Tide Looks To Take Down Tigers Without Mitchell
Alabama's edition of the Three Amigos is no more, at least for the foreseeable future. When senior forward JaMychal Green and sophomore guard Trevor Releford travel to Auburn Arena tonight for an 8pm CT tip-off against the rival Tigers, they will have to overcome the loss of junior forward Tony Mitchell. Head coach Anthony Grant announced on Monday that the star forward has been suspended from the team indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.
Mitchell, who averages over 13 points a game, will definitely be missed, according to senior guard Andrew Steele.
"It obviously hurts," Steele said. "He's such a big part of what we try to do. But it's a coach's decision and we just have to focus on doing what we have to do to get a win."
While Mitchell's production has been big this season, Green and Releford have shown the ability to carry the Tide at various points throughout the season. Green leads the Tide offensively, averaging almost 14 points a game while pulling down over 7 boards. Releford, who has started every game this season at the point for Bama, contributes over 12 points a game while averaging over 3 assists. They also have received a considerable boost from Steele, who is averaging 6 points and 2 assists per contest since he joined the team nine games ago after being cleared to return from concussion like symptoms. The Tide will also look to freshman forward Nick Jacobs to pick up some of the slack left by Mitchell. The Atlanta area native averages almost 6 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes of play per game.
Alabama (15-7, 4-4 SEC) faces an Auburn (13-10, 3-6 SEC) team that is not only coming off an 88 point output in their 91-88 loss to No. 22 Mississippi State on the road, but is also 12-1 in the second year at their new venue. Coach Tony Barbee's Tigers are led by senior forward Kenny Gabriel, who averages 12.3 points and 8 rebounds a game. The Tigers' back court is led by junior guard Frankie Sullivan and his 12 points a game. The Tigers' other three starters, sophomore guards Varez Ward and Chris Denson, and junior center Rob Chubb, all average 9 points or better a game.
Tonight's contest, which is the first of the annual 2 game series, is slated to be broadcast by ESPNU as part of their rivalry week coverage. Alabama, who has won their last 3 match-ups with the Tigers, leads the overall series 87-56.