Men's Basketball Game Notes: Middle Tennessee

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Sunday, November 24, 2002

Kenny Walker
Kenny Walker



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UPCOMING GAME:  MIDDLE TENNESSEE 
Monday, November 25, 2002
Coleman Coliseum (15,316)

TIP-OFF TIME: 7:00 p.m. CT

TICKETS: Available; $15 adults/$8 youth (age 15 & under)
At UA box office in Coleman Coliseum; or 205-348-BAMA; or http://www.rolltide.com/

TV: WVUA with Gary Harris (play-by-play) and Marcus Campbell (Color); ESPN FullCourt

UA WEEKLY TV: "Crimson Tide This Week" with host David Crane: Check local listings on CSS
"The Mark Gottfried Show" on CSS beginning in January with host Tom Roberts

RADIO: Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Tom Roberts (color)
WVUA (University of Alabama campus station), 90.7 FM 

INTERNET: Live audio of CTSN's radio broadcast is available on the internet on http://www.rolltide.com/; UA basketball is also featured on on http://www.markgottfried.com/ and http://www.crimsontradition.com/ (subscription site).

PROBABLE STARTERS

No.  4 AP/ No. 8 ESPN/USA Today ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (2-0 OVERALL, 0-0 SEC):

PF-35  Erwin Dudley       6-8, 260, SR, Uniontown
12.0 ppg/8.0 rpg

C- 42  Kenny Walker       6-9, 220, SR, Jacksonville, Florida
11.0 ppg/7.0 rpg

G- 05  Earnest Shelton    6-3, 205, SO, Memphis, Tennessee
4.0 ppg/1.5 rpg

G- 14  Terrance Meade     6-2, 190, SR, Scottsboro
9.5 ppg/4.0 rpg

G- 25  Mo Williams        6-1, 195, SO, Jackson, Mississippi
22.5 ppg/4.5 rpg/4.0 apg

Head Coach:  Mark Gottfried (Alabama, 1987)

 
MIDDLE TENNESSEE BLUE RAIDERS (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Sun Belt)

F- 03  William Pippen     6-8, 210, SR, Hamburg, Ark./Conner St.JC
7 ppg/6 rpg

F- 32  Tommy Gunn         6-3, 215, JR, Syracuse, New York
14 ppg/4 rpg

C- 40  Napoleon Rhodes    6-8, 240, JR, Ocala, Fla./Central Florida JC
4 ppg/5 rpg

G- 12  Marcus Robinson    6-2, 185, JR, Newnan, Ga./Grayson Co. JC
5 ppg/2 rpg/2 apg

PG-01  Keith Connor       6-0, 185, JR, Pflugerville, Texas
10 ppg/3 rpg/1 apg

Head Coach:    Kermit Davis, Jr. (Mississippi State, 1982)

ALABAMA HEAD COACH MARK GOTTFRIED: 152-74 (.673%) in 7 complete seasons overall, 84-49 (.632%) in 5th season (4 completed) at Alabama; 2002 SEC Coaches & AP SEC "Coach of the Year";  three total NCAA tournament appearances, one at Alabama (2002, 2nd round), 2 (1997 & 1998) at Murray State; 3 NIT appearances (1996 at MSU, 1999 & 2001 at UA); One SEC Championship (2002) at Alabama; three conference championships at Murray State;  Four 20-win seasons (out of 7) as a head coach; Assistant for UCLA's 1995 NCAA Champions team; three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances as a UA player 1985-86-87; Academic All-SEC  as a player at Alabama...Born January 20, 1964 in Crestline, Ohio.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE HEAD COACH KERMIT DAVIS:  71-49  (.592%) in four complete seasons; 0-1 in 1st season at Middle Tennessee; 1989 Big Sky Coach of the Year; 1989 & 1990 Big Sky Regular season & tournament champions as head coach at Idaho; 1989 & 1990 NCAA tournament; Head Coaching stints also include Texas A&M (1990-91), Southwest Junior College (1984-86) & Chipola JC (1993-94); Head coach at Idaho in 1988-90 and 1996-97; Associate head coach at LSU (1997-02). Mississippi St. grad.

