Jan. 31, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will welcome the Tennessee Volunteers to Coleman Coliseum for a "White Out" on Saturday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a free "White Out" t-shirt.
The contest, which marks the only home game in the current four-game stretch, will be the lone meeting of the year between the two teams.
Saturday night's contest will be televised on ESPN2 with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Darrin Horn (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. The contest will also be broadcast nationally on Sirius Channel 113 and XM Channel 199. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
This weekend's Alabama-Tennessee game will mark the 143rd meeting in series history between to two schools, which stands as UA's fifth-most common opponent in program lore. The Crimson Tide owns a 76-66 edge in the all-time series, including wins in four of the last five meetings vs. the Volunteers. In fact, the Crimson Tide has won 12 of the last 17 games played between the teams.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 95-63 (.601) record during his time at the Capstone and is 171-88 (.661) in eight seasons as a head coach. Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin is in his third season as a head coach and has guided the Volunteers to a record of 52-35 (.598). Now in his sixth season as a head coach, Martin has a career record of 113-76 (.598).
THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Alabama is in a middle of a seven-game stretch that includes five games away from home. After Saturday's contest vs. Tennessee, the Tide will play four of its next five games away from Coleman Coliseum.
- According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 2 overall strength of schedule and the No. 6-ranked non-conference strength of schedule.
- In seven previous meetings vs. Tennessee, Alabama head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-2.
- Alabama comes into the Tennessee game having won 15 of its last 16 home games against SEC foes. In fact, since Grant's arrival in 2009, Alabama owns a home record of 30-6 (.833) against SEC competition, including a 26-2 (.929) mark since 2011.
- Freshman Shannon Hale's 12.7 ppg in conference play ranks third among SEC freshmen and 20th overall. Over his last 10 games, Hale is second on the team with 11.9 points per game and rebounding (4.2 rpg).
- Guards Retin Obasohan (2.3 spg) and Trevor Releford (2.2 spg) rank first and second in the SEC in steals per game, respectively. Together, the duo is averaging 4.5 steals per game, which ranks tied for fifth in the NCAA among all duos in terms of takeaways.
- Alabama is a perfect 8-0 when holding opponents 65 or fewer points, but the Tide falls to 1-11 this year when allowing more the 65 points in a game.
Alabama is coming off a 74-55 defeat at Auburn last Thursday night. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but due to a winter storm, the game was pushed back 24 hours. Senior guard Trevor Releford was the only Crimson Tide player to reach double figures, finishing with 15 points.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.1 points per game, which ranks seventh in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 50 percent (115-of-230) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 39.6 percent (44-of-111) from beyond the arc. He also ranks second in the SEC and 28th nationally with 2.2 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.8 assists per contest.
Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an injured hip flexor, is the only other player to average double figure scoring at 12.1 points per game. He leads the SEC and ranks 19th nationally with 2.3 steals per game, and leads Alabama and ranks eight in the SEC in blocks per contest (1.3). He also leads the Tide in free throws made (84) and attempted (115).
Junior guard Levi Randolph chips in with 9.2 points per game and ranks second on the team in rebounding (4.2 rpg).
Freshman Shannon Hale has stepped up his game during SEC play, recording double digits in six of the Tide's seven league contests. Among SEC freshmen in league games only, he is third in scoring average (12.7 ppg).
As a team this season, UA is shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 32.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is outscoring the competition by 2.5 points a game (69.8-67.3). Alabama currently ranks third in the SEC and 42nd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.5 percent). The Tide also ranks third in the SEC in free throw shooting (.699). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (7.5 spg; 5th/53rd) per game.
ALABAMA-AUBURN: A LOOK BACK
Thursday's game at Auburn marked the 148th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the fourth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 89-59 edge in the series.
The the loss, head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 6-3 when he has faced the Tigers, including a 2-3 mark when playing at Auburn.
UA owns an all-time record of 25-28 when playing at Auburn.
For the ninth time this season, Alabama allowed an opponent to score 70 or more points in a game. Through 20 games, the Tide is 5-3 when scoring 70 or more points on the year, but 1-7 when the opposition goes for 70 or more points. Moreover, Alabama has now dropped 20 of the last 21 games when allowing 70 or more points.
Auburn had 28 free throw attempts, which marked the third consecutive SEC road game that it has yielded 25 or more free throws. In fact, over the Tide's three road league games this season, it has surrendered 106 free throw attempts to the opposition, an average of 35.3 free throw attempts per game.
Alabama falls to 1-11 this season when allowing a team to score more than 65 points in a game.
