LISTEN: Auburn’s Bruce Pearl and Alabama’s John Pelphrey on Opening Kickoff

By Scott McInnerney
WNSP Reporter

MOBILE, AL – Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl and Alabama assistant coach John Pelphrey joined WNSP on the Opening Kickoff this morning to talk college basketball.

Auburn is leading the SEC in men’s basketball with an 11-2 conference record and 23-3 overall. This season is Pearl’s best as the head coach of Auburn, going from 4-14 in conference during his first year to leading the conference this year.

“You’re just doing your job,” Pearl said. “Some years the performance and the results are better than others.

“The thing that I’m really proud about is that Auburn is such a great place, such a great town. It’s amazing how we succeed in men’s and women’s sports across the board, but men’s basketball wasn’t holding up its end, and now we are.”

Auburn is known for playing small-ball but playing with toughness. The team leads the SEC in 3-point shooting percentage, scoring, free-throw percentage, and steals.

“We don’t have a great inside attack, so we do rely on the three-ball,” said Pearl. “When you are able to put four guys on the perimeter and make the defense cover, it does open up the lane. We’ve got to be able to shoot it in order to win.”

Auburn is ranked No. 10 in the nation in the most recent poll, and they are looking to have strong finish in a tough conference.

“This league, bottom to top, is as good as it’s ever been,” Pearl said. “There’s not a better league in the country.

“Vanderbilt is in last place, and they can beat anybody in our league anywhere, home or on the road. We’re just going to take it one game at a time. The way I’ve approached it with this team is that our schedule is going to force us to get better.”

Alabama basketball and assistant coach John Pelphrey are sitting at fifth place in the SEC. The Crimson Tide has picked up wins on top teams in the conference such as Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee.

“In years past, we played some teams that probably couldn’t get us in,” said Pelphrey. “This year is the reverse.”

Alabama will play three of its last five games on the road, and the final games of the season are against some of the SEC’s top teams.

“We’ve got a tough week this week,” Pelphrey said. “Our next two games are at Kentucky and at Auburn.

“If we win, those are very good for our movement up the standings or having a chance to build our resume. We’ve got two home games against Arkansas and Florida, two teams that are going to build our resume and help us move up the standings. Even though it’s really challenging, that’s the way you want it.”

For more, you can listen to the full interviews below and tune in to the Opening Kickoff weekday mornings from 6 to 9 a.m.

Bruce Pearl:


John Pelphrey:


Stephen Root