KEY GAME NOTES:

  • Tide is amidst a 20-game home win streak
  • Alabama leads series 4-0; last meeting was in 1997
  • Game giveaway is a 2002-03 magnetic schedule 

Crimson Tide Hosts Blue Raiders Monday Night

The No. 4 ranked (Nov. 18 AP poll) University of Alabama men's basketball team, 2-0, will play host to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 0-1, on Monday, November 25 in Tuscaloosa.

Tip-off in Coleman Coliseum (15,316 capacity) is set for 7 p.m. CT.

Tickets Available

Tickets are available for Monday night's game against Middle Tennessee. Tickets for all Alabama's home games are on sale at the Athletic Ticket Box Office in Coleman Coliseum 1-877-TIDETIX  (877-843-3849) or 205-348-BAMA (2262), or on the Crimson Tide's official website, http://www.rolltide.com/.

Ticket prices are $15 adults/$8 youth for non-conference home games (those games include Middle Tennessee, UNC-Greensboro, St. Bonaventure, Providence, Morehead State and Xavier) and $17 adults/$8 youth for Southeastern Conference home games. Alabama's 2003 SEC home games include Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kentucky, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina. There is a handling fee for phone and internet orders.

Tickets for the January 25, 2003 Kentucky game and February 15, 2003 Auburn game are available only as part of a "flex" package for $32 which includes one ticket to Kentucky OR one ticket to Auburn and one ticket to any other NON-SEC game. If any tickets remain, single tickets for the Kentucky and Auburn games will go on sale on January 2, 2003.

All Tide games are broadcast on the radio on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart and Tom Roberts calling the action. Fans can listen locally on 105.5 in Tuscaloosa or 99.5 in Birmingham.

Former Tide Player Will Be In TV Broadcast Seat

CSS was originally set to broadcast Monday night's game but a scheduling conflict the network discovered late last week caused a cancellation of carrying the Alabama-Middle Tennessee basketball game.

In stepped WVUA-TV in Tuscaloosa as the originator and the ESPN's FullCourt package to pick up the broadcast.  WVUA sports director Gary Harris will handle the play-by-play calling and former Tide forward Marcus Campbell will handle color commentary.

Fans should consult their local cable systems for access to ESPN FullCourt if the game is not otherwise available.

Marcus Campbell, who is on the broadcast team for the telecast, helped Alabama win three Southeastern Conference  tournament titles in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and make three NCAA tournament trips those same years, including the Sweet 16 both his junior and senior seasons. Following his Alabama playing career, Campbell took his game to Europe where he played 10 seasons on teams in Holland, France, and, for eight of those seasons, Belgium.

One of Campbell's old Tide teammates, Philip Pearson, is on Alabama's bench as assistant coach. His other teammates have included many an NBA player, including Michael Ansley, Keith Askins, David Benoit, Robert Horry, Marcus Webb, James Robinson, and Latrell Sprewell. Still others, like Campbell, made a great success playing overseas, including Melvin Cheatum.

Home Win Streak Grows by One

The Tide has won its last 20 home games. The streak dates to the final two games of the 2001 season and includes Alabama's 17-0 record at home in 2002. The last team to beat Alabama at home was Arkansas (66-63) in February of 2001.

Alabama's 82-56 win in Coleman Coliseum against Alabama State on Friday night, November 22, moved the streak to No. 3 all-time at Alabama. Alabama won 20 straight from the second game of 1994 through the seventh game of 1995.

The school's home win streak record is 22 straight games, from the last three games of 1971 through the first six games of 1973. To reach that 22 games, Alabama will have to beat, in order Middle Tennessee (Nov. 25) and UNC Greensboro (Dec. 3) to tie that record. To set the record, it would have to win those games and then defeat St. Bonaventure on December 7.

Game Marks 5th Meeting Between Two Teams

Monday night's game between Alabama and Middle Tennessee marks the fifth meeting between these two schools in men's basketball. Alabama leads the series 4-0. None of the players on either of these teams were a part of any of those past meetings.

The last time these two teams played one another was the 1996-97 season. Though you can drive from one campus to the other in about four hours, the two teams last tangled in Fairbanks, Alaska at the Top of the World Classic. It was Middle Tennessee that Alabama defeated (77-74) in the third and final game there to go a perfect 3-0 in the tournament and win its championship.

