The No. 8 Auburn Tigers (16-2, 5-0 SEC) take on the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-6, 4-1 SEC) tonight at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa.
Currently sitting on top of the SEC standings, Auburn will be looking for its 12th straight win. Alabama had gotten off to a 4-0 start in SEC play before falling 91-71 to the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers on the road Saturday.
What are the biggest things to watch for during the game on Wednesday?
How will Auburn respond to the hostile environment?
Auburn has played two true road games this season. The Tigers took a 69-64 loss to the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Dec. 3 and beat the Arkansas Razorbacks 83-51 on Jan. 6.
Having played in two hostile environments previously this season, including one in conference play, will make Auburn familiar with what to expect.
However, the Iron Bowl of Basketball has become a lot bigger lately, so this will likely be a more hostile environment than Appalachian State or Arkansas.
Can Auburn contain Mark Sears?
Alabama has a talented guard in the 6-foot-1 senior from Muscle Shoals.
Sears leads the SEC and is No. 29 nationally in scoring, averaging 19.8 points per game. He is shooting 53.3% from the field and 47.3% from 3-point range so far this season.
Sears is not the only offensive weapon Alabama has, however.
What other things should Auburn do to slow down Alabama's offense?
Alabama is No. 2 in the SEC and No. 4 nationally in points per game, averaging 89.2. The Crimson Tide has four players who average more than 10 points per game.
Auburn's defense has improved as the season has continued to move along, giving up only 65.3 points per game on average.
Alabama shoots 38.9% from 3-point range, which places it at No. 2 in the SEC. Playing good defense on the perimeter and forcing Alabama to find other ways to score could help lead Auburn to its 12th win in a row.
What is a key matchup that could dictate the game?
One of this game's most intriguing one-on-one matchups is Auburn forward Johni Broome and Alabama forward Grant Nelson.
Broome, a 6-foot-10 junior from Plant City, Florida, leads Auburn in scoring with 15.3 points per game and rebounds with 8.4 per game.
Nelson, a 6-foot-11 senior from Devils Lake, North Dakota, is Alabama's third-highest scorer, averaging 12.1 points per game and its leading rebounder with 5.8 per game.
Whichever team's big man can outperform the other will have a good chance of coming out on top.
Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT. The television broadcast can be found on ESPN, and the Auburn Sports Network broadcast can be streamed anywhere on the Auburn Athletics App.
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