No. 24 Alabama vs No. 4 Auburn: preview, TV schedule


Game Preview: No. 24 Alabama vs No. 4 Auburn

When: Tuesday, January 11 at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN

Location: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, AL

After suffering their fourth loss of the season, Alabama returns home to take on rival Auburn in a matchup of arguably the top two overall teams in the SEC.

Coming off a 92-86 road loss to Missouri on Saturday, the Crimson Tide need a bounce back performance at home against the Tigers, especially defensively. Despite the struggles against Missouri on defense and on the boards, the Crimson Tide were actually strong offensively shooting a combined 49.3% from the field and 9-for-24 from three, as well as limiting turnovers.

Falling to the No. 24 ranked team in the country as a result, the Crimson Tide sit at 11-4 for the year (2-1 in SEC) averaging an impressive 82.5 PPG offensively, but as mentioned previously have struggled on defense allowing 74 PPG. The guard duo of Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly lead the Crimson Tide in scoring, while Keon Ellis and Juwan Gary have also been prominent scorers so far this season.

Auburn on the other hand come to Tuscaloosa as one of the hottest teams in the country having won 11 straight, a stretch that includes an 85-73 home win over Florida on Saturday night. A game in which the Tigers led for a majority, Auburn shot a phenomenal 53.6% from the field (8-for-18 from three), as well as receiving a game-high 23 points from guard KD Johnson.

Now a Top 5 team overall ranked as the No. 4 team in the country, the Tigers sit at 14-1 on the year (3-0 in SEC), and are a Top 20 team in both offensive and defensive efficiency according to KenPom averaging 80.6 PPG, as well as only allowing 64.9 PPG. Leading Auburn is potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Jabari Smith (15.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG), while the previously mentioned Johnson and Wendell Green Jr also average in double-figures.

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While both teams’ backcourts are deep, the play of Alabama’s bigs will be the biggest key to winning on Tuesday night matched up against the duo of Smith and Walker Kessler, who ranks second in the country in BPG. You could make an argument for both teams winning this game, but I’ll say that the Crimson Tide pick up a big Top 5 win here on their homecourt, a game that will be decided late.

Prediction: Alabama 79, Auburn 74