Here are the series results:

1976    W   76-62     Home
1979    W   89-66     Neutral   (Birmingham)
1983    W   103-58    Home
1997    W   77-74     Neutral   (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Fans Will Recognize Face Leading MTSU Bench

If the face of the man who leads the Blue Raiders looks familiar to fans watching Monday night's game between Alabama and Middle Tennessee, it will because he's been in that facility as both a coach and a player.

Blue Raider head coach Kermit Davis played at Mississippi State (a JUCO transfer) and was Associate Head Coach at LSU from 1997-02. His MTSU associate coach Donnie Tyndall was also on John Brady's staff at LSU for a time, including the 2000 SEC Championship. Davis graduated from Mississippi State in 1982. He is the son of former Mississippi State head coach Kermit Davis, Sr., and coached with former Chicago Bulls head coach Tim Floyd when Floyd was at Idaho as well as Iowa State head coach Larry Eustachy when Eustachy was at Utah State.

Bama 2-0, Blue Raiders 0-1 Going into Game

Both teams are in the infant stages of the 2002-03 season schedule. Alabama is 2-0 with a 68-62 season opening win against Oklahoma in the AT&T Wireless Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York and a 82-56 win against Alabama State in Tuscaloosa on November 22.

Mo Williams led both wins, scoring 25 points against the Sooners and 20 points against the Hornets, giving him a 22.5 points per game average. Alabama's latest win was also led by Terrance Meade who scored 17 points and had six rebounds in 26 minutes of play, and Erwin Dudley who had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Middle Tennessee played its season opener on Friday night but was nipped in a close game 65-63 (halftime it led 343-32). John Humprhey came off the bench to lead the Blue

Raider scoring. He scored 16 points and had a team-leading 7 rebounds. Also scoring in double digits were Tommy Gunn with 14 points and Keith Connor with 10 points.

It's Birthday Week for Two on Tide Team    

Two members of the Tide basketball team will turn a year older by mid-week. Junior guard Demetrius Smith of Hogansville, Ga., will turn 21 on Tuesday, November 26 and Tide assistant coach Orlando Early will turn 35 on Wednesday, November 27.

Bama's Home Opener Record Holds Steady

This past Friday night marked Alabama's home opener. The 82-56 win against Alabama State brought Alabama's home opening night record to 35-1 and extended the home opener win streak to nine games.

Williams Has Led All Four Games

This season Alabama has played two exhibition games and two regular season games, and in all, the man with the most points at the end has been sophomore point guard Mo Williams.

The Jackson, Miss. native scored 34 points in the November 1 exhibition game against EA Sports then scored 31 against Athletes in Action in exhibition play on November 7. He scored 25 against Oklahoma in the official opener on November 14 and 20 in the November 22 game against Alabama State. He's averaging 22.5 points officially. If you added in the exhibition totals, he'd be averaging 27.5 points.

Lots of Former Tide Stars in Crowd Last Friday Night

Among the nearly 10,000 fans who skipped the Auburn football game pep rally and parade to come to Coleman Coliseum to watch the basketball team play were former Tide head coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member C.M. Newton, three-time SEC Champion Melvin Cheatum, former Tide guard Tarik London, and, doing the color commentary on the CSS television broadcast, Bryan Passink.

Coming to the game immediately from the football pep rally was former Tide football star Bobby Humphrey with his family in tow.

Thanksgiving Will Find Tide In Springfield, Mass.

Next up (following Monday night's game) for the Crimson Tide is a trip to Springfield, Mass., where the team will play in the Basketball Hall of Fame's Tip-Off Classic.

It's a one-game event where Alabama and Ohio State are the marquee event. ESPN will televise the game. Tip-off is 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET.

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame recently moved into a new building late this summer. Alabama's players and travel party will tour the museum after practice on Thanksgiving day and then cap the evening with a team Thanksgiving dinner.

Georgia Game Time Change            

Tip-off for the February 18 Georgia game will now be at 8 p.m. CT for the ESPN game.

Attendance On the Rise

About four thousand more fans have come to view the Tide in person this season than at this point last season.

Last season through the first two exhibition games and home opener, the total attendance count was 20,761.

Through two exhibition games and Friday night's home opener, this season's home attendance total is 24,120.

When Alabama opened the 2002-03 season at home against Mississippi Valley State last season, the paid fan count at that game was 5,379. Alabama's home opener this season against Alabama State drew 9,316.

