Auburn forward Jabari Smith (10) and Alabama forward Darius Miles (2) collide chasing a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Alabama looks to match intensity versus top-ranked Auburn

Top-ranked Auburn (20-1, 8-0) looks to extend its 17-game win streak against Alabama (14-7, 4-4) as the two face off in this rivalry game in Auburn Arena on Tuesday night at 9 p.m.

Alabama’s inconsistency

Alabama’s season has been confusing, to say the least. They are coming off a win over No. 4 Baylor on Saturday. But four days prior to that win, they fell to Georgia who comes in dead last in the SEC. The Tide have an impressive six Quadrant 1 wins, only Baylor and Wisconsin have more, with seven each. On the other hand, they do have two Quadrant three losses to Missouri and Georgia. They have performed like a team that could make it to the final four, but at times they have also looked like a team that would not make it far in the NIT.

Heading into this matchup, the Tide must match their intensity from the Baylor game, but this time on the road, in a sold-out arena. The Tide will look to their talented backcourt duo Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly to shine. Shackelford enters this game averaging 17.2 points per game while Quinerly is just behind him averaging 14.6 points per game. This duo has been a key factor in winning big games as they have averaged 38.4 points in the Tide’s five biggest wins this season.

Auburn looks to stay hot

While Auburn did have a very narrow victory over Missouri last week, they bounced back on Saturday with a solid win against Oklahoma. As they head into their second week as the No. 1 team in all of college basketball, they have the longest win streak in the country and they are still undefeated in the SEC.

Their star-studded lineup led by freshman phenom Jabari Smith, continues to prove their dominance. The team is ranked in the top 15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. The Tigers are No. 14 offensively and No. 12 defensively.

The last time the Tigers faced the Tide this season, they came away with the win. However, in that game, Alabama did put up a fight. Bruce Pearl stated that his team was “fortunate” to win that game in Coleman Coliseum on Jan. 11. Pearl said the key to getting that win was being able to keep Shackelford and Quinerly in check, and it will be the same thing tonight. Auburn must stay aggressive on defense so that Alabama’s guards don’t get hot.

About Kate Caranante

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