Streak At Stake

Alabama's basketball team is in Auburn tonight without leading scorer Chuck Davis, who has been lost for the year with a knee injury. Davis underwent surgery Tuesday to repair torn anterior cruciate (ACL) and medial collateral (MCL) ligaments. And that makes the always difficult task of winning on the road even more difficult.

Even though he has been very successful in his ten years as Alabama's head basketball coach, Mark Gottfried has only a slim 8-7 advantage over Auburn. Gottfried's Bama teams lost their first four games against Auburn, including three in Gottfried's first year in 1999, when the Tide was unlucky enough to catch the Tigers in the Southeastern Conference Tournament after having lost to Auburn twice during the regular season.

Alabama has won the last five in a row under Gottfried.

Auburn has a history of running up the score on Alabama when the Tigers have the advantage, as may be the case tonight. In the pre-season, Alabama would have been considered a favorite over Auburn. But Bama has not played as well as expected, Auburn has played better than expected, and now the Crimson Tide is down to only eight scholarship players.

Most expect Auburn to be able to even its all-time record against Alabama in games played at Auburn. Bama currently has a 23-22 advantage in games at Auburn.

Alabama also leads in games at Tuscaloosa, 39-7. (The rematch in Coleman Coliseum this season is scheduled for March 1.) In games at neutral sites, Auburn has the lead, 23-19.

That puts the overall Alabama advantage at 81-52.

Appreciation can be given to former coaches C.M. Newton and Wimp Sanderson for the Bama advantage.

In the early years, Alabama built a 19-4 advantage against Auburn. Beginning in 1957, following Johnny Dee's Rocket 8 success, the Tigers took control, winning 28 of 33 games through the 1971 season. At that time, Auburn held a 32-24 advantage.

From 1972 through 1980, the Alabama teams of C.M. Newton won 17 of 18 games against Auburn.

Wimp Sanderson's teams were also dominant over the Tigers, winning 21 and losing 8.

Even David Hobbs had a winning record against Auburn, an 11-3 record. But Bama's 94-40 loss to Auburn at Auburn in 1998 probably led to Hobbs' dismissal. (Incredibly, Alabama won the rematch in Tuscaloosa that year, 76-62, a 68-point turn-around.)

Alabama has gone 47-20 against Auburn since the Tigers held that 32-24 advantage at the end of the 1971 season.


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