The University of Alabama’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament took a small hit with the news that one of the team’s top players, Toney Mitchell, has been suspended from the team indefinitely. Bama begins life without him tonight at rival Auburn – Place your college basketball bets at WagerWeb.com.
Mitchell has been a do-it-all type player for the Crimson Tide this season. Along with his 13.1 points, he’s averaging 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steals. Tide coach Anthony Grant said the decision was made after Alabama’s win Saturday against Ole Miss. Grant said the decision was based on “an accumulation” of things, not a single incident. Mitchell did not start in that game – the first time this season he was out of the starting lineup – but scored 14 points in 31 minutes of action. He also had to leave the game after a blow to the head, and twice left the bench to return to the training room in the second half before re-entering the game.
The Crimson Tide visits the Plains with a 15-7 overall record and a 4-4 record in SEC play after a thrilling, 69-67, double-overtime win against Mississippi on Saturday. Auburn returns home, where it is 12-1 this season, after playing three of its last four games on the road to amass a 13-10 overall mark and a 3-6 record in the SEC.
Offensively, Trevor Releford has led Alabama in scoring in six of the last 11 games and is averaging 13.7 points per game on 60-of-109 shooting (10-of-30 from three-point) with 32 assists during that span. Inside, JaMychal Green paces the Tide with 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game after recording his 24th career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Auburn, which has averaged 58.6 points per game in its SEC games, is led by Kenny Gabriel’s 12.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Frankie Sullivan is next in scoring with 12.1 points per outing. That pair, combined with Varez Ward, scored 62 of Auburn’s 88 points in its 91-88 loss at MSU.
This is the 144th meeting between Auburn and Alabama with the Crimson Tide holding an 87-56 advantage. However, Auburn has won six of the last 10 games in the series while Alabama holds a slim 14-13 lead in the last 27 meetings. In the last 10 games, the Tigers swept the Tide in 2007 and 2009, split the 2008 and 2010 series and were swept last year although both games were decided by a combined 12 points.