TUSCALOOSA Mark Gottfried and the University of Alabama basketball team ring in the New Year with a six-game win streak and yet another Top 25 test Tuesday, January 1 at 3:30 p.m. CT when the Crimson Tide, 10-3, plays host to Clemson, 11-1.
Tickets to the game are available and can be purchased at the door the day of the game. Or they can be purchased in advance online, using the printout option, at Alabama’s official website, www.rolltide.com or by phone by calling 1-877-TIDETIX. For its next two games, Clemson and the January 4 Chicago State game, Alabama is continuing its special holiday ticket prices. Fans can buy four tickets to either of those games for a total of $20. Each additional ticket is just $5. Single game non-conference tickets sell for $12 for adults and $8 for kids 18 and under, making the family holiday special a great bargain.
Tuesday’s meeting between Alabama and Clemson is the first since Alabama beat Clemson in the 1990 San Juan Shootout. The teams are tied at 3-3 in the series that dates to 1930 and the Southern Conference Tournament in Atlanta. Clemson is the third Top 25 ranked team Alabama has faced this season as it has already played two teams that were ranked in the Top 10 on gameday, No. 5 Georgetown and No. 9 Texas A&M, both losses for the Tide whose last win against the Top 25 came last February with a home win against Kentucky. Clemson was ranked No. 21 in the December 24 AP poll and No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll.
“I think they are a terrific team. They’re strong and physical around the basket. They press a little bit like George Washington does but I think they do a better job with all that. They have some great shooters on the perimeter. So they’re a terrific team. They’ll be a great match-up,” said Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried of the Tigers whose lone loss this season came at the hands of Ole Miss 85-82 in tournament play. “I hope our fans can come out on Tuesday afternoon for this game because I think it’s going to be a great SEC-ACC showdown. They are a Top 25 ranked team. One thing about our crowd on Saturday night, I think they really appreciated how hard our kids are playing. They were diving on the floor. They’re taking away fast break baskets just by great hustle. And hopefully we can build on that. Hopefully that’s something our people will like.”
Alabama has won its last six games, including four straight to win the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Classic on December 23. Its latest win came on Saturday with a decisive 93-57 home win against George Washington, a team that has advanced to the last three NCAA tournaments.
The Clemson game marks the first of two games Alabama will play this week as it hosts Chicago State on January 4 at 7 p.m. The Tide is making its final tune-ups before it opens Southeastern Conference play at home on January 8 against two-time defending national champions, the Florida Gators.
“I think we are maturing,” said Gottfried. “We are getting a little bit better. What our team needs a little bit, too, which I think these last two or three games helps us in confidence. There early on you’re playing hard and sometimes you’re playing well. Sometimes you’re not shooting the ball well. But a couple of games there I was concerned just where we were mentally. We were unsure. We had one of those games in here early on, Southeastern Louisiana, we couldn’t make a basket. None. You don’t want your team ever to be cautious. You don’t want your team ever to not be a confident team. And I think now we’re building confidence. I think we’re building confidence in the team and the way we’re substituting in our rotation. The guys are coming in off the bench and doing a good job for us in keeping the intensity level high. We’re continuing to score when we go to the bench. So good things are happening right now for our team. It’s taken us a while to get here and we can obviously get a lot better but we are playing pretty well right now.”