Bama-Montevallo Play Saturday Night

Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried is expecting a big Alabama-Mississippi State football spillover crowd and a productive outing for his top-15 team Saturday when it hosts Montevallo, one of the best teams in Division II, in an exhibition game at 5 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.

Montevallo is the second-ranked Division II team by the Division II Bulletin and ranked 10th by Street & Smith's preseason rankings. NCAA rules that took effect this year outlawed the practice of bringing in professional traveling teams made up of former college players for exhibition games. Now schools must play college teams for exhibition games.

It does no good for Alabama to bring a team in where the score will be 50-8 at halftime, Gottfried said, and that is not what he wanted or expected when scheduling Montevallo.

"With the rules you've got to play college teams and we want to play good teams. I think Montevallo is a good team and it will be a challenge for our guys," he said.

In the same breath, the game is not about scouting Montevallo and studying what they might do, he said. That won't be the case from the Montevallo point of view, however. Brian Pounders, a four-year manager for Gottfried, is now an assistant at Montevallo and will know everything Alabama does.

Bama's star point guard Ronald Steele sat out Thursday's practice nursing tendonitis in his knee but is expected to play in the exhibition game, the Mobile Register and Tuscaloosa news reported.

Gottfried said the focus for Saturday is whittling down the number of men that will be in his early season rotation from his depth-rich squad.

"Basketball's a lot different than football," he said. "You want depth; need depth. We've got more than we had and we need to use that depth, but by January you need to get in that chemistry where you have eight guys, maybe nine guys who are regularly playing."

"I was a part of a national championship team at UCLA," he said, "and if you watch good teams you watch where they have really good chemistry in that 8-9 group. Hopefully you have great competition in practice every day."

Admission to the game is $5. Season ticketholders will find the game ticket included with their season tickets. Alabama Basketball posters will be given away to the first fans through the doors on Saturday evening.

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