By Chris DePew
Jan. 19, 2016
Where to watch: Alabama (10-6, 1-2 SEC) at Auburn (8-8, 2-3) – 8 p.m. Central today, Auburn Arena, SEC Network
Who to watch: Shannon Hale. It’s not certain that the junior forward will get his first start since mid-December tonight, but it seems to be trending that way. He had a game-high 13 points against Vanderbilt and stamina no longer seems to be a problem (although foul trouble is). And there is precedent for him having a big game in Auburn Arena. Last February he sank all three of his 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and three blocks as the Crimson Tide completed the season sweep with a 79-68 win. Given Michael Kessens’ limited utility, the time is ripe for Hale to rejoin the starting five.
What to watch for: Perimeter defense. The Tigers live and die at the arc, leading the SEC in 3-point attempts (25.8 per game) and makes (9.7). Marshall transfer Kareem Canty has become Auburn’s go-to player, averaging 19 points per game and making just under four treys per game. But it isn’t just a matter of collapsing on him – he also is third in the SEC with 5.6 assists per game. Alabama will have to avoid over-pursuing on the perimeter and resist the temptation to trade quick 3-point shots with AU. The Tigers only go seven players deep at best with their regular rotation and can be worn down by a patient team.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris