Aug. 18, 2011
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama men’s basketball team will face a challenging non-conference schedule in addition to the traditional Southeastern Conference slate, head coach Anthony Grant announced Thursday.
Fifteen home dates, plus a contest in Birmingham, Ala., highlight a schedule that features at least 15 contests against teams that finished 2010-11 ranked in the top 100 of the RPI.
“This is as strong of a non-conference schedule as Alabama has faced in recent years,” Grant said. “We’ll face a Final Four team in VCU, NCAA Tournament teams in Oakland, Georgetown, Kansas State and programs such as Dayton and Oklahoma State that advanced to the NIT. Plus there are seven other very good programs we could potentially face in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.”
The Crimson Tide’s home non-conference schedule is highlighted by a visit from VCU (Nov. 27), which advanced to the Final Four last season, and perennial Big East power Georgetown (Dec. 1). Off campus, Alabama will host Oklahoma State (Dec. 21) at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. The game, which is included in the Tide’s season-ticket package, will give fans in Birmingham the chance to cheer on UA in their backyard.
“Playing in Birmingham is good for us and our program,” Grant said. “It gives our fans in that area an opportunity to see us play a quality Big 12 opponent in Oklahoma State. We played them in Oklahoma City last year and are looking forward to playing them in Alabama this season.”
The team opens up the 2011-12 campaign at home on Nov. 11 against North Florida followed by a contest against Oakland on Nov. 14. The Golden Grizzlies advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season and also had a marquee win over Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.
Three games in Puerto Rico follow with the Tide opening up against Maryland on Nov. 17. The second game of the tipoff will come against either Colorado or Wichita State, both of which UA faced in the NIT final four last season. The final game on the island will come against either Temple, Iona, Western Michigan or Purdue.
Home games against in-state foe Alabama A&M (Nov. 23) and VCU close out the first month of the season. December begins with the Tide hosting Georgetown in the Big East/SEC Challenge on Dec. 1. The Tide’s first true road test comes on Dec. 7 when Grant returns to his alma mater, Dayton. UA then returns home to host Detroit on Dec. 11, before tackling final exams and traveling to Trevor Releford’s hometown of Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 17 to face Kansas State.
The 14-game non-conference schedule wraps up with the Oklahoma State game, a home date against Jacksonville (Dec. 29) and a visit to Georgia Tech (Jan. 3).
“The non-conference schedule presents a lot of different styles of play, challenges and road environments that will prepare us for the conference season,” Grant said.
SEC action begins Jan. 7 when the Tide plays at Georgia. UA’s home SEC opponents include all five Western Division foes as well as Vanderbilt, Florida and Tennessee from the Eastern Division. All 16 of the Tide’s SEC games will be televised with six carried by ESPN or ESPN2 and the Jan. 21 game at Kentucky being televised by CBS.
UA enters the season, its third under Grant, after posting a 25-12 record last season en route to an SEC Western Division title and an appearance in the NIT championship game.
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