Trevor Releford finished with 15 points on the night. It marked his 21st straight game in double figures dating back to last season.
Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan made his return to the lineup on Thursday night, contributing nine points, two rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes off the bench vs. Auburn. Obasohan had been sidelined the previous two games due to an injury to his left hip flexor.
Alabama shot just 35.8 percent from the floor, compared to Auburn's 49 percent. The Tide falls to 0-7 for the year when shooting worse than the opposition.
The Tide's reserves outscored Auburn's bench, 16-4, in the defeat. The Alabama non-starters have outscored its counterparts in 17 of UA's 20 games, including 13 consecutive.
Alabama allowed Auburn to score 44 second half points in the loss. In the second half of the last two contests (vs. LSU and at Auburn), the Tide has allowed a combined 101 points (50.5 points per game over the final 20 minutes).
Alabama was outrebounded, 37-30, on the night en route to the 74-55 defeat. Alabama falls to 2-9 this season when losing the battle of the boards.
ALABAMA-TENNESSEE - SERIES NOTES
Saturday's contest will mark the 143rd meeting in series history between to two schools, which stands as UA's fifth-most common opponent in program lore. The Crimson Tide owns a 76-66 edge in the all-time series, including wins in four of the last five meetings vs. the Volunteers. In fact, the Crimson Tide has won 12 of the last 17 games played between the teams.
UA owns an all-time record of 43-17 when playing Tennessee in Tuscaloosa, including a 26-8 mark at Coleman Coliseum. Furthermore, the Tide has won six of the last eight games played between the two teams.
Alabama has won four of the last five meetings. In fact, the Crimson Tide has a record of 12-5 vs. the Volunteers in the last 17 games played between the teams.
In seven previous meetings vs. Tennessee, Alabama head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-2.
The series began during 1913-14 campaign.
ALABAMA-TENNESSEE: A YEAR AGO
Alabama and Tennessee met three times last season, with the Tide capturing a pair of wins, including a victory in the quarterfinals of the 2013 SEC Tournament. It was the first time since the 1990-91 season that the rivals met three times in the same season.
Alabama defeated Tennessee, 68-65, in the first meeting of the year on Jan. 12, 2013 in Coleman Coliseum. Trevor Releford led the Crimson Tide with 15 points., all of which came after intermission The contest featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes in the back-and-forth affair. Trailing 55-52 with 4:53 remaining, the UA defense created some offense, as the Tide went on a 10-0 spurt to take a 62-55 lead. In the final five minutes of the game, Alabama had four steals, went 8-of-8 from the foul line and outscored the Volunteers 16-10 to clinch the victory.
Just two weeks later, on Jan. 26, 2013, Tennessee defeated Alabama, 54-53, at Thompson-Boling Arena. Releford once again led the Tide, as he collected team-highs of 18 points and five steals. The Tide held a 25-19 lead at halftime, but Tennessee shot 54.5 percent in the second half and outscored Alabama, 35-28, for the come-from-behind win. UA struggled to contain Tennessee on the boards, as the Vols outrebounded the Tide, 37-22. Vols guard Jordan McCrae had 17 points, four assists, and two blocks, all of which were team-highs. Forward Jarnell Stokes had a double-double with 15 points and 18 rebounds.
The final meeting between the squads came in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, on March 15, 2013, as Alabama defeated Tennessee, 58-48. Levi Randolph had 15 points and five rebounds to lead UA, while Releford had 14 and Nick Jacobs had a career-high 12 rebounds, to go along with six points and three blocks. The Crimson Tide opened up a close game with a 17-8 run early in the second half, turning a 33-33 game with 17:23 left into a 50-41 UA lead with 9:01 remaining. From there, UA played with poise, making timely shots and knocking down free throws to maintain a lead the rest of the way.
Alabama will begin a stretch of four road games in the next five contests when it travels to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. CT.
It will mark the first of two meetings between the Razorbacks and Crimson Tide this season. Next Wednesday's game will be the 56th meeting in series history, with the Razorbacks owning a slim 28-27 edge in the all-time series.
Alabama own a record of 6-16 when playing Arkansas in Fayetteville. However, the Tide captured a 79-68 victory over the Razorbacks in Bama's last trip to Bud Walton Arena. That win snapped a six-game losing streak at Arkansas.
UA head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-2 when his teams have faced Arkansas.
Forty-five of the 56 games played in the series have come as conference opponents.
Alabama was won four straight games against Arkansas, including claiming wins in five of the last six games played between the two schools.
