Bama/Xavier game notes

The No. 1 ranked University of Alabama men's basketball team rings in the New Year with a nationally ranked opponent when the Crimson Tide, 9-1, plays host to No. 19 Xavier, 9-2, on Saturday, January 4, 2003. <br><br>Tip-off in the University of Alabama's Coleman Coliseum (15,043) is set for 4 p.m. CT.

UPCOMING GAME: No. 19 Xavier
Saturday, January 4, 2003
Coleman Coliseum (15,316)
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

TIP-OFF TIME: 4:00 p.m. CT

TICKETS: Limited amount 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 www.rolltide.com

TV: Fox Sports Net with Dave Neal and Barry Booker

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 www.rolltide.com)
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 www.rolltide.com;
UA basketball is also featured on on www.markgottfried.com

Probable Starters

No. 1 AP/ No. 3 ESPN ALABAMA (9-1 OVERALL, 0-0 SEC):

PF- 35, Erwin Dudley, 6-8, 260, SR, Uniontown, 13.5 ppg/10.2 rpg
F- 02, Emmett Thomas, 6-4, 205, JR/TR, Birmingham, 5.9 ppg/2.2 rpg
C- 42, Kenny Walker, 6-9, 220, SR, Jacksonville, Florida, 14.0 ppg/6.5 rpg
G- 14, Terrance Meade, 6-2, 190, SR, Scottsboro, 6.2 ppg/3.2 rpg
G- 25, Mo Williams, 6-1, 195, SO, Jackson, Mississippi, 16.3 ppg/4.5 rpg/5.1 apg

No. 19 XAVIER MUSKETEERS (9-2 OVERALL, 0-0 ATLANTIC 10)

F- 25, Keith Jackson, 6-5, 215, SO, Cincinnati, Ohio, 4.3 ppg/2.1 rpg
F- 30, David West, 6-9, 240, SR, Garner, North Carolina, 19.7 ppg/10.9 rpg/2.4 apg
C- 24, Anthony Myles, 6-9, 245, JR, Chicago, Illinois, 8.2 ppg/4.5 rpg
G- 10, Romain Sato, 6-5, 205, JR, Central African Republic, 15.3 ppg/7.7 rpg
G- 12, Dedrick Finn, 6-1, 180, FR, Newburgh, Indiana, 5.0 ppg/2.2 rpg

Head Coaches

Alabama Head Coach MARK GOTTFRIED: 160-75 (.681%) in 7 complete seasons overall, 91-50 (.645%) 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...Coached Bama to its 1st No. 1 ranking...Born January 20, 1964 in Crestline, Ohio.

Xavier Head Coach THAD MATTA: 59-16 (.787%) in 3rd season overall, 35-8 (.814%) in 2nd season at Xavier; 2002 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year; 2000-01 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year at Butler; 2002 Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament champions; 2002 NCAA tournament; 2001 Midwestern conference champs at Butler; 1990 Butler grad

Key Game Notes

  • Game features two national player of the year candidates in Alabama's Erwin Dudley and Xavier's David West
  • Series is tied at 1-1 with last meeting in 1986, Mark Gottfried' s junior season, with UA NCAA tourney win in Charlotte, N.C.

Xavier Marks 2nd Ranked Opponent to Date

Alabama will play No. 19 Xavier on Saturday. The only other ranked team Alabama has played so far this season is Oklahoma who was No. 3 when the Tide defeated the Sooners 68-62 in Alabama's season opener on November 14. Oklahoma is now No. 10 AP/No. 11 ESPN/USA Today.

Still ahead on Alabama's schedule lies No. 8 AP/No. 10 ESPN/USA Today Mississippi State (January 15 and February 26th); No. 12 AP/No. 13 ESPN/USA Today Florida (February 8); No. 20 AP/No. 21 ESPN/USA Today Kentucky (January 25); and No. 21 AP/No. 25 ESPN/USA Today LSU (February 1 and March 8). Also looming on the horizon is a team receiving votes in both polls, Georgia (February 18).

That makes for a regular season schedule that includes six, possibly seven, Top 25 teams-and Alabama plays two of those Top 25 ranked teams twice.

