Auburn basketball quotes of note ahead of Iron Bowl of Basketball

Auburn basketball players and coaches talk about the upcoming rematch with Alabama.

Feb 3, 2024; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Auburn Tigers guard/forward Chad Baker-Mazara (10) reacts
Feb 3, 2024; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Auburn Tigers guard/forward Chad Baker-Mazara (10) reacts / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Auburn basketball players and coaches talk about the upcoming rematch with Alabama

Nothing can compare to the rivalry between Auburn and Alabama, and it extends much further than just football. The Iron Bowl of Basketball has become one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year for fans.

The Tigers hit the road to play in Tuscaloosa a couple weeks ago and suffered a tough loss driven by Alabama guard Mark Sears. Auburn started off slow, and although they were able to eliminate much of the deficit in the second half, it wasn't enough to overcome the Tide.

Tonight, Nate Oats and Alabama will arrive on the Plains for a rematch in Neville Arena, and the Tigers will be hoping to even the score of the series. Since the loss, Auburn took another L on the road but bounced back during a midweek home game against Vanderbilt and then defeated Ole Miss in Oxford to get the first Quad 1 win of the season. Below are quotes of note from several key players, per Auburn Daily.

For Chad Baker-Mazara, playing at Neville Arena changes everything:

"I feel like at home, we’ve played a couple away games and at home, everybody’s got superpowers for some reason," Baker-Mazara said. "Everybody starts hitting more shots. A lot of that has to do with the fans. I love them, but I don’t know when you feel at home, you feel like you got a little more swagger in you. You're confident cause you know the crowd got your back. We want to keep it undefeated, not lose at home at all. I don’t never want to give the home fans that feeling."

Head coach Bruce Pearl talked about the Tigers' plan to manage Mark Sears:

“Yes, his [Denver Jones] offensive productivity – making shots or putting the ball in his hands to make some plays – that makes us better," Pearl said. "But we’re not even in the conversation unless he’s starting. He and KD are going to be the primary covers on Sears. Sears is the leading scorer in the league. He has potential for the player of the year in the league. If we can hold Mark Sears down, our chances of winning are much better. Denver Jones and KD Johnson and our backcourt are going to have a lot to say about that."

And finally, Jaylin Williams knows Auburn basketball will have to focus on offensive rebounding and second chance points:

"Yeah, so Ole Miss — their guys didn't really go as much," Williams said. "We knew that going in. They didn't really box us out, so we knew we could crash and get put-back dunks and get extra possessions. But we know that, come tomorrow, we've gotta hit first. Box out. Do as much as we can. Don't hurt anybody, but let them know that we're here to play. Set the tone early. Box out and rebound, and that should help us towards winning the game."