By Chris DePew
Feb. 27, 2016
Where to watch: Auburn (11-16, 5-10 SEC) at Alabama (16-11, 7-8) – 4 p.m. Central today, Coleman Coliseum, SEC Network
Who to watch: Riley Norris. It’s not clear whether he has hit a wall after seeing his minutes ramped up considerably in his sophomore season, but his recent funk mirrors Alabama’s. Over his last four games he is just 4-for-20 from the field, and didn’t even attempt a shot in last Saturday’s upset loss to Mississippi State. But it isn’t just his scoring touch that has disappeared. Rebounds have gone down while fouls and turnovers have gone up of late. Bama doesn’t need the swing man from Albertville to be a star, but he does need to get back to contributing 8-10 points per game and his share of rebounds.
What to watch for: A better start. The Crimson Tide has enough problems scoring (67 points per game, last in the SEC) without adding the stress of needing a comeback. But Alabama has trailed at halftime in each of its last four games. Likewise, Bama fell behind 10-2 in the opening minutes at Auburn and also gave up an 11-0 run in that half as the Tigers took a lead to the locker room and never trailed again. Auburn is down to eight scholarship players but seems to be reinventing itself down the stretch, upsetting Arkansas and Georgia over its last three games. The Tide needs to choke off hope early before the underdogs can get on a roll. After back-to-back lethargic performances, hopefully the motivation of paying back an archrival and an amped up home crowd can shake Bama out of its doldrums and put it back in NCAA tournament contention.
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