Alabama/Auburn game notes

Saving the best for last may be the cry of Crimson Tide fans as the University of Alabama makes its final home appearance of the 2002 season against its favorite rival, Auburn. Alabama, 23-5 overall and 11-3 in the Southeastern Conference, plays host to the Auburn Tigers, 12-13 overall and 4-10 SEC, on Wednesday, February 27th.

NEXT GAME:

  • Auburn
  • 7:00 p.m. CST
  • Wednesday, February 27, 2002
  • Coleman Coliseum (15,316 capacity)
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama

TICKETS:

SOLD OUT

TV:

No live TV; WVUA-TV (Tuscaloosa) tape-delayed, showing at 10:30 p.m. with Gary Harris and Stan Siegal, UA WEEKLY TV: "Crimson Tide This Week" with host David Crane: Check local listings, airs regionally, "The Mark Gottfried Show", Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m., Wednesdays 5:30 p.m. on CSS, host Tom Roberts

RADIO:

Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold and Tom Roberts; engineer Tom Stipe, WVUA 90.7 FM (UofA Campus Station/home games only)

INTERNET:

Live audio of CTSN's radio broadcast is available on the internet on www.rolltide.com. Tide basketball information is available there as well as on www.markgottfried.com and www.crimsontradition.com (subscription site).

No. 6 AP/No. 6 ESPN/USA Today ALABAMA (23-5 OVERALL,* 11-3 SEC):

  • F- 35 Erwin Dudley 6-8, 260, JR, Uniontown 15.7 ppg/8.9 rpg
  • C- 42 Kenny Walker 6-9, 230, JR, Jacksonville, Florida 8.8 ppg/5.7 rpg
  • G- 21 Rod Grizzard 6-8, 200, JR, Birmingham 14.1 ppg/5.7 rpg
  • G- 14 Terrance Meade 6-2, 190, JR, Scottsboro 9.0 ppg/3.1 rpg
  • G- 25 Mo Williams 6-1, 185, FR, Jackson, Mississippi 9.7 ppg/3.8 rpg/4.6 assists per game
  • Head Coach: Mark Gottfried (Alabama, 1987)
  • * SEC Regular Season Champions

AUBURN TIGERS (12-13 OVERALL, 4-10 SEC)

  • F-03 Marquis Daniels 6-6, 200, JR, Orlando, Florida 11.4 ppg/4.9 rpg/4.3 assists per game
  • F- 04 Marco Killingsworth 6-8, 240, Fr, Montgomery 7.8 ppg/4.0 rpg
  • G- 11 Derrick Bird 6-4, 195, JR, Ypsilanti, Michigan 10.9 ppg/2.9 rpg
  • G- 22 Lewis Monroe 6-5, 190, FR, Madison, Wisconsin 2.2 ppg/2.2 rpg
  • G- 23 Dwayne Mitchell 6-4, 195, FR, New Orleans, Louisiana 3.5 ppg/2.3 rpg
  • HeadCoach: Cliff Ellis (Florida State, 1968)

THE HEAD COACHES

ALABAMA: Mark Gottfried; 146-71 (.673%) in 7 (6 complete) seasons overall, 78-47 (.624%) in 4th season at Alabama; 2 NCAA appearances (1997 & 1998) at Murray State; 3 NIT appearances ( 1996 at MSU, 1999 & 2001 at UA); Four 20-win seasons (out of 7) as a head coach; Assistant for UCLA's 1995 NCAA Champions team; 3 NCAA Sweet 16 appearances as a UA player 1985-86-87; Academic All-SEC at Alabama...Born January 20, 1964 in Crestline, Ohio.

