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  • Writer's pictureKevin Scarbinsky

They're not playing, but the Tide and Tigers are always competing

Kelvin Sampson got it. The Houston coach rolled off four Roll Tides in 16 seconds, searching for the proper inflection. His best impression was a gravelly drawl drawn out just so, laced with low-key menace.

"Is that good enough?" Sampson wondered. "I mean, how do you say Roll Tide?"

He smiled. The rest of the room laughed out loud. Extra credit for the effort. Houston is playing Auburn at 6:10 this evening in Birmingham in the NCAA Tournament's second round. The selection committee did the Cougars dirty, setting up a cacophonous home-crowd disadvantage for the Midwest Region's No. 1 seed, and as Sampson said Friday, "We need some help."

Not to fear. The BOGs (Basketball-Only Gumps), FOGs (Football-Only Gumps) and Alabama fans for all seasons will be out in force and full voice in Legacy Arena.

There's only thing they would enjoy more than watching Auburn flop and Bruce Pearl sweat in the first game of this Magic City Madness double-dip. It would be seeing Alabama roll in the nightcap and serenading Maryland with a few lusty choruses of Rammer Jammer, all while picturing Aubie et al. busing back down Highway 280 with their tails between their legs.

Auburn's real feelings for Alabama, of course, are mutual and not suitable for Sunday school, no matter what Pearl might expeditiously say or Zep Jasper might genuinely feel. Jasper's "Do it for State" statement of support for the Crimson Tide three days ago set off a great Twitter debate. Angels and devils started wrestling on shoulders in every corner of the dark Heart of Dixie.

“I’m actually cheering for Alabama,” the Auburn senior guard said Wednesday. “I want to see them win. I want to see them have success because they're another team from Alabama."

Beautiful thought, Zep. You're not from around here, are you? ...

Read the rest of Kevin's column on who will be cheering for whom as Alabama and Auburn take on different opponents in the NCAA Tournament in Birmingham. Only in The Lede.

Auburn celebrates a furious flurry during its NCAA Tournament victory over Iowa at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.



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