Bama/Providence game notes

Coming to Tuscaloosa for the first time ever is a team with a solid basketball tradition, Providence College. The No. 2 ranked Crimson Tide, 7-0, plays host to the Friars, 4-2, on Saturday, December 21. Tip-off in Tuscaloosa's Coleman Coliseum is set for 2 p.m. CT.

Providence has advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight four times, the latest of those visits in 1997. It was a 1987 NCAA Final Four team. The Friars have produced 23 All-Americans, including 2001 & 2002 All-American John Linehan and 25 professional basketball players.

Saturday, December 21, 2002
Coleman Coliseum (capacity 15,316)

TIP-OFF TIME: 2:00 p.m. CT

TICKETS: Available

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: Fox Sports South with Dave Neal (play by play) and Joe Dean, Jr.

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 (when classes are in session)

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

Probable Starters

No. 2 AP/ No. 4 ESPN ALABAMA (7-0 OVERALL, 0-0 SEC):

PF- 35, Erwin Dudley, 6-8, 260, SR, Uniontown, 14.3 ppg/10.3 rpg
F- 02, Emmett Thomas, 6-4, 205, JR/TR, Birmingham, 6.0 ppg/2.3 rpg
C- 42, Kenny Walker, 6-9, 220, SR, Jacksonville, Florida, 14.4 ppg/6.6 rpg
G- 50, Antoine Pettway, 6-0, 170, JR, Alberta, 7.4 ppg/2.1 rpg
G- 25, Mo Williams, 6-1, 195, SO, Jackson, Mississippi, 15.4 ppg/4.1 rpg/5.0 apg

Head Coach: Mark Gottfried (Alabama, 1987)

PROVIDENCE (4-2 OVERALL, 0-0 Big East )

F- 22, Maris Laksa, 6-9, 222, JR, Ventspils, Latvia, 16.7 ppg/3.3 rpg
F- 25, Tuukka Kotti, 6-9, 215, SO, Forssa, Finland, 10.7 ppg/4.0 rpg
C- 03, Ryan Gomes, 6-7, 238, SO, Waterbury, Connecticut, 18.8 ppg/10.7 rpg
G- 01, Donnie McGrath, 6-4, 185, FR, Katonah, New York, 9.0 ppg/2.2 rpg
G- 13, Sheiku Kabba, 6-2, 190, JR, Bronx, New York, 10.3 ppg/3.0 rpg

Head Coach: Tim Welsh (Potsdam State, 1984)

Head Coaches

Alabama Head Coach MARK GOTTFRIED: 157-74 (.680%) in 7 complete seasons overall, 89-49 (.643%) 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.

Providence Head Coach TIM WELSH: 137-83 (.623%) in 8 seasons overall, 67-61 (.523%) in 5 seasons at Providence; two NCAA tournament appearances and 3 NIT appearances in his 7 complete seasons as a head coach; head coach at Iona from 1995-98; 1997 & 1998 NABC District II Coach of the Year; 1997 & 1998 Metro Atlantic Athletic Association Coach of the Year

Key Game Notes

  • Saturday is "Scout Day." Girls and boys in their scouting uniforms can purchase a ticket to the Providence game for half price at the door
  • Alabama leads the series 2-1 with wins in 1976 (71-67) and 1994 (76-70) and a loss Mark Gottfried's senior season at Alabama, 1987 (103-82)

Series Finds Alabama Leading 2-1

Alabama and Providence have played one another three times previously, and all of those games have been on a neutral court. Alabama leads the series 2-1. Alabama won the first meeting, which was in 1976 inside New York City's Madison Square Garden, by a 71-67 score. Alabama also won in 1994 76-70 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky. And Providence's win came in NCAA tournament play in Louisville, Ky., in 1987 by a 103-82 score.

Gottfried Saw 1987 Game Up Close

Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried played the final game of his collegiate career against Providence. Gottfried was a senior starting guard on that 1987 Alabama team. After winning both the SEC regular season and tournament championship, Gottfried and crew were selected as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional. The first two rounds of that regional were played in Birmingham where Alabama defeated, in order, North Carolina A&T (88-71) and then New Orleans (101-76) where it faced its former assistant turned UNO head coach Benny Deas.

