Alabama and Auburn will face off once again in the second Iron Bowl of Basketball after the Tide earned a 79-75 victory in round one in Tuscaloosa.
It’s an absolutely huge matchup on Wednesday night for a few reasons. For one, with Auburn ranked No. 12 and Alabama ranked No. 16, it will be the first time since 1987 that the two sides have met on the hardwood in a top-20 matchup.
On top of that, the two squads have established themselves as two of the best teams in the conference, with the Tide sitting at 8-1 and in first place in the SEC and the Tigers just one game behind at 7-2.
Since getting smoked in Knoxville two weeks ago, Alabama has won its last four games and is one of the hotter teams in the nation coming into this one. Grant Nelson is coming along for the Tide, seemingly improving every game with perhaps his best performance in an Alabama uniform coming this past Saturday night against Mississippi State.
Auburn in off back-to-back wins as well following an 0-2 week, having secured a massive road win on Saturday at Ole Miss in what was a raucous environment. Johni Broome continues to shine for the Tigers, with the big man averaging over 15 points per game and having scored 25 in the last meeting.
The crowd at Neville Arena has established itself as one of the most difficult environments to play in the sport, and with Alabama going for back-to-back sweeps over Auburn, it’s going to be an absolute madhouse on The Plains on Wednesday night.
As for pressure in this one, it certainly feels more as if it’s on Auburn rather than Alabama. Having already beat the Tigers and sitting at first place in the league, Alabama is in a great position to compete for a regular season SEC Championship even with a loss, while a win for Auburn would go a long way towards putting them in the same spot.
Make no mistake, however. Nate Oats and company want this one bad.
As the rivalry on the court continues to evolve with both teams having great success, another chapter will be written by what now is one of the most important games of the season for both the Tide and the Tigers.