Alabama and Auburn will meet again in the second Basketball Iron Bowl after the Tide won 79-75 in the first round in Tuscaloosa.
Wednesday night is definitely a big match for several reasons. First, Auburn is No. 12 and Alabama is No. 16, so this will be the first time since 1987 that the two will meet on the hardwood in a top-20 matchup.
On top of that, these two teams have established themselves as two of the best teams in the conference, with the Tide leading the SEC at 8-1 and the Tigers just one game behind at 7-2. It has become.
Alabama has won its past four games since being smoked in Knoxville two weeks ago and is one of the hottest teams in the nation heading into this game. Grant Nelson has come along with the tide, giving perhaps his best performance in an Alabama uniform this Saturday night against Mississippi State, and seems to be getting better every game. .
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Auburn followed an 0-2 week with back-to-back wins in the offseason, earning a big road win at Ole Miss on Saturday in a raucous environment. Joni Bloom continues to shine for the Tigers, with the big man averaging over 15 points per game and scoring 25 points in their last matchup.
The Neville Arena crowd has established itself as one of the most difficult environments to play in in the sport, and Wednesday night's The Plains is an absolute must-see as Alabama is set to pick up back-to-back wins over Auburn. It will be a place of frenzy.
As for the pressure this time around, it certainly feels like it's more Auburn than Alabama. Alabama, which already sits in first place in the league after defeating the Tigers, is in a great position to contend for the regular-season SEC Championship even with a loss, but a win for Auburn would be a big step toward the same spot. .
But don't get me wrong. Nate Oates and his cronies want this to be bad.
One of the most important games of the season for both the Tide and Tigers will mark a new chapter as both teams achieve great success and their on-court rivalry continues to evolve.
Michael Brauner is a senior sports analyst and contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP