The 2010-11 edition of Alabama men's basketball begins in earnest Friday evening as the Crimson Tide opens the regular season against Florida A&M in Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST following the Bama women's team's season opener against Tennessee State, which begins at 5 p.m.
Tickets for Friday's opener are $5 and can be purchased at www.rolltide.com
The Tide men of Coach Anthony Grant begin the new season with a pair of exhibition wins over Talladega and Alabama-Huntsville under its belt, but Friday will be its first taste of Division I competition.
"I think we learned a lot about our team in the two exhibition games and hopefully we can have some carry over in terms of the lessons learned and what we need to do to be effective," Grant said. "FAMU is a team that we don't know a whole lot about at this point in the season. They've got several guys returning and are a veteran team. We're looking forward to the challenge of getting the season started and playing against a quality opponent."
Florida A&M, under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Eugene Harris, recorded a 9-22 mark last year and returns eight players from 2009-10 while welcoming in group of newcomers that features five experienced junior-college transfers.
Offense wasn't an issue for the Rattlers in their lone exhibition as they cruised a to 105-76 win over Columbus State on Nov. 6. Seven players scored in double-figures in the win with top returning player Larry Jackson scoring a game-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
JaMychal Green is the Tide's top returning player and the junior averaged 16 points and 6.5 rebounds in the two exhibition contests. Freshman Trevor Releford led the team in scoring in both games and averaged 19.5 points and five assists in his first collegiate action. Should he start Friday as he did in both exhibitions, he will become just the fourth UA player to start at point guard in the team's opener joining Ennis Whatley, Mo Williams and Ronald Steele.
Following Friday's opener, the Tide will continue its non-conference schedule on Monday evening when it hosts Troy at 7 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum.
The women's basketball team, under the direction of third-year head coach Wendell Hudson, begins the 2010-11 regular season Friday by hosting Tennessee State. The Crimson Tide and Lady Tigers will tip off at 5 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum.
"The big thing that we're trying to do, especially with these early season games, is to concentrate on our team," Hudson said. "We have a style of up-tempo play that we want to use regardless of who our opponent is. We're going to scout and look at Tennessee State as a team, but what we really want to do is play the way we're going to play."
This meeting between Alabama and Tennessee State will be the seventh time the two schools have faced each other. The Tide has won all six previous meetings by an average of 42 points with the last taking place on March 4, 1995.
Alabama looks to improve on last season with a veteran starting lineup and a highly-regarded recruiting class. Amongst the Tide's returnees is senior Tierney Jenkins, who collected an SEC-best 11 double-doubles during the 2009-10 season increasing her collegiate total to 23. Last season, Jenkins passed Laura Vaughn for eighth all-time on the career rebounding list for Alabama. Also returning is junior Ericka Russell who had a breakout game last season against Georgia on March 4, by scoring 30 points, which is the most in program history by a sophomore.
The Tide's recruiting class was ranked ninth in the nation according to ESPNU HoopGurlz and features the No. 5 overall recruit Kaneisha Horn.
Alabama defeated the University of Alabama in Huntsville 103-58 in the Tide's only exhibition game this season.
Tennessee State, guided by seventh-season head coach Tracee Wells, is led by senior Meredith Stafford. The Tigers are a relatively young team that features three sophomores and one freshman in its starting lineup. The 2009-10 squad recorded an overall record of 10-18 and a 7-11 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tennessee State recently played an en exhibition game versus Bluefield College winning 76-49. Stafford scored 18 points and had six assists alongside sophomore Jasmin Shuler, who knocked in 20 points.