AUBURN: Cliff Ellis; 574-320 (.642%) in 30 (29 complete) seasons overall, 150-96 (.610%) in 8th season at Auburn; 1999 National Coach of the Year; 7 NCAA tournament appearances (2 at Auburn, 3 at Clemson, 2 at South Alabama; 11 NIT appearances

KEY GAME NOTES

    ·
  • Alabama can own the 2002 SEC regular season "outright" with a win against Auburn. Already the 2002 SEC Western Division Champions, Alabama already owns at least a share of the 2002 regular season title ·
  • Alabama leads the series 75 wins to 49 wins by Auburn, but Auburn won the 1st of the two 2002 meetings 59-56 in Auburn on January 12. ·
  • This series game has sold out (at Alabama & at Auburn) in the last 8 consecutive series games; It's the 19th Auburn sellout in Coleman Coliseum since 1975 ·
  • Alabama has an 18-game home win streak on the line. It has won a single season school record 16 straight home games this season as it is 16-0 at home this season and 33-1 at home in the last 2 seasons

Auburn Sellout Stretches Streak of Series Sellouts

Alabama and Auburn are one another's biggest rivals, and the string of basketball series sellouts continues. The two teams play one another twice each year during the regular season, and these games have sold out both in Auburn and in Tuscaloosa every season dating to 1999. (There have been 19 sold out Auburn games in Coleman Coliseum since 1975).

Comparing the Stats

                  Alabama    Auburn

Current Streak      W 1        W 1
Scoring Average    77.5       66.0
Opponents Scoring  65.8       66.1
Scoring Margin    +11.7      -0.1
Field Goal %      .445       .419
3-PT Field Goal % .310       .325
Free Throw %      .719       .583
Rebound Average    39.7       36.3
Rebound margin    +4.5       -1.4
Personal Fouls     517        506
Assists           384/13.7   339/13.6
Turnovers          385        450
Turnover margin   +2.5       -0.6
Assist/Turnover    1.0        0.8
Blocks            101/3.6    135/5.4
Steals            220/7.9    213/8.5

So Long, SOLO

It is tradition that the Tide basketball program honor any senior players before tip-off of its final home game. This season the Crimson Tide has one senior player on its roster, Mobile's Solomon Davis, a forward for the Tide.

Davis's career at Alabama has been a fun one to follow. He came to Alabama as a Presidential scholar and walked on the basketball team as a freshman in 1999. Mark Gottfried liked what he saw in Davis' potential, so he redshirted him that first season.

Davis played the following season, 2000. But, as he approached his junior year in school, his classes were getting tougher in his major, information management systems (computers), and he was required to work with actual companies as part of his "classroom" experience. Making a very grown up decision, Davis decided computers, not basketball, were his future, and he "retired" from basketball after that 2000 season.

Knowing Davis was a man who could handle anything thrown at him, when a couple of unexpected twists left Alabama's roster without two inside men Mark Gottfried picked up the phone and called Davis this past summer and asked him to come by his office. Gottfried talked Davis into coming out of retirement and signed him to a one year scholarship. Davis jumped back in and is still making high marks in the classroom and with his coaches and teammates who look to him as a team leader. Davis will graduate in May.

Tide Could Be "Undisputed Champ" With Win

With its dramatic 65-64 win against then No. 8 Florida in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Alabama assured itself of a least a share in the 2002 Southeastern Conference regular season championship. With a win on Wednesday night against Auburn (or Ole Miss on Sunday), Alabama would be the undisputed champion. Alabama goes into the Auburn game with an 11-3 SEC overall record. Florida, Georgia and Kentucky all remain mathematically eligible to share in the title with Alabama.

Like Alabama, each has two remaining SEC games. Florida is 9-5, Georgia 10-5 and Kentucky 10-5. Florida's remaining games are Tennessee in Gainesville on February 26th and at Kentucky on March 2. Georgia hosts South Carolina on Wednesday and is at Tennessee on Saturday. And Kentucky is at Vanderbilt on Wednesday and hosts Florida on Sunday.

