Tide Hosts Stanford In NIT Saturday

As Alabama prepares for its second round NIT game against Stanford on Saturday, the Crimson Tide roster of scholarshipped players is back down to eight. Crimson Tide Coach Anthony Grant announced Friday that Bama's lone senior, Andrew Steele, had undergone surgery on his ankle.

Andrew Steele, who played only 20 games in his final Alabama season because of injuries, may be able to attend the game Saturday. The Crimson Tide will meet Stanford in a game that will tip off at 11 a.m. CDT in Coleman Coliseum. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Bama, a number one seed in the NIT, is coming off a 62-43 win over Northeastern that improved the Tide's record to 22-12. Stanford got by Stephen F. Austin, 58-57, in a first round game at Stanford. The Cardinal, a four seed, is 19-14.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant called Stanford "an extremely skilled team with veteran players. I'm really impressed."

The Cardinal of the Pac-12 won the NIT last year. Repeating as champion of the NIT is rare. Stanford beat Minnesota, 75-51, in last year's championship game. If the Cardinal can repeat, it will join St. John's (1943-44) and South Carolina (2005-06) in that achievement.

Stanford returns the most valuable player from last year's NIT as he averaged 16.8 points per game in the tournament. This year the junior guard is averaging 9.4 points per game.

Grant said a key match-up problem for Alabama is against Stanford is junior 6-10, 235-pound Dwight Powell, a forward who averages 15.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and can play inside or outside. Stanford also features 6-1 sophomore guard Chasson Randle averaging 13.7 points per game and junior forward Josh Huestis, a 6-7, 230-pound man who averages 10.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Alabama has a limited basketball history against Stanford, but it is a satisfying one for the Crimson Tide. Bama is 2-0 against Stanford, both games coming in NCAA Tournament play. Alabama won 80-75 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Cincinnati in 1992, and in 2004 Bama, an eight-seed, knocked out number one seed Stanford, 70-67 in the second round at Seattle.

The winner of Saturday's game will play the winner of the Denver vs. Maryland game in quarterfinals action. If Alabama wins, the Tide will have homecourt advantage for the game either Tuesday or Wednesday. The semifinals are April 2 and the finals April 4, both at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Alabama was a pre-season pick to finish fourth in the Southeastern Conference and finished tied for second with a 12-6 conference record. Stanford was also picked to finish fourth in its conference, but the Cardinal went 9-9 in Pac-12 play and finished sixth.

General admission tickets for the Alabama-Stanford second round NIT game are on currently sale. Ticket prices are as follows: $10 for courtside seats (front court and back court) and baseline reserved seats (those tickets are available only to regular season courtside and baseline ticket holders); $9 for adult general admission seats; $4 for general admission tickets for youths age 18 and under; and $4 for UA Students who present a valid I.D.

All seats for the NIT are general admission, except courtside (front court and back court) and baseline seating areas.

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