Preview: Alabama at Auburn
Updated On: Jan 29 2014 09:02:52 AM CST
Auburn is one of two SEC teams still seeking its first league victory and has lost six in a row. But the Tigers will not lack motivation when they host in-state rival Alabama on Thursday, considering Auburn receives the trophy from the school's Iron Bowl football victory in a halftime ceremony after the Tigers struggled mightily in Saturday's 86-67 loss at Arkansas. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but officials postponed it when a rare winter storm swept through Alabama.The Crimson Tide snapped a two-game slide with an 82-80 win over LSU on Saturday despite blowing a 19-point second-half lead. The Crimson Tide are part of a six-team logjam tied at .500 in conference play after benefiting from a career-best 17 points against LSU from Shannon Hale, who has scored in double figures in all six SEC games. Plenty of scoring punch will be on the court Wednesday. Auburn's duo of KT Harrell (second in the conference at 19.1) and Chris Denson (fourth at 18.8) drives the Tigers' offense, while Alabama's Trevor Releford (seventh at 18.2) posted his sixth game of 20-plus points with 21 in Saturday's victory.TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, SEC Network ABOUT ALABAMA (9-10, 3-3 SEC): Releford is the unquestioned key cog in the Crimson Tide's attack, ranking second in the SEC in both free-throw percentage and steals per game while standing sixth in 3-pointers made. He has averaged 21.7 points in Alabama's three SEC victories and 13.7 in the Crimson Tide's three conference defeats. Guard Retin Obasohan has missed the past two games with a hip flexor injury, and the status of the Crimson Tide's second-leading scorer (12.2 points per game) for Wednesday is uncertain.ABOUT AUBURN (8-9, 0-6): The Tigers played miserably in the first half against Arkansas, going 0-for-7 from 3-point range and shooting 25.9 percent overall while committing 13 turnovers. Harrell, who transferred from Virginia, is fourth in the SEC in 3-point shooting at 41.9 percent, and combines with Denson to account for 51.8 percent of Auburn's scoring. The Tigers have not won since a victory over Florida A&M on Jan. 4.TIP-INS1. The Tigers have scored more than 68 points once in six SEC games.2. Alabama tied a season high with 18 assists against LSU, sparked by Hale's career-best six.3. Alabama leads the all-time series 89-58, winning six of the past seven meetings.PREDICTION: Alabama 75, Auburn 63
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