Tide is the Western Champion

As a results of this past Saturday's round of games, Alabama won the 2002 SEC Western Division championship outright. As a result, Alabama will be the number one seed from the West and will play its first game in the 2002 SEC Tournament on Friday, March 8. Alabama will play at 3:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m CT against the winner between the East 4 seed and the West 5 seed (both still to be determined).

History Repeats

Hollywood couldn't have scripted a better story for the way the Crimson Tide won the SEC title (or share of title). It was a repeat of the scenario the last time Alabama won the regular season, in 1987.

Mark Gottfried was a senior starting guard on that 1987 team. Alabama was at home playing FLORIDA for the championship. Alabama won the game and thus the 1987 title on a last second tip-in by Derrick McKey (a now 14 year NBA veteran).

Gottfried faced Florida again, this time as Alabama's coach in the first double top 10 showdown in Tuscaloosa since 1983, for the title and saw his team win in the last second-same end of the court. Freshman Earnest Shelton sailed the ball to sophomore former walkon Antoine Pettway who run underneath just in time to catch the ball and score and win it for the Tide (65-64).

Tide 4-2 vs. the Top 25

Alabama's win against Florida on Saturday made the Crimson Tide 4-2 against teams ranked in the Top 25 on game day. Those wins (with the opponent's ranking at the time) include No. 8 Florida, No. 8 Kentucky, No. 12 Memphis, and No. 20 Georgia. The two losses were to No. 5 Missouri and No. 20 UCLA (those games took place in Missouri and California).

Halftime Will Feature a Football Flashback

It is another tradition that each year the winner of that year's Alabama vs. Auburn football game has the football game's loser come on campus at the winner's home basketball game (in the Alabama-Auburn series) to present to the football victor the ODK (Omicron Delta Kappa) trophy.

And so at halftime of Wednesday night's basketball game Auburn's students will have to stand at center court and hand over the ODK trophy to Alabama's SGA president and ODK officers. Alabama football coach Dennis Franchione and Alabama's football players will be at center court to accept the trophy as well. Alabama won the game at Auburn 31-7. It is a guaranteed standing ovation halftime show.

Orlando Early is Good Luck Charm

Want to guarantee a conference championship for your team? Hire Orlando Early. In his first season as assistant coach at UNC-Charlotte, the school won the conference tournament. In his first season as assistant coach at Western Carolina, the school won the regular season conference championship. And, in his first season as an assistant coach on the Crimson Tide's staff, Alabama has won the SEC regular season championship.

Alabama Leads the Series

This game marks the 125th meeting for Alabama and Auburn in men's basketball, Alabama leads the Auburn basketball series 75 wins to 49 wins by Auburn. Wednesday night's game marks the second of two regular season meetings in this home and away series.

Auburn beat Alabama 59-56 in Auburn in the first meeting on January 12 despite a 17 point and 9 rebound effort by Alabama's Erwin Dudley.

In games played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama leads the series 35-7. The last Auburn win in Coleman Coliseum was in 1999 when Auburn left Tuscaloosa with a 73-58 win. Prior to that loss, Alabama had won 14 straight in Tuscaloosa in that series, beginning with a 74-72 double overtime victory in 1985.

Alabama was an 81-80 winner against Auburn in Tuscaloosa last season. Since Alabama won that game and Auburn won in Auburn in January, neither team has a streak going. But the largest string of wins for either team includes Alabama's 11 straight victories against Auburn from 1976 through 1981. (Tide assistant coach T.R. Dunn can tell of some of those victories as he played for Alabama during part of that streak). Auburn longest win streak against Alabama is eight games from 1958 through 1961.

Bama Was Perfect 6-0 vs. SEC Eastern Division

The Crimson Tide was a perfect 6-0 against the six teams from the SEC Eastern Division. Alabama defeated, in order, Vanderbilt (92-79), Georgia (77-72), Kentucky (64-61), South Carolina (52-51), Tennessee (95-82) and Florida (65-64). The Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina wins all were on the road.

Gottfried Up for National Coach of Year

Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried is one of the 25 men names as finalists for the Naismith National College Coach of the Year.

