Tuesday March 2, 2021
Auburn Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide
Coleman Coliseum - Tuscaloosa
Well this was gonna be Auburn’s National Championship/SEC Championship whatever you want to call it but with a game against Mississippi State added on Saturday, this will just have to settle for Auburn’s penultimate game of the season.
After a 77-72 win over Tennessee Saturday, Auburn looks to beat another Top 25 team as they head to Coleman Coliseum in hopes of ruining senior night for the Crimson Tide. Auburn’s had success the last few years against ranked opponents.
Auburn HC Bruce Pearl: "We've won nine out of our last 13 against ranked teams. I'm impressed with that."— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) March 1, 2021
Alabama has already clinched the SEC Regular Season title and are playing for NCAA Tournament seeding. Auburn is simply playing for pride with no postseason this year.
Sharife Cooper traveled to Tuscaloosa but remains to be seen if he will play tonight. Cooper playing would obviously give Auburn a huge boost but give a lot of credit to the adjustment made by Auburn starting Jamal Johnson at point guard and allowing Allen Flanigan to play more of his natural position on Saturday. Flanigan led the Tigers with 23 points and 7 rebounds and it’ll be very intriguing to see how his game develops with another offseason on the Plains. I’ve seen Flanigan as a 2nd round pick in some mock drafts so we’ll see what comes of that once the season is over. Allen had 19 points and 8 rebounds in the first game in Auburn.
Auburn nearly knocked off the Tide in January despite going 8-27 from 3-point range. If Auburn’s gonna have a chance tonight, I think they’ve got to knock down a minimum of 13 3-pointers. We know Alabama will be shooting them early and often and so for Auburn, they have to try and match that or this one could get ugly.
Alabama freshmen Joshua Primo tied his season/career high in the first matchup with 22 points and he was a problem from 3-point range in the first matchup. Jordan Bruner was the same as he had 20 points in the January 9th game and when you leave him open, he’s very capable of knocking down 3s as well.
This will be the final home game for Herb Jones, John Petty and Alex Reese. Petty had just 10 points in the first game and you know he’ll look to have a huge game in his final game at Coleman Coliseum. Herb Jones had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals in the first matchup and had a season-high 14 rebounds on Saturday at Mississippi State. How Auburn fares on the glass will also go a long way in who wins this one.
There’s a lot of similarities of this Alabama team to the 2017-2018 team and it’ll be interesting to see how they fare in the SEC and NCAA Tournament. Nate Oats has done a terrific job so far in Tuscaloosa and basketball in this state has an extremely bright future. There’s definitely the talent to make it to the Final Four but one bad shooting night could put them out early as well.
As for tonight, I know Auburn’s going to come out battling not wanting to get swept by this Alabama team and they’ve definitely shown some fight in their last 2 ballgames. If Sharife isn’t able to go, and I’d be really surprised if he does, it makes the mountain to climb even steeper and I think Alabama is able to protect homecourt one final time this season.