Tide and Tigers united by lingering doubts with Round 2 ahead

By Chris DePew
TideFans.com Staff
March 5, 2019

Where to watch: Auburn (20-9, 9-7 SEC – #16 Pomeroy Rating) at Alabama (17-12, 8-8 – #56) – Today, 8 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum, ESPNU

Who to watch: Riley Norris. It would be a mild surprise if the senior from Albertville got the start, but if it happens it will be on merit and not as a sentimental gesture to Bama’s most-tenured player. Over the last four games, Norris has averaged 10.5 points and five rebounds per game, culminating with a 13-point, nine-rebound game in a season-high 32 minutes against LSU. The grit and effort have been there all along, and now the results are outshining at least two regular starters. Whether he comes off the bench or not, expect Norris to see plenty of action in what could well be his last game in Tuscaloosa.

What to watch for: Is Auburn more than a bunch of paper Tigers? Bruce Pearl’s team has perhaps the widest gap between its analytics profile and real world results. Auburn lives and dies with its 3-point shooting and playing gambling, opportunistic defense, relying heavily on blocks and steals. But the Tigers’ respectable 69 points allowed per game balloons to 76.6 points per game in nine true road contests, in which Auburn went just 3-6 and didn’t beat a team with a winning record. If the Crimson Tide can come out hot tonight, it could AU back on its heels psychologically in a game with heavy postseason pressure on both sides.

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