Alabama has rocketed into the nation's Top 5, a big jump for a team that didn't make it to the NCAA tournament last season. (Alabama went on to win its way to the NIT Championship game). Along the way to Alabama's 22-5 record and top five ranking, Gottfried's mark on the program this season includes producing a Wooden national player of the year candidate in Rod Grizzard, two NABC All-District players in Grizzard and Erwin Dudley, the 2002 SEC regular season championship and the SEC Western Division title, selling out Alabama's final three home games, setting a single season record for home wins at 16-just to name a few accomplishments.

Tide Leads the League in Wins

Alabama has won more games this season than any of the other 11 teams with 22. Two other teams, Florida and Mississippi State, have reached the 20-win milestone.

Gottfried Officially Joins Elite Player/Coach Fraternity

With Alabama's SEC regular season championship, Mark Gottfried has joined an elite fraternity that includes three other men who were SEC players who later coached an SEC team (two of three their alma mater) to the league title. The group includes Joel Eaves (won/played at Auburn), Joe B. Hall (won/played at Kentucky), and C.M. Newton (won at Alabama, played at Kentucky).

The list dwindles as Gottfried faces another possibility: he could become the first former SEC player who won the SEC tournament as a player and a coach. Gottfried was a starter on Alabama's 1987 SEC tournament champion team. According to the University of Kentucky's media relations office, neither C.M. Newton nor Joe B. Hall were on Kentucky's early 50's SEC tournament championship teams and Auburn didn't win the tournament while Eaves was a player.

Tide Figures Into Best NCAA Stats

In the NCAA's stats released on February 18, 2002, Alabama ranked No. 24 in the nation in field goal percentage defense. It ranked 12th in scoring margin, T-9th in won-lost percentage and tied for 6th in home court winning streaks. Erwin Dudley ranked 13th nationally in field goal percentage (the best of anyone in the SEC).

Tide Leads League In FT's & Field Goal Percentage

Alabama continues to lead the SEC in two key stats-field goal percentage defense (.398) in all games and in free throw percentage in SEC vs. SEC games (.757%).

In SEC games, Alabama has the top two most accurate free throw shooters and a third who ranks among the SEC's top 10. Antoine Pettway leads the league in that stat, having made 35 of 39 for .897%. Right behind him is Kenny Walker who has made 35 of 42 for .833%. And Rod Grizzard ranks 10th, having made 62 of 82 for .756. The league requires a minimum of 2.5 free throws made per game or Mo Williams would be a leader in that stat as well. In SEC vs. SEC games, he's made 27 of 29 free throws for .931%.

Erwin Dudley continues to lead the SEC in rebounding and in field goal percentage. The 2001 SEC rebounding champion averages 9.6 rebounds in league games and 8.9 in all games, both stats that are the SEC's best.

Team SEC Stats

  • Scoring: 3rd
  • Scoring Defense: 5th
  • Scoring Margin: 2nd
  • Free Throw Percentage: 1st
  • Field Goal Percentage Defense: 2nd
  • Rebounding Offense: 3rd
  • Rebounding Defense: 5th
  • Rebounding Margin: 4th
  • Turnover Margin: 3rd
  • Assist/Turnover Ratio: 5th
  • Offensive Rebounds: 1st
  • Defensive Rebounds: 6th

Individual SEC Stats

  • Scoring: Dudley 5th, Grizzard 14th
  • Rebounding: Dudley 1st, Grizzard 17th
  • Field Goal Percentage: Dudley 2nd
  • Assists: Williams 3rd
  • Free Throw Percentage: Pettway 1st, Walker 2nd, Grizzard 10th
  • Steals: Williams 7th
  • Blocked Shots: Walker 8th
  • Assist/Turnover Ratio: Williams 4th
  • Offensive Rebounds: Dudley 1st, Walker 5th
  • Defensive Rebounds: Dudley 1st

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