Bama/Ohio State basketball notes

It's a basketball player's dream destination for the No. 4 ranked AP/No. 6 ranked ESPN/USA Today University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide, 3-0, will spend the Thanksgiving holidays in Springfield, Mass., home to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

A vacation, however, it is not. While the Tide players and coaches will tour the hall on Thanksgiving Day after practicing a couple of hours while their families and friends are just sitting down to Thanksgiving luncheons, it's a "business" trip for the Tide who play the Ohio State Buckeyes, 1-0, on Friday, November 29.

Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic
Friday, November 29, 2002
Springfield Civic Center
Springfield, Massachusetts

TIP-OFF TIME: 6:00 p.m. CT/ 7:00 p.m. ET

TICKETS: $32, $27 & $15; Civic Center Box Office (413) 787-6600 or TicketMaster

UA HOME TICKETS: Non-Conference: $15 adults/$8 youth (age 15 & under); SEC $17 adults/$8 youth At UA box office in Coleman Coliseum; or 205-348-BAMA; or

TV: ESPN with Dave Strader (play-by-play) and Len Elmore (analysis)

UA WEEKLY TV: "Crimson Tide This Week" with host David Crane: Check local listings on CSS
"The Mark Gottfried Show" on CSS beginning in January with host Tom Roberts

RADIO: Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Tom Roberts (color)
105.5 FM in Tuscaloosa & 99.5 in Birmingham (complete list on
WVUA (University of Alabama campus station), 90.7 FM

INTERNET: Live audio of CTSN's radio broadcast is available on the internet on; UA basketball is also featured on on

Probable Starters

No. 4 AP/ No. 6 ESPN ALABAMA (3-0 OVERALL, 0-0 SEC):

PF- 35, Erwin Dudley, 6-8, 260, SR, Uniontown, 13.7 ppg/8.7 rpg
C- 42, Kenny Walker, 6-9, 220, SR, Jacksonville, Florida, 12.0 ppg/6.7 rpg
G- 05, Earnest Shelton, 6-3, 205, SO, Memphis, Tennessee, 4.3 ppg/2.0 rpg
G- 14, Terrance Meade, 6-2, 190, SR, Scottsboro, 7.3 ppg/3.0 rpg
G- 25, Mo Williams, 6-1, 195, SO, Jackson, Mississippi, 19.7 ppg/3.7 rpg/4.3 apg

Head Coach: Mark Gottfried (Alabama, 1987)


F- 33, Zach Williams, 6-7, 230, JR, Brooklyn, New York, 11.0 ppg/6.0 rpg/4.0 apg
C- 14, Velimir Radinovic, 7-0, 230, JR, Toronto (Canada), 3.0 ppg/2.0 rpg
G- 03, Sean Connolly, 6-5, 210, SR, Peabody, Massachusetts, 12.0 ppg/2.0 rpg/4.0 apg
G- 04, Brent Darby, 6-1, 195, SR, Detroit, Michigan, 18.0 ppg/5.0 rpg/3.0 apg/3.0 spg
G- 40, Matt Sylvester, 6-7, 200, FR, Loveland, Ohio, 2.0 ppg/2.0 rpg

Head Coach: Jim O'Brien (Boston College, 1971)

Head Coaches

Alabama Head Coach MARK GOTTFRIED: 153-74 (.674%) in 7 complete seasons overall, 85-49 (.634%) in 5th season (4 completed) at Alabama; 2002 SEC Coaches & AP SEC "Coach of the Year"; three total NCAA tournament appearances, one at Alabama (2002, 2nd round), 2 (1997 & 1998) at Murray State; 3 NIT appearances (1996 at MSU, 1999 & 2001 at UA); One SEC Championship (2002) at Alabama; three conference championships at Murray State; Four 20-win seasons (out of 7) as a head coach; Assistant for UCLA's 1995 NCAA Champions team; three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances as a UA player 1985-86-87; Academic All-SEC as a player at Alabama...Born January 20, 1964 in Crestline, Ohio.

Ohio State Head Coach JIM O'BRIEN: 338-274 (.552%) in 20 seasons overall, 103-57 (.644) in 5 seasons at OSU; 1999 & 2001 Big 10 Coach of the Year; 1999 NABC National Co-Coach of the Year; 7 NCAA appearances, four NIT post-season.

Key Game Notes

  • Ohio State leads the series 2-3 with last meeting a 85-67 UA win in Tuscaloosa in 2001; Mark Gottfried opened his UA coaching career at OSU in a 78-70 loss in 1999 to OSU's Final Four team
  • Alabama is ranked No. 4 AP & No. 6 ESPN/USA Today in this week's national collegiate rankings

ESPN Will Televise the Game

The Tip Off Hall of Fame Classic is a one-game marquee match-up. Alabama, which was on ESPN2 for its November 14 game against Oklahoma, will appear on ESPN three more times, on January 21st at Ole Miss (8 p.m.), On January 25th in Tuscaloosa against Kentucky (7 p.m.), and on February 18th against Georgia (8 p.m.).

One Team Will Get 1st Blemish

In this infant season, both Alabama, at 3-0, and Ohio State, at 1-0, come into Friday night's game undefeated. Alabama opened the season November 14 with a 68-62 win against then No. 3 Oklahoma in Madison Square Garden. It followed that with two home games, an 82-56 win against Alabama State on Friday, November 22, and an 80-65 win against Middle Tennessee on Monday, November 25.

