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By Chris DePew
March 9, 2018
Where to watch: No. 9 Alabama (18-14) vs. No. 1 Auburn (25-6) – Today noon Central, Scottrade Center (St. Louis), ESPN
Who to watch: Donta Hall. The undersized Tigers looked like the perfect victim for Hall in the Feb. 21 matchup at Auburn Arena, but instead they ran the big man ragged. Hall finished with seven points and five rebounds against a team that had only two players within an inch of matching his 6-foot-9 frame. It was part of a February funk that largely coincided with the Crimson Tide’s five-game losing streak. Hall looked somewhat better in the back-to-back games against Texas A&M, scoring 12 and 11 points, but he still felt like an afterthought in the offense. That can’t happen again versus Auburn if Bama wants to extend its SEC Tournament stay into the weekend.
What to watch for: Perimeter defense. Instead of constantly switching defenders and leaving its big men stranded on the perimeter, Alabama opted to play a more straight-up zone against the Aggies. That helped Bama win the battle of points in the paint but did allow A&M to make six 3-pointers. Daring Auburn to shoot from deep is folly though. The Tigers lead the league in 3-point attempts per game and make better than 37 percent of them. In last month’s 90-71 blowout of Bama, Auburn was 12-for-34 from behind the arc. Alabama must use its size advantage at every position to close out on shooters.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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