From Birmingham, Alabama moved to Louisville, Kentucky's Freedom Hall where it faced Providence, coached by Rick Pitino, in the NCAA Sweet 16. That would prove to be the final stop for the Tide as Billy Donovan, now head coach at Florida, led the Friars with 26 points in its 103-82 win against the Tide. Delray Brooks added 23 points, 17 of those in the second half.

Providence went on the Final Four that year, beating Georgetown in the Southeast Regional Final to advance. Two players from that team, Donovan and Marty Conlon, would later play in the NBA.

Gottfried's fellow starters at Alabama in that game included three future NBA players Michael Ansley, Jim Farmer and Derrick McKey and, from off the bench, a fourth in Keith Askins.

Gottfried made four 3-point baskets in that game and ended it with 14 points before fouling out with 1:17 remaining.

Two Games, and then Brief Holiday

Alabama plays two games between now and Christmas day. It hosts Providence College on Saturday, December 21 at 2 p.m. CT then Morehead State on Monday, December 23rd at 7 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum. The team will re-group for practice on December 26. Alabama plays at Utah on December 30. That game will tip at 8 p.m. CT/7 p.m. MT. It then returns home to host Top 20 ranked Xavier on January 4, 2003.

Williams Has Aged This Week

The 2002 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year has aged this week. Tide sophomore point guard Mo Williams turned 20 on Thursday. He was born in Jackson, Mississippi on December 19, 1982. His parents of two decades are Isaiah and Griceldia Williams.

Tide Has SEC's Only Perfect Team

Alabama goes into the Providence game Saturday with a perfect 7-0 record. The Tide is the only team in the SEC that remains undefeated.

Though it has one loss (7-1), Mississippi State shares a streak with the Tide in that both teams have won their last seven games. The Bulldogs' streak won't be tested again until December 28 when it plays Oklahoma in New Orleans at the Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic.

SEC's AP Streak Continues

Alabama is one of four Southeastern Conference teams ranked in this week's Associated Press rankings, worth noting as the SEC has had at least three teams ranked in 76 of the last 77 AP polls, dating to the 1998-99 season.

The Tide is the highest ranked of the league's teams at No. 2 AP/No. 4 ESPN/USA Today. Florida is ranked No. 13 in both polls. Kentucky is ranked No. 18 AP/No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, and Mississippi State at No. 16 AP/No. 17 ESPN/USA Today.

The SEC is the only league in the nation to have all of its teams ranked at least one week in the AP top 20 since 1997-98. Alabama spent 11 weeks in the AP poll in 2000-01, 12 weeks in 2001-02 and has been ranked all season so far in 2002-03.

Two Former Tide Players Coach Top 10 Ranked Teams

Alabama has three former players who coach college basketball teams. Two of those men have their teams currently ranked in the Top 10.

Tide head coach Mark Gottfried (1984-87) and Alabama are ranked No. 2 AP/No. 4 ESPN/USA Today. Indiana, coached by Mike Davis (1980-83), is ranked No. 6 in both polls.

Gary Elliott (1967-69) is the third former player who is now a head coach. He will retire at the end of this season at the University of North Alabama.

Bama's 7-game Win Streak Nation's 3rd Best

While there are several teams that are undefeated at this point, Alabama's seven wins ranks third nationally in Division I in the category of current "Winning Streak."

Tide Ranked in 5 NCAA Categories

The NCAA releases its Division I men's basketball stats every Tuesday, and the December 17 release found Alabama at five different spots. Alabama was one of 20 undefeated teams, which ranks it tied at first in the Won-Lost Percentage stat. Alabama ranked No. 15 in Field Goal Percentage Defense (36.9). Its 23 straight home wins ranked third as did its overall win streak.

And Erwin Dudley ranked 24th nationally in rebounding with his average of 10.3 rebounds a game after seven games.

Game Will Feature Two Double-Doublers

Both teams on Saturday feature a player averaging in double digits in both scoring and rebounding with Alabama's Erwin Dudley at 14.3 points and 10.3 rebounds and Providence's Ryan Gomes is averaging 18.8 points and 10.7 rebounds.

Three Tide Men Averaging In Double Digits

Alabama has three players who are averaging in double digits in scoring after seven games. Sophomore point guard Mo Williams leads Alabama in scoring with 15.4 points a game. Senior forward/center Kenny Walker is averaging 14.4 points a game and senior power forward Erwin Dudley is averaging 14.3.

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