Saturday, September 17, 2005
In what has become a trademark for Mark Gottfried-coached Crimson Tide teams, the University of Alabama will face one of the most challenging non-conference schedules in the nation in 2005-06, playing teams from the ACC, A-10, Big East and Big 12 Conferences in addition to its Southeastern Conference slate.
“I think our schedule will again be one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country,” said Gottfried who begins his eighth season at Alabama and has advanced the Tide to four straight NCAA postseason trips. “It’s similar to the last couple of years where we have scheduled a number of the top teams in the country. We will continue to be aggressive and play as tough a schedule as anyone in the country.”
Alabama will play in the Preseason NIT, opening against Miami-Ohio in Tuscaloosa on November 15. If Alabama wins that first-round game, on November 17 it would play the winner between Memphis, a team that advanced to the 2005 NIT semifinals and has two John R. Wooden candidates, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Sweet 16 team Alabama played in the 2005 NCAA tournament. The preseason NIT field also includes 2005 Sweet 16 team Duke and 2005 NCAA tournament team UCLA, among others. The semifinals and finals will be played at New York’s Madison Square Garden on November 23 (semifinals) and November 25 (finals).
“The preseason NIT will be a tremendous challenge. Miami-Ohio was the highest RPI team not to get in the NCAA tournament last season,” said Gottfried of the team that finished 39th in RPI and 18-10 overall.
Changes have been taking place at Coleman Coliseum during the offseason, and December 7 will be a big night for the Crimson Tide.
“We’ll play a nationally televised game against Notre Dame that will be a special night for us because that will be the night we have the dedication to our renovations at Coleman Coliseum,” said Gottfried whose team finished 24-8 in 2005.
Alabama will play 2005 NCAA Sweet 16 team N.C. State in Tuscaloosa on December 22, and it will travel for a return game against Basketball Hall of Fame member and coaching legend John Chaney at Temple on December 10. Alabama will ring in the New Year on ESPN with a New Year’s Eve game at Oklahoma, a 2005 NCAA tournament team that CBSsportsline.com has ranked No. 2 in its preseason ratings. And among the team’s coming to Tuscaloosa is Winthrop, a 2005 NCAA tournament team that returns its top eight players. Winthrop is the team that nearly knocked Gonzaga out of last year’s NCAA tournament.
The NCAA’s top rebounder for the past two seasons, Paul Milsap, will come to Tuscaloosa with his Louisiana Tech teammates for November 29 game. And Gottfried will coach against an old friend, his former Murray State assistant Tevester Anderson, who is now head coach at Jackson State. Jackson State comes to Tuscaloosa on December 27.
Alabama and Birmingham-Southern will play one another for the first time since 1968 when they face off in Tuscaloosa on January 2. And SEC teams headed to Tuscaloosa include Mississippi State (January 28), Auburn (Senior Night on March 1), Arkansas (January 18), LSU (February 4), Ole Miss (January 7), Florida (February 26), Tennessee (February 18) and Vanderbilt (February 8). Fans will be treated to a retro game on February 18 when it plays Tennessee as that’s been designated “SEC Throwback Weekend.” All teams will be playing games against one another wearing retro uniforms.
CBS will televise Alabama’s January 14 game at Kentucky and its home game against Florida while ESPN will air the Notre Dame, Temple, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Arkansas (on road) games.
Alabama will play an exhibition game on November 10. Details of that event will be released soon.
For ticket information, go to www.rolltide.com or www.markgottfried.com or call the University of Alabama Athletic Ticket Office at (205) 348-BAMA.