TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama basketball has been in the headlines for reasons both on the court and off it.
Alabama fan Jacoby Lightfoot calling the battle between Auburn and Alabama the “Iron Bowl of basketball.”
“Man, it’s been rejuvenating, it’s been great,” Lightfoot said talking about the season. “Now we’ve been resilient through it all. Coach Oats got ‘em. He’s got them boys locked in on one thing and that’s winning the SEC Championship, the regular season tonight and they’re going to win the national championship.”
James McGhee said the spotlight has shifted more toward basketball this season.
“Normally it’s the football team with the big impact, but now it’s the basketball team,” McGhee said. “I’m happy that role is reversed.”
Both Alabama teams battled it out on the hardwood Wednesday.
Auburn fan Marc Robinson said the Tigers show no fear at all for this matchup.
“it’s been a bit shaky, but when these two meet you never know what’s going to happen,” Robinson said.
Off the hardwood – Alabama has been in the headlines for other reasons, including losing teammate Darius Miles when he was charged with capital murder.
Pam Ratliff, or ‘Fluff’s Mom’, said she’s believed in the team coming together all along.
“I think maybe at first it, but I think if anything it’s made them work harder,” Ratliff said. “ I think it’s made them work harder to prove just that they can do it.”
And in the courtroom, police testified that teammate Brandon Miller transported the gun that night to Miles. Miller’s attorney, Jim Standridge, said his client never touched the gun.
Jevon McCrary is a junior studying cyber security.
“I knew a lot of those players personally and to see it happen it just felt unreal to be honest,” McCrary said. “ I feel like the whole community feels the same way, regardless. It’s just shocking to be honest.”
He said he has seen the team evolve tremendously since stepping foot on campus.
“We went from two years ago to now and it’s just like this is a whole new team, that’s what it feels like,” McCrary said,” McCrary said. “It’s exciting.”
But through it all, all of the fans, including Auburn Fan Jack Hogan, said it’s all about the battle of the state.
“It’s Auburn, it’s Alabama – no matter baseball, basketball, football – it’s always going to be a big deal,” Hogan said.
When we spoke with Alabama fans about how they feel about the season – their thoughts about news that has happened off the court didn’t come up until we asked them about it.