Coaches Rank Tide Men's Hoops 17th

Surely, somewhere there is a coach's handbook that includes the mandatory mantra that "pre-season rankings don't mean anything." It was refreshing to hear Alabama's basketball coach have something positive to say about the Crimson Tide being ranked 17th in the pre-season Coaches' Poll released by USA Today/ESPN Thursday.

"Any time you have expectations, that's certainly a good thing," Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said of the preseason ranking. "When you have a level of excitement about your team, that creates a level of pride for us."

Then coachspeak kicked in.

Grant continued, " At the same time you realize that's not going to win any games for you and it really doesn't matter where you are in the preseason. You've got to go out and perform and we've got a very short amount of time to get ready for a very tough schedule."

Alabama was 25-12 last year and appeared in the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament. Bama returns three starters, top scorers JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell, and Trevor Releford.

Also ranked were Kentucky second, Vanderbilt seventh, and Florida 10th.

This is Alabama's first preseason ranking since opening the 2006-07 season ranked No. 12 in the coaches poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press poll.

Fans will have an opportunity to see the Alabama basketball team, which includes six newcomers (and a recruiting classs ranked 14th in the nation by, at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Coleman Coliseum. The team will have a scrimmage open to the public.

"There's been a lot of interest in people wanting to watch this team and it's good for our guys to get that game feel, even though it's early," Grant said. "I don't expect us to be where we need to be, but it's good for our guys to get a feel for that atmosphere."

Doors to the Coliseum will open at 11 a.m. with the scrimmage starting at 11:30 a.m. and continuing until approximately 1:30 p.m. Following the scrimmage, the Crimson Tide will sign autographs for 45 minutes.

Thursday's practice wrapped up the first week of official team practices and Grant has been pleased. "The first week was productive," Grant said. "It's always good to get back on the court and we were able to get at least a part of our system in. Our guys have done a good job of understanding the things that we're trying to get done on a daily basis.

  "We're not where we need to be. But overall I thought the effort – to do what we needed to do as a team –  I think they did a good job with that in the first week."

The Alabama athletics ticket office has announced the availability of two five-game mini-plans for the 2011-12 season in addition to its full season ticket packages. Mini-plans will go on sale on Monday at 8 a.m.

Both the Crimson and White Starting Five mini-plans are available for $85 with the Crimson plan including games against Georgetown, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee.

The White Starting Five features tickets to contests against VCU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Florida and Mississippi State.

Fans can purchase season tickets for all 16 home dates and the exhibition at one of two price options. For $246, a seat can be purchased along either sideline above the Tide Pride seating or along the baseline above the Tide Pride sections. For $165 a seat can be reserved in sections A,G,H,M,N and Z. Season tickets for UA faculty and staff are also available for $199.

The ticket office also offers season ticket plans aimed directly at young alumni and UA parents with both groups being able to purchase season tickets for $165. The young alumni pricing is limited to students that graduated after 2007 and a campus-wide identification number (CWID) will be needed to qualify for the offer. Parents of current UA students can also take advantage of the exceptional offer by furnishing their student's CWID when purchasing season tickets.  

All season ticket packages will include a ticket to the Dec. 21 contest against Oklahoma State in Birmingham.  

To purchase season tickets or mini-plans, contact the Alabama ticket office, located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, at 205.348.BAMA or via

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