TUSCALOOSA ?? The No. 18 ranked University of Alabama is ranked first in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division standings, a spot it hopes to keep. But immediately standing in the way is Mississippi State. Alabama, 17-5 overall and 4-4 in league play, hosts the Bulldogs, 12-9 overall and 3-5 in the SEC, Wednesday night. The first 1,000 ticketed fans through the doors will receive the 2007 edition of Alabama Basketball Trading Cards.
Tip-off in Coleman Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. CST. There is no live television for the game. The Alabama Cable Network will air the game, tape-delayed. Tickets are available for the game and can be purchase online through www.rolltide.com or at the athletic ticket box office at Coleman Coliseum. The ticket windows are open all day Wednesday.
“Mississippi State is coming off big win against LSU. I’m sure they are, like all of us, when you win a game you feel better and we do as well having won a couple,” said Alabama head basketball coach Mark Gottfried whose Tide team collected wins against LSU and South Carolina last week. “But we always have great games with Mississippi State. Rick’s (Stansbury) teams are well-coached and I’m sure they’ll be ready and, hopefully, our guys will be as well.
Gottfried says Mississippi State presents interesting match-ups for its opponents.
“I think Charles Rhodes, first of all, he’s a great player,” said Gottfried of the Bulldogs junior forward who is averaging 12.2 points and 6.0 rebounds. “And I think they’ve done a good job playing a smaller lineup at times. That always gives teams problems, especially those that have a pair of inside players like we do. They’ve done a good job with that small lineup, so I don’t know that there’s just one or two (key matchups). Jamont Gordon is a great player, too. I think he’s a hard match-up for everybody because of how strong and how quick he is. So I think you just look at all those things kind of together when you get ready to play them.”
Mississippi State is Alabama’s oldest college rival in basketball. This game marks the 176th meeting in a series that dates to 1913, Alabama’s first season of basketball. Since that time, Alabama has collected a 109 to 66 series wins lead, including a 70-13 record against the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has won three of the last four series games, though in 2006 the teams split with Alabama winning 65-59 in Tuscaloosa on January 28, 2006 but falling on the road 71-58 in Starkville on March 4, 2006.