Walker Gets 1st Dunk of Season

Tide senior center/forward Kenny Walker recorded the first dunk of the 2002-03 season for the Crimson Tide when he dunked the ball into the bucket with 7:30 remaining in the Alabama State game. It was the Jacksonville, Fla., native's 17th career dunk at Alabama.

Preseason Publications Like the Tide

Alabama and its players have been ranked high in national and conference honors in preseason basketball publications and polls. Here are some samples:

ATHLON:  Sweet 16 in NCAA Tournament; Dudley 1st team All-America; Dudley 1st team and Mo Williams 2nd team all-SEC; Mo Williams is No. 8 in its pick of the Top 10 Floor leaders; Erwin Dudley is ranked first nationally in its pick of leading Post Men; and Tide assistant coach Orlando Early is ranked fourth among Assistants to watch

BASKETBALL NEWS:  Erwin Dudley 1st team all-America; Dudley 1st team All-SEC; SEC Player of the Year Erwin Dudley; Mo Williams 17th nationally in list of Playmakers; Erwin Dudley 1st in national list of "Bangers"; Bama's Front Court ranked 1st in Best of Best front courts; Bama ranked 5th in Best of the Best Starters.

ESPN:  No. 11 ranking; Erwin Dudley 2nd Team All-Rolls Roycers; Curry Kirkpatrick says: "one of two previously obscure yet massive talents, Erwin Dudley from Alabama or David West from Xavier, could wind up as Player of the Year."

LINDY'S:  Alabama Sweet 16; Dudley 1st team All-SEC; Dudley SEC Player of the Year; Williams 14th nationally among Point Guards; Dudley 2nd nationally among Power Forwards; Dudley SEC Top Rebounder

SPORTING NEWS:  Dudley 1st Team All-American; Williams & Dudley 1st team All-SEC; Williams 5th nationally among all Point Guards; Dudley 2nd nationally among all power forwards; Dudley SEC's best rebounder; Williams SEC's Best Playmaker

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:  No. 8 preseason; Refers to Erwin Dudley as "Lord of the Boards" in its November 25 basketball preview issue.

STREET & SMITH'S:  Beast of the East (national tournament predictions) Alabama; Dudley 1st team All-America; Dudley All-SEC 1st team; Mo Williams Best Passer in SEC

COLLEGEINSIDER.COM:  Dudley 1st team All-America

FOXSPORTS.COM:  Williams 8th best Point Guard in nation; Dudley 2nd best Power Forward in Nation

DICK VITALE'S ALL-ROLLS ROYCE TEAM: Dudley 2nd team

NATIONAL PREDICTIONS:

Sports Illustrated: No. 8; Street & Smith's: 10th; Basketball News: 21st; Sporting News: 4th; Lindy's: 4th; United States Basketball Writers Association: 6th; Collegeinsider.com: 6th; ESPN Magazine: No. 11; ESPN.com: 13th; CBS Sportsline.com: 4th ; Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook: 7th; Slam Magazine: 10th; Basketball Time in Tennessee: 10th; ACC Basketball Handbook: 7th; ESPN.Com Bracketology: 3rd; FoxSports.com: 4th

SEASON NOTES TO KEEP ON PACE:

Dudley Chases Career Starts Record

Erwin Dudley has 102 career starts at Alabama. Dudley has started in every game Alabama has played in since he arrived four years ago.  At R.C. Hatch High School, the Uniontown native's alma mater, he also started in every career game. That means he has now started in 182 consecutive games between high school and college.

Dudley should set Alabama's all-time career starts this season. Eddie Phillips, 1979-82, holds Alabama's career starts record at 121. Robert Horry is 10th on the top 10 list at 108 and is Dudley's hurdle to crack the top 10.

Senior Class Has 67 Wins

Alabama's senior class of Kenny Walker,Terrance Meade and Erwin Dudley have been starters together since their freshman year in 2000. 

In the past two seasons this class has won 54 games and they've won 67 since they were freshmen. Alabama's records with this class are: 13-16 in 2000, 25-11 in 2001,  27-8 in 2002, and 2-0 in 2003. They are 46-4 in Coleman Coliseum during their careers at Alabama. They were 11-3 at home in 2000 (freshmen), 17-1 in 2001 (sophomore) and 17-0 at home as juniors.