Nov. 26, 2013
NEW YORK CITY - The Alabama men's basketball team will face No. 6/5 Duke in the semifinals of the 2013 NIT Season Tipoff on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 9:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. CT) at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The contest will follow the first semifinal game of the day between No. 5/3 Arizona and Drexel, which is set to tip off at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT).
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Alabama, the No. 3 seed and South Region host, advanced to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tipoff by defeating Stillman, 102-65, and Georgia State, 75-58, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Second-seeded Duke advanced to Madison Square Garden by defeating UNC Asheville (91-55) and East Carolina (83-74) in the East Region in Durham, N.C.
The Alabama-Duke game will be televised on ESPN2, with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Bob Knight (analyst) and Andy Katz (reporter) 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 is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. He owns an 89-53 (.627) record during his time at the Capstone and is 165-78 (.679) in eight seasons as a head coach. Duke head coach Mike Krzyewski is in his 34th season with the Blue Devils and owns a record of 889-239 (.788). Now in his 39th season as a head coach, the Hall of Famer is 962-298 (.763) overall.
Alabama is riding a three-game winning streak following a 75-58 victory over Georgia State on Nov. 19. Trevor Releford led all scorers with 19 points, while Retin Obasohan had a career-high 18 points.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.0 points per game. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 59.5 percent (25-of-42) of his shots from the floor and is shooting a team-best 50.0 percent (11-of-22) from beyond the arc.
Obasohan is second on the team with 15.5 ppg and tops UA with 2.8 steals and 2.5 assists per contest. Junior Levi Randolph (11.3 ppg) and Algie Key (10.3) are also averaging double figures in the early going. Key has connected on 15-of-19 from the floor and leads the team in field goal percentage (.789).
As a team, Alabama is shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is also outrebounding the competition through its first four games by 7.8 rebounds a game (38.0-30.3) and outscoring foes by 14.3 points a game (81.5-67.2).
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).
ALABAMA-DUKE: THE SERIES
Alabama and Duke will meet for the ninth time in series history when the two teams square off in the NIT semifinals. However, Wednesday night's contest will mark the first meeting between the squads since Dec. 13, 1986.
The Blue Devils own a 7-1 lead in the all-time series and have won six straight games over the Crimson Tide.
Of the eight meetings between the two teams, six have come on a neutral floor, with Duke winning five of the six contests.
ALABAMA VS. TOP-10 TEAMS
Alabama will be playing its first top-10 opponent of the season when it takes on Duke Wednesday night.
The Tide has a record of 32-98 when playing an opponent ranked among the top-10 in the Associated Press top-25 poll.
Furthermore, Alabama is 13-50 when playing a team ranked in the AP's top five.
The last time an Alabama team defeated a top-10 opponent came on Feb, 18, 2006 when the Tide defeated then-No. 8 Tennessee, 92-79.
The last time Alabama captured a victory over a top-10 foe on the road came when it defeated then-No. 1 Stanford, 70-67, on March 20, 2004 in the NCAA Tournament (Seattle, Wash.).
ALABAMA RETURNS TO THE MECCA
Alabama is becoming a regular in Madison Square Garden considering this year's appearance marks the third time in the last four years that UA will play for a tournament title in the Mecca Of Basketball.
The Tide competed for the NIT postseason championship 2011, falling in the championship game to Wichita State. Last year, UA won the 2K Sports Classic championship in the Garden, defeating both Oregon State and Villanova.
Wednesday's contest will be the 23rd game Alabama has played in the historic venue in program history.
In all, UA has a record of 11-11 when playing at Madison Square Garden, including a record of 3-1 under head coach Anthony Grant.
Below is a complete breakdown of every game Alabama has played in MSG.
