Birmingham News September 23, 2008
Nothing like a little basketball news during the football season, right? The Alabama media relations department just released the 2008-09 basketball schedule. Some good stuff, particularly some good nonconference home games and a trip to Hawaii.
Here is the release:
Tide to Face One of Its Toughest Basketball Schedules in 2008-09
TUSCALOOSA - A tournament trip to the EA Sports Maui Invitational where six 2008 postseason teams are among the field, games against ACC powers Georgia Tech and Clemson, home games against NCAA tournament teams Texas A&M, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi State and a road schedule that includes stops at NCAA tournament teams Clemson, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State and NIT teams Florida and Ole Miss, highlight the University of Alabama's 2008-09 basketball schedule.
"We have again scheduled aggressively," said Alabama head basketball coach Mark Gottfried.
"I think that we will face one of the toughest schedules we have had here, and we have had some good ones. This schedule is a national schedule that is going to force us to step up. This group will be challenged early and often. It's a difficult schedule that includes great home games for our fans and tough games away from home. Although this team has a number of inexperienced players, I have no doubt that we will rise to the challenge. We are excited about facing this schedule head on."
Alabama will play 10 NCAA 2008 tournament teams for sure and another two teams who advanced to the NIT. The field at the November 24-26 EA Sports Maui Invitational finds Alabama opening its tournament play on November 24 against NCAA tournament team Oregon. It will play either NCAA Final Four team North Carolina or host team Chaminade the following day. The eight-team field there includes North Carolina and Elite 8 team Texas, as well as NCAA tournament teams Indiana, Notre Dame, Saint Joseph's and Oregon. All teams are guaranteed three games in the tournament, so Alabama will be playing a minimum of two and possibly three NCAA teams there. All of the games at the tournament will be televised by one of the ESPN networks. The Alabama vs. Oregon first-round game will be on ESPN2.
The Crimson Tide's non-conference home schedule is highlighted by a visit from Texas A&M from the Big 12 on Saturday, December 13 and a Saturday, January 3 home date with ACC foe Georgia Tech. Alabama will close out its non-conference schedule against another ACC team with a Tuesday, January 6 trip to Clemson. In what has become an Alabama scheduling trademark, the Tide's non-conference schedule finds it playing teams projected to be conference championship contenders this season, including Yale, Chattanooga, Lafayette and Alabama A&M.
Alabama opens its 2008-09 Southeastern Conference slate at home against LSU on January 11, one of two regular season meetings with the Tigers.
Most of Alabama's games will be televised. ESPN's family of networks will carry all of Alabama's games in Maui. In rare Thursday night league appearances for Alabama, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise Alabama's February 5 game at NCAA tournament team Vanderbilt as well as its January 29 road game at NCAA tournament team Arkansas.
When the Auburn Tigers come to Tuscaloosa for Senior Day for Ronald Steele, Alonzo Gee and Brandon Hollinger, ESPN's cameras will be there to televise that Tuesday, March 3 game.
CBS will televise Alabama's Sunday, March 8 regular season finale' at 2008 SEC Champions and NCAA Sweet 16 team Tennessee. FSN will televise the January 3 non-conference home game against Georgia Tech as well as the January 6 Clemson road game and the January 31 home date with defending SEC Tournament Champions and NCAA team, Georgia. Raycom Sports will televise Alabama's SEC opener against LSU, the January 24 home date with NCAA tournament team Kentucky, a Valentine's Day game at home against South Carolina, a February 21 home date with Mississippi State and the February 28 game at 2008 NIT team Ole Miss. CSS will pick up several of Alabama's other home games including the Texas A&M game, and Alabama's trip to Gainesville to play Florida will air on the Sunshine network (delayed).
Bama fans can get their first official game-type view of the 2008-09 team at the annual Crimson-White Scrimmage on Sunday, November 2 at 4 p.m. CT. Admission is free. The team splits in half and plays one another in a dress rehearsal for the season. It will mark the first time brothers Ronald and Andrew Steele have ever suited up and played on the same team with one another. Ronald Steele was an AP Preseason All-American in 2007.
The Tide will host two exhibition games featuring coaches with Alabama ties. On November 6 Alabama will host Faulkner University, a 2008 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament team coached by Jim Sanderson. Sanderson is the son of former Tide coach Wimp Sanderson. And on November 13, Gottfried's former Alabama and Murray State assistant, Tom Kelsey, will return as head coach, bringing his Belhaven team to Tuscaloosa for exhibition play.