The Crimson Tide is 3-1 in overtime contests against Arkansas. All four overtime games have come within the last nine seasons.
The series began during 1947-48 campaign.
DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS
Alabama is 9-3 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-8 away from home, which includes an 0-3 mark in neutral site games.
In its 12 home games, the Tide is shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 39.7 percent shooting from the floor and 25.6 percent from deep.
Below is a breakdown of key numbers on the road and at home this season.
OPP OPP OPP
PPG PPG FG% FG% 3FG% 3FG%
HOME 73.8 63.1 .485 .409 .377 .318
AWAY 63.9 73.7 .397 .435 .256 .279
HALE MAKING IT RAIN
Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last 10 contests.
After seeing limited action over his first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is second on the team points (11.9 ppg) and rebounds (4.2 rpg) per game in the last 10 games, while connecting 48.2 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent from deep.
Hale has been even more impressive during SEC play, as he has reached double figures in six of UA's seven league games. He ranks third among SEC freshmen in scoring average (12.7 ppg). He set a career-high with 17 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute of play, in the win over LSU (1/25).
Below is a breakdown of Hale's numbers from his first 10 games to his last 10:
GP-GS MPG PPG RPG FG% 3FG%
First 10 gms 9-0 11.1 2.7 2.2 .321 .286
Last 10 gms 10-9 26.7 11.9 4.2 .482 .382
RANDOLPH NAMED FIRST TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT AGAIN
Junior guard Levi Randolph was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 4 First Team as selected by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the organization announced on Jan. 30.
With the nod, Randolph becomes the first Alabama player in program history to earn academic all-district first team honors in back-to-back seasons. He is now eligible for Academic All-America honors, which will be chosen in February - an honor that no Alabama player has ever received.
A native of Madison, Ala., Randolph maintains a 3.45 GPA as a marketing major and has been named to the Dean's List in three out of four semesters (3.1 GPA or better). He is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient and is on pace to earn his undergraduate degree in August of 2014.
On the court, the 6-5, 205-pound guard has been equally as impressive. Coming into Saturday's Tennessee game, Randolph is second on the team in rebounding (4.1 rpg), third in scoring (9.2 ppg), steals (15) and minutes (30.3 mpg) and fourth in assists (1.6 apg). He has played in 88 consecutive games since stepping foot on campus.
SEC HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Alabama's victory over LSU on Jan. 25 gave the Tide its 15th win in its last 16 home games against SEC foes.
Since Grant's arrival in 2009, Alabama owns a home record of 30-6 (.833) against SEC competition. Since 2011, the Tide boasts a 26-2 (.929) mark at home against the conference, with both losses coming against Florida.
HOME SWEET HOME
Now in his fifth season at UA, Grant has a record of 61-15 (.803) on Alabama's home floor. This season, the Tide is 9-3 at home and has outscored teams by an average of 10.7 points a game (73.8-63.1).
Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 57 of the last 67 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (57-10; .851).
Overall, Alabama owns a record of 526-119 (.818) in the facility's 47th season of use.
Grant also led UA to 24 straight home victories that spanned the final home game of the 2009-10 season through the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
The Alabama bench has been a weapon throughout the season. In fact, the Tide's reserves has outscored its counterparts in 17 of the 20 games this season, including 13 straight occurrences.
For the season, the Alabama bench is averaging 21.6 points a game, outscoring the opposition by 7.4 points per contest (21.6-14.2).
TOO MUCH CHARITY AT CHARITY STRIPE
Part of the reason for the Tide's struggles on the road is a result of the number of free throw attempts it gives up to league opponents, especially during SEC play.
In three road league contests this season, Alabama has given up 106 combined free throws (35.3 per game). In fact, UA has been outscored from the free throw line by 34 points (UA is 44-of-65, opponents are 78-of-106) in SEC road contests thus far.
It's a problem that has plagued the Tide all year. In eight road contests, Alabama is yielding 29.5 free throw attempts to the opposition per road game (235 total).
According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 2 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference strength of schedule.
The Tide finished the non-conference schedule with seven losses. The teams that Alabama lost to in non-league play have a combined record of 110-36 (.753) through games played as of Jan. 31 [Oklahoma, 17-4; Duke, 17-4; Drexel, 11-9; USF, 11-10; Wichita State, 22-0; Xavier, 15-5; UCLA, 17-4].
Of the seven non-conference losses, five came against teams ranked among the top 40 RPI, according to KenPom.com. In fact, seven of the Tide's 11 losses this season have come against teams ranked among the top-40 RPIs in the nation.