Date Opponent W/L Score Event
3/19/73 Manhattan W 87-86 NIT
3/22/73 Minnesota W 69-65 NIT
3/24/73 Virginia Tech L 73-74 NIT
3/25/73 #11 North Carolina L 69-88 NIT
12/6/75 Providence W 71-67
3/13/76 #5 North Carolina W 79-64 NCAA
3/18/76 #1 Indiana L 69-74 NCAA
3/17/77 Houston L 76-82 NIT
3/20/77 Villanova L 89-102 NIT
3/19/79 Purdue L 68-87 NIT
3/21/79 Ohio State W 96-86 NIT
3/14/81 St. John's W 73-69 NIT
3/26/96 St. Joseph's LOT 69-74 NIT
3/28/96 Tulane L 76-87 NIT
3/27/01 Detroit W 74-63 NIT
3/29/01 Tulsa L 60-79 NIT
11/15/05 Miami (Ohio) W 64-58 Pre. NIT
11/17/05 #12 Memphis L 76-87 Pre. NIT
3/29/11 Colorado W 62-61 NIT
3/31/11 Wichita State L 57-66 NIT
11/15/12 Oregon State W 65-62 2K Classic
11/16/12 Villanova W 77-55 2K Classic
REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS
Alabama is competing in its 87th regular-season tournaments in program history in this year's NIT Season Tipoff. The Tide has captured 32 titles while compiling an overall record of 136-73 (.615).
It's the second time that Alabama has competed in the NIT Season Tipoff. The only other occurrence came in 2005, when the Tide went 1-1 in the event, defeating Miami (Ohio), before falling to Memphis.
Including the three victories in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2011, the four wins in the 2012 2K Sports Classic and the two wins in this year's NIT Season Tipoff, the Crimson Tide has won nine consecutive games in regular-season tournament play.
ENJOYING THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant has a record of 23-6 during the month of November since his arrival at the Capstone in 2009.
In the past three seasons alone (2011-pr.), the Crimson Tide owns a record of 16-1 in November, with the lone loss coming in this year's season-opener against Oklahoma (lost 82-73 on Nov. 8).
PUTTING UP THE POINTS
For the first time since the 2007-08 campaign, Alabama has scored more than 70 points in each of its first four games to begin the season.
Should the Tide score over 70 points against Duke, it will mark the first time since the 2004-05 season that it has accomplished the feat through the first five contests of the year.
Redshirt sophomore Retin Obasohan picked up right where he left off last season.
Obasohan set a career high with 14 points vs. Stanford in the second round of last year's NIT (3/23/13). In fact, over his final 12 games a year ago, the Antwerp, Belgium, native averaged 6.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
In each of his four games this season, Obasohan has either matched or set his career-best scoring total. Most recently, he finished with a career-best 18 points in the win over Georgia State (11/19).
Obasohan began the year with a career-high tying 14 points against Oklahoma on Nov. 8. He followed that with a career-high 15 points vs. Texas Tech on Nov. 14. Against Stillman on Nov. 18, Obasohan finished with a career-best tying 15 points.
For the year, Obasohan is second on the team with 15.5 ppg, while shooting 52.6 percent from the floor and 77.8 percent from the charity stripe. In addition, he also leads Alabama in steals (2.7), assists (2.5) and minutes (30.3) per game.
MOVING ON UP
Guard Trevor Releford comes into the NIT Season Tipoff with 1,371 career points, which places him 20th on the school's all-time scoring list.
The Kansas City, Mo., native is 24 points away from surpassing Mike Nordholz (1966-68) into 19th place on the school's all-time scoring list. In addition, the Bob Cousy Award Watch List honoree needs 29 points to become the 19th player in program history to reach 1,400 points in his career.
Last season, Releford became the 46th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, doing so in just 82 contests.
Below is a list of where Releford currently ranks among the all-time scoring leaders at Alabama:
Player Years Points
17. Ken Johnson 1978-81 1,451
18. George Linn 1953-56 1,444
19. Mike Nordholz 1966-68 1,394
20. Trevor Releford 2010-pr. 1,371
Junior guard Algie Key made quite the Alabama debut vs. Oklahoma on Nov. 8. 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.
Through Alabama's two games, Key has connected on 15-of-19 field goals and leads the team in field goal percentage (78.9 percent), while ranking third in points per game (11.3).