Xavier Marks 2nd Atlantic 10 Opponent For Tide

Xavier marks the second team from the Atlantic 10 Conference Alabama will have played this season. Alabama played host to St. Bonaventure on December 7th and won that home game 77-68.

St. Bonaventure is one of two opponents these two teams share this season. Alabama's Southeastern Conference West foe Mississippi State was Xavier's December 14th opponent at Madison Square Garden. Mississippi State won that game 71-61. Alabama plays the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa on January 15 and in Starkville on February 26.

Both teams also share a neutral site. Alabama played in New York City's Madison Square Garden against Oklahoma on November 14, one month to the date before Xavier played Mississippi State at that same renowned arena.

Basketball Fans Will See Two Player of Year Candidates

Basketball fans will get a simultaneous glimpse at two of the men who are John R. Wooden and Naismith National Player of the Year candidates on Saturday. The Crimson Tide's roster includes 6-9 senior power forward Erwin Dudley and the Musketeers' roster features 6-9 senior forward David West.

Both are averaging in double digits in both scoring and rebounding. Dudley averages 13.5 points and 10.2 rebounds for Alabama. West is averaging 19.7 points and 10.9 rebounds a game this season.

Both Teams Have Nine Wins

While Xavier has played one more game up to this point than Alabama, both teams have nine wins going into Saturday's match up in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama is 9-1, suffering its first blemish on Monday, December 30 when it lost 51-49 at Utah. The Tide's wins this season include, in order, Oklahoma (68-62), Alabama State (82-56), Middle Tennessee State (80-65), Ohio State (54-48), UNC Greensboro (89-61), St. Bonaventure (77-68), Bowling Green (72-63), Providence (69-61), and Morehead State (82-64).

Xavier comes into Tuscaloosa with a 9-2 overall record which includes having won its last four straight. The losses were to Stanford (at Stanford) 63-62 on November 20 and to No. 8 AP/No. 10 ESPN/USA Today Mississippi State 71-61 in New York on December 14. Its wins include, in order, Saint Peter's (87-48), Florida A&M (93-64), Purdue (74-59), Cincinnati (50-44), Miami of Ohio (68-58), Ball State (87-58), Siena (96-88), Eastern Kentucky (84-60) and Creighton (75-73).

Both teams open their conference season after this game, with Alabama hosting Arkansas on January 8 in Tuscaloosa at 7 p.m. CT and Xavier hosting Richmond on January 7 at 7 p.m. ET.

Tide's Kenny Walker Is SEC Player of the Week

Kenny Walker doesn't have a car, and, because the Tide only had two days off-Christmas Eve and Christmas Day-for the holidays, he wasn't able to go all the way home to Jacksonville, Fla., to see his family this Christmas. (He went home with teammate Evan Brock instead).

But his holidays perked up on December 30 when Alabama's 6-9 senior forward/center learned his personal sacrifices have been worth his on-the-court efforts. Walker was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week this week.

Walker's strong play this season has been critical to the team's success and its climb to No. 1 in the AP poll, the University of Alabama's highest ranking ever. Walker was lauded for his December 23rd game against Morehead State where he scored 24 points, had seven rebounds and blocked a career high six shots.

December was a good month for Walker who received another honor earlier in the month when he received the MVP award at the Coors Classic for his play against Bowling Green. During the month of December, he averaged 15.5 points (it was 19.3 going into the Utah game), scoring, in order 17 against UNC Greensboro (in just 20 minutes of play) on December 3; 12 points (to go along with 10 rebounds) against St. Bonaventure on December 7; a career high 25 points against Bowling Green (plus 7 rebounds and five blocks) on December 14; 9 points (3 blocks and six rebounds) against Providence on December 21st; 24 points (7 boards and 6 blocks) against Morehead State on December 23rd; and he had six points (6 rebounds and two blocks) in Alabama's December 30th game at Utah. After 10 games, Walker is averaging 14.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game.

Dudley & West a Double-Double Threat

In addition to sharing national player of the year candidacy, and both being their league's Player of the year in 2002, Alabama's Erwin Dudley and Xavier's David West were both among the five men selected to the Associated Press's preseason All-America team.

