June 24, 2024

For just the sixth time this season, the eighth-ranked Auburn Tigers were outrebounded as Alabama recorded 46 rebounds to Auburn’s 41 in Wednesday night’s game that snapped their winning streak.

However, Auburn’s out-rebounding of Alabama wasn’t the main reason the Tigers lost the game. This season, Auburn has defeated opponents despite being outrebounded five times. Rather, the difference came from the way they were out-rebounded at Alabama.

Alabama grabbed 16 offensive rebounds to Auburn’s 29 defensive rebounds when beneath the basket, meaning that the Crimson Tide was in position to grab its own rebound 35.5% of the time.

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In contrast, the Crimson Tide grabbed 30 defensive rebounds when Auburn was at their basket, meaning that Auburn grabbed its own boards 28.5% of the time. The Tigers grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in that period.

Even the slightest advantage on the boards can have a big impact in a close rivalry game like Wednesday’s at Coleman Coliseum in Alabama, especially if the team grabbing the offensive rebounds is scoring on second-chance opportunities.

And on Wednesday night, that proved to be the case as Alabama scored 21 second-chance points to Auburn’s 12.

Following Auburn’s 79-75 loss to Alabama, which ended the Tigers’ 11-game winning streak and handed them their first SEC loss, head coach Bruce Pearl stated, “That and the 3-ball were the differences in the game as far as them getting 79 points.”

The season-high 21 second-chance points scored by Alabama were the most Auburn has given up. Before, the benchmark was Southeastern Louisiana’s 19 second-chance points.

“It has a major role. Admittedly, we were defeated by second-chance points during Alabama’s small-ball game. And, thus, when questioned about the significance of Auburn’s defensive rebounding, Pearl responded on Friday, “That is obviously a huge concern.”

And as SEC play progresses, Auburn’s rebounding battle doesn’t get any easier against its next test, Mississippi State, or the opponents that come after.

When it comes to offensive rebounding, Mississippi State is among the top 40 teams in the nation, grabbing its own rebounds 32.6% of the time. Against Florida, in the Bulldogs’ most recent game, that offensive rebound percentage shot up to 40.5%.

Pearl declared on Friday that Mississippi State would “be running to the boards tomorrow.”

Pearl stated that he plans to utilise some of his “smaller guards” against the Bulldogs. This is probably code for a lineup that includes freshman Aden Holloway, sophomore Tre Donaldson, and senior KD Johnson, all of whom are 6 feet 3 or lower.

Pearl stated on Friday, “We’ll play two or three smaller guards out there, and our smaller guards have to do a better job of keeping them off the boards.”

You have to handle that more skillfully. When we take on the top clubs on our schedule, it will undoubtedly be our top priority. It pains me sometimes to be correct. However, a significant portion of it is related to my worry about our defensive rebounding performance.

After losing to Alabama, No. 8 Auburn (16-3, 5-1 SEC) will play Mississippi State (13-6, 2-4 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 in an attempt to recover. The game at Starkville on Saturday afternoon will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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