Ohio State played two exhibition games then officially opened its season on Monday, November 25 with a 58-51 win against Coppin State. Three Buckeyes scored in double digits in that game, led by 6-1, 195 pound senior guard Brent Darby's 18 points.

Comparing the Stats

Here's how Alabama and Ohio State compare in stats:
                       Alabama    Ohio State

Win Streak:              3-0         1-0

Scoring Avg.             76.7        58.0

Scoring Margin          +15.7       +7.0

Field Goal %            .470        .537

3-point Field Goal %    .362        .389

3-Points Per Game        7.0         7.0

Free Throw %            .707        .700

Rebounds Average         36.7        22.0

Rebound Margin          +2.3        +5.0

Assists Total/Per Game  42/14.0     16/16.0

Turnovers/Per Game      49/16.3     18/18.0

Assists/Turnover         0.9         0.5

Steals/Per Game         24/8.0      3/3.0

Blocks/Per Game         10/3.3      2/2.0

Teams Share One Opponent

Obviously, this is a note better served when both results are in for comparison, but one team lies on the schedules of both Alabama and Ohio State. Alabama will play Morehead State in Tuscaloosa on Monday, December 23. Ohio State plays Morehead State on December 14th.

OSU Was Spoiler to Gottfried's UA Debut

Mark Gottfried, a former Tide player, was hired as his Alma Mater's head coach in March of 1998. His first official game was played at Ohio State on November 15, 1998. In fact, it marked only the second official game to be played in Ohio State's Jerome Schottenstein Center's Value City Arena.

Alas, the Buckeyes played spoiler to Gottfried's Alabama's coaching debut, defeating the Tide 78-70.

OSU Leads Series

Friday night's game marks the sixth time Alabama and Ohio State have played one another in men's basketball. Alabama trails the series 2-3.

The game in Springfield marks the second time the match up has taken place on a neutral court. The first meeting was in Tuscaloosa in 1970 with OSU winning 96-68. Alabama traveled to Columbus the following season (1971) and lost again, this time 74-58. In 1979 Alabama beat Ohio State 96-86 in the NIT consolation game in New York's Madison Square Garden. Some 20 years later they met again, this time in Columbus where Mark Gottfried's coaching debut was spoiled by a 78-70 loss.

And, in the most recent meeting in Tuscaloosa, Gottfried scheduled an unusual departure from the usually SEC only month of February by bringing in OSU on February 17, 2001. Alabama, ranked No. 21 nationally then, won 85-67 in a nationally televised game on CBS.

Tide's Trip Will Include Tour

Thanksgiving Day for the Tide will include a lunchtime practice session followed by a trip to a local hospital in Springfield. From there the team will go for a private tour of the Basketball Hall of Fame where, among those celebrated and enshrined is former Alabama coach C.M. Newton. The team will sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner at their hotel on Thursday night.

Hall of Fame Includes Former Tide Coach

Among the exhibits Alabama's players and team will see in the Basketball Hall of Fame is one of their own, former Tide Coach C.M. Newton. Coach Newton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on October 13, 2000.

Hired by then director of athletics and National Football Hall of Fame member, the late Paul "Bear" Bryant at Alabama beginning with the 1969 season, Coach Newton led Alabama to Southeastern Conference Championships in 1974, 1975 and 1976 and appearances in two NCAA and four NIT post-season tournaments. Alabama went 211-123 during his 12 seasons at the Capstone.

Match-up Features Two League Coaches of the Year

Friday night's game features teams headed by two men who have both won their league's Coach of the Year awards.

Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried was voted AP and SEC Coaches SEC Coach of the Year in 2002 after he guided the Tide to the SEC regular season championship, Alabama's first since 1987.

Ohio State head coach Jim O'Brien was the 2001 Big Ten Coach of the Year, the 1999 Big Ten Coach of the Year, and the 1982-83 Atlantic 10 Co-Coach of the Year. O'Brien was voted 1999 Clair Bee National Coach of the Year by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the 1999 National Association of Basketball Coaches National Coach of the Year. His 1999 Ohio State was a NCAA Final Four team and finished 27-9. (That was the team Mark Gottfried opened his first season as Alabama's coach against).

Tide Football & Basketball Teams Far Apart

While at this time last week Alabama's football and basketball teams both shared spots in the nation's Top 10 in their respective sport's ranking, this week the two teams are in extremes when it comes to the weather conditions they'll be exposed to on game day.

Alabama's football team will be in Hawaii for its game on Saturday against the University of Hawaii enjoying tropical temperatures. The basketball team will be on the East Coast where snow and ice are in the forecast.

Tide Makes Move In Coaches' Poll

Alabama remained for the second straight week at No. 4 in Associated Press rankings but moved up two spots from No. 8 to No. 6 in this weeks ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.

It is the highest Alabama has been ranked in the Coaches' poll since the February 25-March 4, 2002 poll. Alabama went as high as No. 6 three times last season and finished No. 14 in the Coaches' poll. Its highest finish ever in the final Coaches' Poll was Mark Gottfried's senior season in 1987 when Alabama finished No. 8.

Alabama's No. 4 position on the AP poll these past two weeks has been the highest in those rankings since it was ranked No. 4 in the February 15, 1977 poll. (Alabama's highest ever AP ranking is No. 3. That was in both the January 18 and January 25 polls in 1977.

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