The nationally televised game on ESPN will match two teams with momentum. Alabama has won its last three games, including a 90-69 pounding of Ole Miss on Saturday in Oxford. The Tigers also had success in the state of Mississippi on Saturday as Jeff Lebo's club knocked off the Bulldogs of Mississippi State 76-58.
The victory, the sixth in the last seven games for the Tigers, improved Auburn's record to 19-10 overall and 8-6 in the SEC. Alabama is 16-12 overall and 6-8 in the league, including an 85-71 loss vs. Auburn on Jan. 17th.
In that first matchup Mark Gottfried was coaching the Tide, but for the past nine games his former assistant, Philip Pearson, has been directing the Tide after Gottfried was fired. Pearson's record as interim head coach is 4-5.
The Tide lost four straight games vs. Vandy, LSU, South Carolina and Florida to start the month of February, but rebounded with victories over Mississippi State, Arkansas and Ole Miss and is playing its best basketball of the season.
Alonzo Gee is the Tide's top performer.
Lebo says one of the reasons for the Tide's success has been what he calls the "awesome" play of 6-6 senior Alonzo Gee, who is averaging 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Gee is up to 20.3 points during the Tide's three-game winning streak. He has averaged 15.3 points for his career in games vs. the Tigers.
Anthony Brock, who did not play in the Tide's loss at Auburn, scored 17 points vs. Ole Miss on Saturday as he came off the bench to hit 5-6 three-point field goals.
Auburn is led in scoring by junior guard DeWayne Reed, who is averaging 13.2 points per contest. Senior Korvotney Barber is averaging 12.7 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds. Junior Tay Waller is scoring 12.6 points per game for the Tigers.
Korvotney Barber will be looking for a victory on his last trip to Tuscaloosa.
Alabama leads the series 84-54, but Auburn has won the last two matchups and four of the last five. Lebo's Auburn record vs. the Tide is 4-5.
v Hoops Notes: Junior Johnnie Lett is still recovering from an ankle injury and Lebo says he isn't sure when the 6-8 forward will be ready for game action. Lett has missed Auburn's last eight games...In Lett's absence, Brendon Knox, a 6-10 junior, has seen more playing time and handled the assignment well in recent outings. Knox scored his Auburn-high 10 points vs. Mississippi State and has been playing better in practice, Lebo notes...Auburn has won seven SEC games by 10 or more points, which is the most since the 1998-99 team did it 13 times. Auburn's last five victories have been by double-digit margins...The Tigers have a one-game lead over Mississippi State in the competition for second place in the SEC West. If the two teams end in a tie for second in the division, the Tigers would get the bye for the first round of the SEC Tournament that will be played March 12th-15th in Tampa. The Bulldogs will play at home vs. Florida on Wednesday and close the regular season at Ole Miss. Lebo says getting the bye would be "gigantic" for his team's chances of winning the tournament.
Recent Tigers vs. Tide matchups have not been close. The average margin of victory has been 15.2 points in the last six games...In the first game vs. the Tide this year, Auburn led by as much as 17 points in the first half. The Tide cut the lead to five points early in the second half before the Tigers made a 19-2 run to take control of the contest and win 85-71...With a victory on Tuesday night, the Tigers would get to 20 wins for the first time since the 2002-2003 team did it. That squad finished 22-12 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with wins over St. Joe's and Wake Forest. The Tigers gave Syracuse, the national champions that year, a major scare with the Orangemen winning 79-78 in Albany, N.Y...A win over the Tide would be the first time since the 29-4 1998-99 team that the Tigers won four league road games. The Tigers won the SEC title that year and were 6-2 in league road contests.