Nov. 13, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will host Texas Tech on Thursday at 8 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum in the inaugural game of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The contest, which will be televised on ESPN2, will be the Crimson Tide's first regular season home game of the 2013-14 season.
The contest between Alabama and Texas Tech on Thursday night will be Military Appreciation Night. All current and past military members will receive free admission with a military ID, while additional family members will pay only $5 at the gate.
Thursday night's contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2, with Dave LaMont (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. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter (@AlabamaMBB).
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant begins his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. He owns an 86-53 (.619) record during his time at the Capstone and is 162-78 (.675) in seven seasons as a head coach. Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith is in his first season with the Red Raiders. Now in his 23rd season as a head coach, Smith owns a career record of 513-226 (.694).
NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
Junior Algie Key scored 20 points in his Alabama debut in the loss to Oklahoma. The last Crimson Tide player to score 20 or more points in his first game at UA was Alvin Lee who scored 21 points in Alabama's season-opener his freshman year on Nov. 27, 1987 against New Mexico State.
Alabama and Texas Tech will be playing the inaugural game of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. All 10 of the Big 12's teams and 10 of the SEC's 14 member institutions will participate in the annual event. The next games in the series will take place Dec. 2 when Vanderbilt plays at Texas and Auburn travels to face Iowa State.
UA has a record of 42-4 when playing its first home game of the season at Coleman Coliseum. That number dates back to the first-ever game played at the venue, which opened on Feb. 1, 1968 (won 86-65 vs. Samford). The four losses have come against Cornell in 2009, Mercer in 2008, Chattanooga in 1993 and La Salle in 1979.
Alabama has not opened a season with two consecutive losses since doing so at the beginning of the 1999-2000 campaign. That season, the Tide dropped back-to-back contests to Northern Iowa (74-73) and at Saint Louis (78-70) to begin the year.
Alabama is coming off an 82-73 season-opening loss to Oklahoma in Dallas at the Buckets and Boots Showcase. The Tide was led by junior Algie Key who scored 20 points in his UA collegiate debut.
The Tide returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last season's 23-13 squad that finished tied for second in the SEC (12-6).
Five of the top seven scorers return from last year's NIT quarterfinal team, led by First Team All-SEC and All-District performer in senior guard Trevor Releford. The Kansas City, Mo., native topped the Crimson Tide last season in scoring (14.9 ppg), steals (2.1 spg), three-point field goal percentage (.407) and minutes (33.2) per game.
Junior guard Rodney Cooper returns as the team's second-leading returning scorer after averaging 10.2 points per game a year ago. He also led the team in rebounding with 4.5 boards per contest.
Other top players from last season include junior guard Levi Randolph (8.1 ppg and 4.2 rpg), junior forward Nick Jacobs (7.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and sophomore guard Retin Obasohan (3.9 ppg and 3.1 rpg).
Junior center Carl Engstrom, who received a medical redshirt last season, has recovered from a knee injury he suffered early last year and will supply added depth to the post players
ALABAMA-TEXAS TECH: THE SERIES
Alabama and Texas Tech will meet for the second consecutive season and for the eighth time in series history when the teams play on the hardwood Thursday night.
The Tide owns an all-time record of 6-1 and have won four straight in the series between the two teams, including winning 66-62 last season in Lubbock, Texas (box score on pg. 7).
This will be the second time in series history that Texas Tech will play Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The only other meeting came in the first contest between the schools back on Dec. 15, 1962. The Tide won that game, 62-57.
Alabama will begin play in the NIT Season Tip-Off when it hosts Stillman on Monday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. CT at Coleman Coliseum.
Monday will be the first day of the four-team pod, with Georgia State and McNeese State playing the opening game at 4:30 p.m. at Coleman Coliseum.
The winning teams and the losing teams of the first round will then meet on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Regardless of Monday's outcome, Alabama will play in the 7 p.m. game on Tuesday.
ABOUT THE BIG 12/SEC CHALLENGE
Over the summer, the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference agreed to play in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, a men's basketball inter-conference event that will begin this season.
All 10 of the Big 12's teams and 10 of the SEC's 14 member institutions will participate in the annual event. Arkansas, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee will not play in the first year. ESPN will provide exclusive coverage of all 10 games across it networks.
Eight of the 10 games in the 2013 event will be played at home sites (each conference has four home games) and two matchups will be at neutral sites.
The inaugural Big 12/SEC Challenge (the event title will rotate to SEC/Big 12 Challenge in 2014) is a combination of existing games already scheduled along with new matchups created for this event during November and December.
Junior guard Algie Key made quite the Alabama debut last Friday night vs. Oklahoma. The Decatur, Ga., native finished the night with 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor.
Key's 20 points were the most points scored by an Alabama player in his debut since Alvin Lee scored 21 points as a true freshman on Nov. 27, 1987 vs. New Mexico State.
ALABAMA VS. THE BIG 12
UA is 30-22 all-time against current members of the Big 12.
Head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 4-5 when facing Big 12 teams during his head coaching career.
Thursday's match-up marks the second consecutive Big 12 opponent for Alabama after facing Oklahoma last Friday night.
ALABAMA BASKETBALL TIDBITS
Over the last three years, Anthony Grant teams boast a record of 48-7 (.873) when playing at Coleman Coliseum.
The last time an Alabama basketball team began a season with two losses came during the 1999-2000 campaign.
The Crimson Tide will open the season against back-to-back Big 12 opponents. It marks the first time in the modern era that has occurred.
Alabama leads all SEC men's basketball teams and ranks among the top 10 percent of all Division I men's hoops programs in the NCAA Academic Progress Report (APR).
Since 2000, Alabama has graduated 39 of 40 men's basketball seniors (97 percent).
Last season, Alabama ranked 31st in the nation in average attendance (11,159).
Since his arrival, Alabama owns a home record of 27-6 (.818) against SEC competition, including a 23-2 (.920) mark in the past three years alone.
ALABAMA MILESTONES TO WATCH
Should Alabama hit a three-pointer vs. Texas Tech, it will mark the 100th straight game the Tide has connected on at least one trey in a contest.
Trevor Releford needs five steals to earn his 200th career takeaway (195). In doing so, he would become the first person in program history to record 1,300 points (1,311), 300 assists (300) and 200 steals.
Releford needs two points to move past Charles Cleveland (1,312) into 25th on the school's all-time scoring list. In fact, with 17 points, he can move all the way up to 20th on the list, currently held by former great Richard Hendrix (1,327).
Junior Nick Jacobs needs 26 points to reach 500 points in his career (474).
Junior Levi Randolph needs 15 rebounds to reach 300 career boards (285).
Anthony Grant is 14 wins shy of winning his 100th game at Alabama. He is only 11 games from coaching his 150th game with the Crimson Tide, which will come at UCLA on Dec. 28.
ALABAMA IN HOME SEASON OPENERS
Alabama will be playing its home opener on Thursday night and hopes to have history on its side.
The Tide has a record of 42-4 when playing its first home game of the season at Coleman Coliseum. That number dates back to the first-ever game played at Coleman Coliseum (won 86-65 vs. Samford on Feb. 1, 1968).
The four season-opening home losses have come against Cornell in 2009, Mercer in 2008, Chattanooga in 1993 and La Salle in 1979.