Auburn @ Alabama

Biggest game of the Jeff Lebo era? Yes.

On the surface, you would assume Alabama is struggling and Auburn should win this game but Alabama is on a 3-game winning streak and the crowd will probably be their best this season (maybe not during the first or second halves but definitely at halftime when the Iron Bowl trophy is handed out). Plus, Alabama is still alive to finish 2nd in the SECW and get the first round bye if they win out and Auburn and Mississippi State lose out. But an Auburn win tonight clinches 2nd place in the SECW and a 1st round bye in the SEC tournament.

Auburn needs this win if they want to make the NCAA tournament. It's a primetime game on ESPN2 and the Tigers need all the wins they can get. They haven't sniffed any of the bracketoligist's (ESPN made up word) lists and need a win on TV to be mentioned. A win tonight will put them at 20 wins on the season and 9-6 in conference. Since Auburn has jumped into the conversation so late, they need to win out in conference to go 10-6 and win at least one SEC tournament game but hopefully make it to the championship game. These are big ifs but I don't see the NCAA selection committee keeping out an SEC team that reaches those levels. That would be more impressive than what Florida or Kentucky has done this season but they have brand name recognition and have expected to make the tournament all season.

I see a close game tonight with the difference being Auburn's bench play and their defense. Auburn has settled into a rotation with defined roles and they are playing with a lot of confidence. The defense has been one of the SEC's best all season and I don't see that changing tonight.

Auburn 70
Alabama 65

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