The two are a double threat to opponents. West leads the NCAA in career double doubles (points and rebounds) with 53 going into Saturday's game. Dudley has 37 career double doubles going into this game. And here are some other similarities:

  • Erwin Dudley has started in every game Alabama has played since he was a freshman, 110. West has started in all 105 games of his Xavier career. Both could set their school's records for career starts.
  • Erwin Dudley ranks 14th all-time in scoring at Alabama with 1,481 career points and is 110 points from tying Robert Horry to move into the top 10 scorers all-time at Alabama and has at least 18 more games to score the 380 points he'd need to move into Alabama's top five...David West has 1,705 career points which ranks him 8th at Xavier all-time.
  • Erwin Dudley has 1,010 career rebounds, which ranks 6th all-time at Alabama-two more Saturday pushes him into the top five...David West also has reached that milestone with his 1,050 career rebounds which places him at No. 4 at Xavier
  • Erwin Dudley led the SEC in rebounding as a sophomore and again as a junior last season...David West has led the Atlantic 10 in rebounding the last three seasons.

Tide Spends Second Week at No. 1

Though its two-point loss at Utah may change its status when the next ranking comes out on Monday, January 6, Alabama has spent the past two weeks at an unprecedented No. 1 in the Associated Press national rankings. Mark Gottfried's 2002-03 team made school history on December 23 when AP voted it the nation's No. 1 team. Alabama remained at that top spot when this week's rankings were released on December 30th.

It's Been 17 Years Since These Two Played Each Other

Saturday's meeting between the Tide and the Musketeers marks only the third time ever these two teams have played one another in men's basketball.

The series, which is expected to continue at Xavier next season, is tied at 1-1. The first meeting was at Xavier in 1936. Xavier won 35-21. The second, and last meeting, took place in the first round of the 1986 NCAA tournament in Charlotte, N.C. Alabama won that game 97-80. Alabama went to the NCAA Sweet 16 that year, defeating Xavier, then Illinois before falling to Kentucky in the Atlanta regional.

Gottfried Has Played (Literally) This Opponent Before

The last time Alabama and Xavier played one another was 1986, the year current Tide head coach Mark Gottfried was a junior starting guard on the Alabama basketball team.

Alabama played Xavier in the first round of the 1986 NCAA tournament in Charlotte, N.C. Gottfried started that game and would play 20 minutes of the 97-80 UA win. He scored six of those points, making three of his six shots from the field. He also had two assists and one steal (and, yes, one turnover) in the game.

Alabama's win was led by Gottfried's roommate, Jim Farmer who scored 24 points in a performance that helped propel him into becoming a first round NBA draft pick by the Dallas Mavericks that spring. Farmer scored 15 of those points in the first half, making 10 of 15 from the field by game's end and also grabbing seven rebounds. Buck Johnson, who is still playing professional basketball, first in the NBA and now in Greece 17 years later, scored 22 points and had 7 rebounds. Three more Alabama players joined that duo in double digit scoring in the win (four were starters) as Derrick McKey (of NBA Indiana Pacers' fame) had 16 points, Terry Coner had 14 points and nine assists, and Michael Ansley came off the Bama bench and scored 10 points and grabbed a team-leading nine rebounds.

That Alabama team, coached by Wimp Sanderson, included four future NBA players in Farmer, McKey, Johnson and Ansley.

Xavier's individual scoring output was also impressive as Richie Harris had 24 points and 11 rebounds. Byron Larkin had 23 points (10 of 26 from the field), and Eddie Johnson had 15 points and 9 rebounds for the Musketeers. And, though Ralph Lee had only two points himself, the starter dished out nine assists in that game.

Utes Hand Tide Its First Loss

Alabama is attempting to rebound from its first loss of the season. After opening the year at 9-0, Alabama fell 51-49 at Utah on Monday night, December 30th.

Mo Williams led the game's scoring with 15 points, and sophomore Earnest Shelton had one of the night's brighter moments as he came off the bench and scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Shelton's play kept him on the floor for 30 minutes. He was 5 of 10 from the field.

Utah was led by 13 points from Nick Jacobson.


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