How to watch: Alabama Crimson Tide basketball vs. No. 4 Auburn
Nate Oats will get his first taste of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry Wednesday as the Crimson Tide welcomes the Tigers into Coleman Coliseum. Auburn (15-0, 3-0 in the SEC) enters the matchup as one of two undefeated teams in the nation, while Alabama (8-7, 1-2) will look to get back on track following its loss at Kentucky over the weekend. Here’s all the information you need to know about the game.
How to watch
Who: Alabama (8-7, 1-2) vs. No. 4 Auburn (15-0, 3-0)
When: 8 p.m. CT, Wednesday, Jan. 15
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Watch: ESPN2 (play-by-blay: Tom Hart; analyst: Andy Kennedy)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
Alabama projected starting five
Kira Lewis Jr.: 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, sophomore
Stats: 16.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.6 apg, 42.5% FG, 32.4% 3-pt
John Petty Jr.: 6-foot-5, 184 pounds, junior
Stats: 16.7 ppg., 7.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 48.8% FG, 49.5% 3-pt
Herbert Jones: 6-foot-7, 205 pounds, junior
Stats: 9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.8 apg, 47.3% FG, 10.0% 3-pt
Alex Reese: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, junior
Stats: 8.9 ppg, 4.9, rpg, 1.4 apg, 41.5% FG, 33.8% 3-pt
Galin Smith: 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, junior
Stats: 2.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.3 apg, 50.0% FG
Auburn projected starting five
J’Von McCormick: 6-foot, 185 pounds, senior
Stats: 11.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.1 apg, 40.4% FG, 32.3% 3-pt
Samir Doughty: 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, senior
Stats: 15.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.7 apg, 43.6% FG, 33.3% 3-pt
Danjel Purifoy: 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, senior
Stats: 9.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 41.5% FG, 31.5% 3-pt
Issac Okoro: 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, freshman
Stats: 13.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, 56.5% FG, 24.1% 3-pt
Austin Wiley: 6-foot-11, 260 pounds, senior
Stats: 10.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 0.5 apg, 58.1% FG
Notes and quotes
— Wednesday’s game will mark the 161st time Alabama and Auburn have met on the hardwood. The Crimson Tide holds a 95-65 advantage in the series and is 42-9 inside of Coleman Coliseum.
“We know it’s always going to be one of the hardest games,” Alabama guard John Petty Jr. said. “We really don’t talk too much about it. We just know when it gets here, it’s time to play. And it’s here, so it’s time to play now.”
— Oats will get his formal introduction to the Alabama-Auburn rivalry Wednesday night. The Crimson Tide’s last three coaches — Avery Johnson, Anthony Grant and Mark Gottfried — all lost their first game against Auburn. The last Alabama coach to win his first game against Auburn was David Hobbs in 1993.
“The fans care a little bit more about this one, I think,” Oats said. “I was here for football, although it was at Auburn this year. But we had the whole (buildup) the whole week leading up to it. So, I got a little bit of that in that. I was a fan for that one, and now, I’m in the middle of this one. I think it’s kind of an important game.”
— Auburn climbed up to No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Tigers’ current ranking is the program’s highest since the 1999-2000 season when it was also ranked No. 4. This is the fifth season in which Auburn has climbed into the top five. The Tigers also achieved the feat in 1958-59, 1986-87, 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
“Even if it wasn’t Alabama-Auburn, if you’ve got an undefeated team coming in that played in the Final Four last year, it should be a huge game for your program,” Oats said. “The fact that it is Auburn makes it that much bigger. All of it combined, it’s the biggest game on our schedule, by far, so far this year.”
— Alabama guard John Petty Jr. became the fifth Crimson Tide player to record 200 career 3-pointers. The junior is 34 points away from becoming the 51st Alabama player to reach the 1,000-point mark in his career. Only 31 of those players have reached the milestone in three or fewer seasons.
— Wednesday nights’ matchup should feature plenty of points. Alabama enters the game ranked No. 7 in the nation averaging 83.2 points, while Auburn isn’t too far behind ranking No. 11 with an average of 82.1 points per contest.
“We’re more alike than maybe some of the other teams that we play for sure,” Oats said. “…When it comes down to it, they’re trying to drive the ball, spray it out for 3s. We’re trying to drive the ball, spray it out for 3s. So your initial sets might look a little different. After the sets break down, it’s real similar basketball.”
— Alabama is 0-2 against ranked teams this season with losses to then-ranked No. 6 North Carolina and No. 14 Kentucky. Since 2015, the Crimson Tide is 14-14 against teams ranked inside the AP Top 25. Alabama’s last win over a top-five team came during the 2017-18 season when it upset Texas A&M 79-57 in Coleman Coliseum.
— Auburn (15-0) is one of two Division I teams still currently undefeated, joining San Diego State (17-0). The Tigers have won 27 of their last 28 games with their lone loss coming to eventual national champion Virginia in last season’s Final Four. Auburn’s 27-1 record since Feb. 27 last season is the best in the country, ahead of Liberty (23-2), Gonzaga (24-3), Wichita State (24-3) and Duke (23-3).
— Auburn tops the SEC in scoring margin (+15.8 points per game) blocked shots (6.1), rebounds per game (41.9) and free throw attempts (385).