Preview: Auburn at Alabama

Auburn plays at Alabama at 7 p.m. ET tonight on ESPN2.

Alabama won the last meeting against Auburn 94-90 in Sharife Cooper’s debut, and Cooper is warming up for tonight’s game after missing the last two with injury.

Auburn is coming off a win over No. 25 Tennessee over the weekend, but Alabama is coming off a win over Mississippi State that clinched an SEC regular season title for Alabama. 

What I like: Auburn played against Alabama well in its last meeting, and the Tigers were back to playing at a seemingly high level against Tennessee on Saturday. Against Tennessee, Auburn exceled in rebounding, rim protecting and getting downhill in order to get to the rim. Auburn’s size advantage could give the Tigers similar opportunities against Alabama. Auburn also won the rebounding battle against Kentucky and Vanderbilt in recent games and has a top 10 block percentage nationally. Alabama’s lack of size—specifically in its front court—could be Auburn’s biggest advantage if the Tigers play like they did against Tennessee. While Alabama had a great start to SEC play and is still winning a lot of games, the Tide have had several close calls and two losses since Feb. 6. 

What I don’t like: Alabama still has one of the best offenses and defenses in the country, efficiency wise. Auburn has struggled on defense and offense at times this season. The game is also at Alabama. Alabama has been the best SEC team in conference play and has all of the tools necessary to win comfortably. 

Bottom line: Auburn will need one of its best games of the season to beat Alabama on the road. Auburn’s win over Tennessee makes a potential win over Alabama seem more likely than it did last week, when it seemed impossible. A full strength Cooper and a Super Bowl mentality should help Auburn’s chances, but it’s still a tall task.