Auburn looms as more of a must-win than usual for Bama basketball

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By Chris DePew
staff
Feb. 4,

Where to watch: Auburn (14-8, 3-6 SEC) at Alabama (13-8, 6-3) – Today 7:30 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum,

Who to watch: Donta Hall. The sophomore center from Luverne was barely around for the first game of the series, playing only nine minutes while picking up four fouls in a futile effort to stop Tigers freshman Austin Wiley. He doesn’t have as polished a shot away from the rim as Jimmie Taylor, but he’s a superior rebounder which gives him chances to finish with dunks and layups when he’s on top of his game. And if he can perform offensively, that would force Wiley to burn some energy on and possibly get into some foul trouble of his own.

What to watch for: If has somehow improved 20 points in two weeks. Prior to Wednesday’s stinker at Arkansas, had played with renewed dedication and purpose following its 84-64 loss at on Jan. 21. And even though it played poorly against the Hogs, the stayed within striking distance through the opening minutes of the second half until foul trouble left an outmanned bench to take the brunt of a 14-0 Razorbacks run. With back-to-back games against Top 25 teams ahead, Bama suddenly finds itself in desperate need of a win against its hated or a four-game losing streak to begin February becomes likely. At the same time, has to channel its emotion into playing smart and not fast because it just doesn’t have the raw talent to match Auburn. The is capable of winning, but it will take its best home effort of the conference schedule to date.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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