Charles Barkley keeps a close eye on not only his beloved Auburn basketball program, but also Alabama, and so the well-known sportscaster had plenty of opinions about both programs being in Birmingham this week to open the NCAA Tournament.

“I think it’s great for the state, it’s great for Birmingham,” Barkley said on “The Next Round.” “Auburn, you know, we’ve got a chance against Iowa. Iowa’s solid, but in my opinion, I love our coach so I believe we’ve got a chance against anybody. Just got to keep the game close and make some shots.”

Barkley also noted that Auburn not only got the break of being in Birmingham, but Houston’s best player, Marcus Sasser, is dealing with an injury. Though he wouldn’t pick Auburn to beat Houston.

Barkley added that he appreciated Alabama using him in its video montage, but said the Crimson Tide have the best player in the country, and the best team, and it’s going to be very tough to beat them. Barkley called Brandon Miller “the perfect NBA player today,” because he’s in the 6-foot-6 to 6-foot-9 range and can guard multiple positions on the perimeter.

“It’s painful, it’s still painful, Alabama’s the best team in the country, I’m going to pick them to win it,” he said.

However, Barkley said fans of each team should cheer for their rival.

“This is not like football,” he said. “I think both teams should cheer for the other team, especially being in Birmingham is a huge advantage.”