Tide's final tune-up tough one

The University of Alabama men's basketball team gets its final tune-up before starting the 2001-02 season officially next week when it hosts the EA Sports Southeast All-Stars on Thursday, November 8. Tip-off from Coleman Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. CT.

Tickets are available. Single tickets are $5 and are available at the Athletic Ticket Box Office in Coleman Coliseum (205) 348-BAMA.

EA Sports All-Stars is a team consisting of former college standouts. Going into its November 6 game at UAB, EA Sports is 1-4. Despite its losses, it is averaging 91.0 points after five games in a schedule that has included No. 1 Duke (a 129-94 loss on November 5), No. 2 Maryland (a 98-80 loss), and No. 19 North Carolina (a 107-76 win by EA Sports on November 4). After playing at No. 24 Alabama on Thursday, it makes one more Top 25 pit stop—it ends the tour at No. 6 Florida on November 19.

Following are its results to date:

  • Nov. 1 at Old Dominion L 106-99
  • Nov. 2 at Maryland L 98-80
  • Nov. 3 at NC State L 98-75
  • Nov. 4 at North Carolina W 107-76
  • Nov. 5 at Duke L 129-94

Alabama opens its season officially on November 13 hosting four games (the 1st two rounds) of the inaugural Guardians Classic. Alabama plays Mississippi Valley State in the 8:30 p.m. game while Samford and Loyola-Marymount open play that night at 6:00 p.m

Former Tide Player on Roster

Former Tide player Schea Cotton, a guard on Alabama's 1999-2000 team who averaged 15.5 points and 4.5 rebounds a game that year, is among the players who make up the EA Sports Southeast All-Stars. It's his second time to visit Alabama as a touring player. On November 8, 2000 he came as a member of the Global Sports All-Stars team. He led his team that night with 12 points and 9 rebounds (UA won the game 63-57).

Going into EA Sports' November 6 game at UAB, Cotton was averaging 15 points after five games, scoring 23 at N.C. State, 19 at Maryland, 12 at Duke, 11 at North Carolina, and 10 at Ole Dominion.

Alabama Debuts at No. 24 AP

The Crimson Tide debuts in Week 1 of the Associated Press rankings, released November 5, at No. 24. (Alabama is 26th in the first ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll).

For those who keep up, Alabama's longest streak is 11 weeks in the AP poll, set in the 2000-01 season, bettering its previous best of five straight weeks in the AP poll in 1994-95.

The highest regular season ranking is No. 4 set in 1974. Of course, the poll that counts the most is the ending poll. The highest Alabama has ever been ranked in the final AP or UPI poll is No. 5 (both) in 1956 and No. 8 in the final 1987 Coaches' poll. Alabama has finished in the Top 10 four times, in 1956 (No. 5), 1975 (No. 10), 1976 (No. 6), and 1987 (No. 9).

Game Will Be Televised, Tape-Delayed

Thursday night's game against the EA Sports Southeast All-Stars will be televised locally, tape-delayed, by WJRD-TV featuring Newschannel 7 sports director Gary Harris on the broadcast team. The first airing will be at 11 p.m. CT on WJRD Thursday night.

Demetrius Smith Questionable

Sophomore guard Demetrius Smith of Hogansville, Ga., is questionable to play in Thursday night's game against EA Sports. Smith has a lateral collateral ligament sprain on his left knee in an injury sustained over the past weekend. He is currently being evaluated.

Media Predict Alabama Team to Beat in West

At the annual gathering of media at Tip-Off 2002: SEC Basketball Media Day, a poll of the media attending the event predicted the Crimson Tide would win the SEC West. Alabama was voted first, followed by Arkansas, Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State.

Kentucky was the favorite to take the East followed by Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt.

Grizzard Preseason All-SEC

In that same media poll attending SEC Basketball Media Day, Alabama junior guard Rod Grizzard of Birmingham was voted first team preseason All-SEC. Included with him was Florida's Brett Nelson and Udonis Haslam as well as Kentucky's Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince. Grizzard finished last year as a first team All-SEC selection.

Game Marks 2nd Exhibition

Alabama has played one other exhibition game this season, hosting Athletes in Action on Thursday, November 1. Alabama won the game 103-77, led by 21 points from Terrance Meade, 15 points from Rod Grizzard, 14 points and 12 rebounds from Erwin Dudley and 12 points from freshman and first time starter Mo Williams.

Alabama shot 50 percent from the field, making 38 of 76. It made 16 (of 33) 3-point shots, and was 11-14 from the free throw line. Led by Dudley's 12 and six from both Grizzard and freshman Earnest Shelton, Alabama had 51 rebounds (out-rebounding AIA 51-23).

Sixteen 3-Pointers Would Have Tied Record

Alabama's school records are taken from official games. Were that not the case, the Tide's 16 3-point shots made against Athletes in Action would have officially tied the school record of 16 3-point shots made in a December 1996 game against Mercer (27 attempts).

Notable First Timers

Should he continue to play the way he has in practice and Alabama's first exhibition game where he scored 12 points and made five assists and turned the ball over only twice at point guard in 22 minutes, freshman Mo Williams could find himself the starter when Alabama officially opens the season against Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday, November 13.

The last time Alabama started a true freshman in the season opener was just two years ago when its current crop of juniors were just freshmen. Both Erwin Dudley and Rod Grizzard got the starting nod in that first game. (Dudley has started in every game since, 65 straight).

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