By Chris DePew
Feb. 2, 2019
Where to watch: Alabama (13-7, 4-3 SEC – #46 Pomeroy Rating) at Auburn (14-6, 3-4 – #15) – Today 7 p.m., Auburn Arena, ESPN2
Who to watch: Kira Lewis. Bama needs its freshman point guard to be somewhere between very good and excellent if it is going to reverse a string of recent blowout losses in Lee County. But something hasn’t quite been the same with Lewis’ game since missing a crucial late free throw that opened the door for a buzzer-beater upset by Texas A&M. In the five games since he has shot just 19-for-46 (41.3 percent) from the floor, went three consecutive games with just one assist and had a season-high five turnovers against Mississippi State. He did make a crucial block in the closing seconds to preserve an upset of the No. 22 Bulldogs, but remains a net liability on defense, which Auburn’s stable of 3-point shooters will try to exploit.
What to watch for: Avoiding a momentum-killing run. Avery Johnson’s previous three visits to the Plains have been some of the lowest points of his tenure, each loss seemingly more galling than the last. Sometimes it has come early and sometimes late, but the Tigers have always found a way to string together a scoring run – usually with a barrage of quick, absurdly deep treys – that sends an already-frenzied crowd into orbit, rattles the Crimson Tide’s confidence and sets the table for a blowout the rest of the way. Bama can’t let a couple of bad possessions snowball into something bigger and get suckered out of its game plan. But with Auburn third in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (11.3) it really might not have much say in the matter.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris