Tough Times

Mark Gottfried has earned a reputation for putting one of the nation's most challenging schedules together each season, and the 2006-07 slate for his University of Alabama men's basketball team lives up to that reputation.

"I am a firm believer in playing a very tough non-conference schedule and I have tried to make a schedule year in and year out that will be as tough as any team in the country," said Gottfried who has coached Alabama to the NCAA tournament the past five straight seasons despite playing one of the country's most challenging schedules year in and out. "It only helps your team get better and this schedule will definitely do this. With the large number of freshman on this team, this schedule will challenge us and help us grow up quickly."

The Crimson Tide released its 2006-07 schedule today.

Alabama will play both the defending NCAA champions on the road and the defending NIT champions at home in a schedule that finds Alabama playing seven 2006 NCAA tournament teams---and the facing the potential to play three more in tournament play---as well as four 2006 NIT teams. Two of the Southeastern Conference teams it faces advanced to the Final Four last season, Florida and LSU. Alabama faces Florida, the defending national champion, on the road in a February 14 televised Valentine's date and plays Final Four team LSU twice, at home on January 10 and on the road January 31.

Alabama hosts at home NCAA tournament teams Kentucky (February 17), Oklahoma (January 1), LSU (January 10), and Arkansas (January 27). Also coming to Coleman Coliseum will be the 2006 NIT champions South Carolina (February 3) and Lipscomb (December 29). Alabama travels to play at NCAA tournament teams North Carolina State (December 20), LSU (January 31), Arkansas (January 6), Florida (February 14), and Tennessee (February 21). It will play at Notre Dame (December 7) and at Vanderbilt (January 17), two NIT tournament teams in 2006.

The Tide heads to the tropics in November for the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam facing a field of eight that includes four NCAA tournament teams. Alabama opens its play in the November 17-20 tournament on November 17 against Middle Tennessee State. In addition to Alabama, which advanced to the second round of the 2006 NCAA tournament, that field includes NCAA tournament teams Iowa, Xavier and Villanova. Alabama could potentially draw Iowa in the second round of that tournament which also includes Toledo, Virginia Commonwealth and the College of Charleston in its field.

And it will take the team to Mobile on Saturday, December 16 to play Southern Miss at the University of South Alabama's Coors Classic. That's a doubleheader as South Alabama will play Ole Miss. The times for that event have not yet been released.

Television cameras will bring Alabama's play into living rooms across the country at least 25 times. CBS will televise its January 20 home game against Georgia at 12:30 p.m. CT. ESPN invades Coleman Coliseum for the New Year's Day 1:30 p.m. game against Oklahoma and catches Alabama's road play at Notre dame at 8 p.m. CT on December 7 and at Auburn at 8 p.m. on January 23. Fox Sports Net will air the December 20 game at North Carolina State as well as the February 10 game at Ole Miss, and Lincoln Financial Services will air its games at Arkansas, at LSU, at Florida and at Tennessee and home games against Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn.

The Alabama Cable Network will air all the Tide's home games, live on November 10 at home in the season opener against Jackson State as well as home games against Louisiana Monroe, Tennessee State, Alabama State, Coppin State and Lipscomb. Alabama's SEC home games and the Oklahoma game will be aired tape-delayed on ACN.

Fans who want to catch the Tide's home games may find ticket information through Alabama's website, or call the Athletic Ticket Office at (205) 348-BAMA.

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