s against the Tigers in Auburn.... and lost. (You may of course remember that Auburn tied that record earlier this season against South Alabama). Auburn won the 3 games before last year’s at home by 20 PPG. Alabama comes in today at 3-0 in the league with impressive wins over Ole Miss, at Tennessee, and against Florida. Meanwhile, Auburn is 0-3 after losses to Arkansas, Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The Tigers have battled in all 3 games, but have not been able to close one out yet.

If you missed it yesterday, I highly recommend you check out the in-depth Q&A with Crimson Crossover’s Matt Landry as he gave us an Alabama perspective on today’s game.

Get to Know Alabama

Four Alabama players are currently averaging 12+ PPG this season. That group is led by sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford (#5). Shackelford averages 13.3 PPG and shoots 35.9% from 3-point range. He had 28 points and 8 rebounds and made 7 3-pointers in that OT game last season in Auburn.

It appears Alabama will be missing their second leading scorer today. Sophomore guard Jahvon Quinerly (#13) missed the Florida game on Tuesday due to a medical condition and Coach Oats said he was unlikely to play today. He’s averaging 13 PPG this season after sitting out last season after transferring from Villanova.

Next is a player that Auburn fans are very familiar with in senior guard John Petty (#23). Yes, he’s still in Tuscaloosa folks. Petty is averaging 12.6 PPG and 5.2 RPG this season. Petty made 6 3s in Auburn Arena last season after going a combined 3-16 in his first two trips. He missed their final non-conference game but has returned and averaged 14 PPG over his last 3 games. Petty was 4-4 from 3 and scored 17 points last Saturday in their upset win over Tennessee in Knoxville. Petty is shooting 35.6% from 3-point range.

In the frontcourt, the Crimson Tide is led by senior Herb Jones (#1). Jones is one of the best SEC defenders and is averaging 12.4 PPG and 6.4 RPG this season.

Starting alongside Jones is Yale grad transfer Jordan Bruner (#2). He’s averaging 6.7 PPG and 5.5 RPG. He leads the team in both steals sand blocks as well.

Other role players that will play today include freshmen guard Joshua Primo (#11) averaging 6.4 PPG, JUCO transfer James Rojas, averaging 4.6 PPG and senior Alex Reese, averaging 4.3 PPG.

Keys for Auburn

Auburn last started 0-3 in the SEC back in 2016-2017 with a team full of talented freshmen and sophomores. Sound familiar?

Auburn did win the 4th SEC game of that season and hopefully history will repeat itself today.

Last time out, Jaylin Williams played exceptional and showed why so many people were high on him going into this season. He had a career-high 24 points and made a career high 6 3-pointers against Ole Miss. Auburn needs more games like this from Jaylin as the schedule continues to get tougher.

Turnovers continue to be an issue for Auburn (16 more on Wednesday night) and we will see if Justin Powell returns today for Auburn. He missed Wednesday’s game with a head injury and missed his presence shooting and running the PG duties. Allen Flanigan, and Jamal Johnson were the primary PGs and walk-on Lior Berman was forced into action in both halves as the Tigers are thin in the guard department right now.

Speaking of Flanigan, he will look to bounce back from one his worst games of the season. Flanigan had just 4 points and while he had 6 rebounds and 5 assists, he had 8 turnovers as well. It was only the 2nd time this season where he did not score in double figures (3 points against UCF).

Prediction

Auburn needs a win in the worst way to get some positive momentum going. In the first 2 SEC games, they had chances to win in that one and couldn’t make plays down the stretch. Wednesday night, they were shorthanded and got within 8 but could get no closer in the 2nd half. The Tigers need to start fast in this one as they have in 2 of the previous 3 games in Auburn Arena. It’s the last chance for Alabama’s seniors to win in Auburn Arena and they’ll be extremely hungry to do so. For some reason, I think Auburn’s going to rise to the occasion and get this W in what will be a really close game.

Auburn 82 Alabama 77