Bama/MSU game notes

Game three of the Crimson Tide's 2003 Southeastern Conference slate finds the University of Alabama facing its third Top 25 ranked team this season when the Tide plays host to the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Wednesday, January 15, 2003. <br><br>Tip-off in Coleman Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. CT.

As of early in the week, some tickets remained and were available through Alabama's athletic ticket office.

Alabama is 11-2 overall and 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference with a 61-51 home win against Arkansas and a 70-69 loss at Vanderbilt. Mississippi State is 10-3 overall and 0-2 in league play with losses to Florida and at LSU.

UPCOMING GAME: Mississippi State
Wednesday, January 18, 2003
Coleman Coliseum (15,316 capacity)

TIP-OFF TIME: 7:00 p.m. CT

TICKETS: Available

UA HOME TICKETS: $18 adults/$9 youth;
Buy at UA box office in Coleman Coliseum; or 205-348-BAMA;
or www.rolltide.com;
(Kentucky, Auburn & LSU home games are sold out)

TV: Jefferson Pilot Sports with Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Larry Conley (color analyst)

UA WEEKLY TV: "Crimson Tide This Week" with host David Crane: Check local listings on CSS
"The Mark Gottfried Show" on CSS with host Tom Roberts, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. CT

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. 9 AP/ No. 10 ESPN ALABAMA (11-2 OVERALL, 1-1 SEC):

PF- 35, Erwin Dudley, 6-8, 260, SR, Uniontown, 13.3 ppg/10.4 rpg
F- 03, Kennedy Winston, 6-7, 200, FR, Prichard, 10.0 ppg/3.5 rpg
C- 42, Kenny Walker, 6-9, 220, SR, Jacksonville, Florida, 12.5 ppg/5.8 rpg
G- 14, Terrance Meade, 6-2, 190, SR, Scottsboro, 5.1 ppg/2.8 rpg
G- 25, Mo Williams, 6-1, 195, SO, Jackson, Mississippi, 16.2 ppg/4.2 rpg/4.8 apg

No. 14 AP/No. 13 ESPN MISSISSIPPI STATE (10-3 OVERALL, 0-2 SEC)

F- 31, Ontario Harper, 6-5, 210, SO, Clinton, Mississippi, 7.8 ppg/6.6 rpg
F- 44, Michal Ignerski, 6-10, 225, SR, Lublin, Poland, 10.4 ppg/5.6 rpg
C- 33, Mario Austin, 6-9, 260, JR, York, 19.7 ppg/9.4 rpg
G- 15, Timmy Bowers, 6-2, 180, JR, Gulfport, Mississippi, 15.3 ppg/3.8 rpg
G- 22, Derrick Zimmerman, 6-3, 195, SR, Monroe, Louisiana, 9.4 ppg/3.8 rpg/5.0 apg

Head Coaches

Alabama Head Coach MARK GOTTFRIED: 162-76 (.681%) in 7 complete seasons overall, 93-51 (.646%) 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.

Mississippi State Head Coach RICK STANSBURY: 89-53 (.626%) in 5 seasons overall and at MSU; 1 NCAA tournament appearance (2002); Two NIT appearances (1999 & 2001); 2002 SEC Tournament champions

Key Game Notes

  • The Bulldogs are the third Top 25 team Alabama has faced this season; Bama has wins over the other two, Oklahoma & Xavier
  • It's the 168th meeting in a series that dates to 1913 in Starkville; Alabama leads the series 104-63; Last year these two played three times with Alabama winning in Tuscaloosa but falling in Starkville and in Atlanta in the SEC tourney final
  • Bama's Erwin Dudley continues his double-double with averages of 13.3 ppg and 10.4 rpg
  • Alabama Basketball trading cards will be given away to a limited number of early arrivals at the MSU game

Trading Cards Will Be Given Away

Fans that are among the first through the doors at Wednesday night's game will go home with a souvenir. A limited number of Alabama Basketball trading cards will be given out at the door. The set features individual trading cards of the Tide's players on this 2002-03 team.

Bulldogs are 3rd Ranked Team Tide Has Played

Both teams playing in this game have celebrated milestones this season as regards their national ranking. Alabama reached its highest ranking ever at No. 1 where it remained for two weeks in the December 23, 2002 and December 30, 2002 Associated Press rankings.

Mississippi State's stop at No. 7 in the January 6, 2002 marked the highest the Bulldogs have been ranked since it finished 6th in the final 1962-63 AP season rankings. (MSU's highest AP ranking is No. 3 in 1958-59).

Both teams lost SEC games on Saturday, Alabama on the road at Vanderbilt by one (70-69) and Mississippi State on the road at LSU (85-72) and dropped in the rankings, Alabama from No. 4 in both polls last week to No. 9 AP and No. 10 ESPN/USA Today. MSU is now at No. 14 AP after being No. 7 last week, and is at No. 13 ESPN/USA Today.

Alabama has played two teams already that were ranked in the Top 25. Alabama beat then No. 3 Oklahoma 68-62 in its season opener on November 14 and defeated then No. 19 Xavier 65-58 on January 4, 2003. Oklahoma is now at No. 5 in both polls. Xavier has dropped out of the AP poll and is No. 23 in this week's ESPN/USA Today rankings.

Series Dates to 1913

Wednesday night's game will mark the 168th meeting in men's basketball between Alabama and Mississippi State. The series dates to 1913 and the first game in Starkville, Miss., which was won by Mississippi State 26-21. The first six times these teams ever played one another, the game took place in Starkville where the Bulldogs won four of the six.

Alabama leads the series 104 wins to 63 by MSU. Alabama leads 66-12 in games played in Tuscaloosa and has won the last three games in Tuscaloosa between these two SEC Western Division teams. Mississippi State leads 49 wins to 32 in games played in Starkville. And the series record at neutral sites finds Alabama leading the series six wins to two.

  • Series Record: UA 104 wins, MSU 63 wins
  • Streak: MSU has won last two
  • In Tuscaloosa: UA leads 66 to 12
  • In Starkville: MSU leads 49-32
  • Neutral Sites: UA leads 6 to 2

Teams Met Three Times Last Season

Because they both compete in the SEC's Western Division, Alabama and Mississippi State play one another twice each SEC regular season, swapping home and away trips. The teams split last season with Alabama beating the Bulldogs 85-73 in Tuscaloosa but falling 76-62 in Starkville.

They met up a third time at the 2002 SEC Tournament where the Bulldogs kept Mark Gottfried from re-living a repeat of his 1987 senior season at Alabama. Last season Alabama won the SEC regular season championship, as it did when he was a starting guard in 1987. Alabama advanced to the 2002 SEC Tournament championship, an event Gottfried and his Tide teammates won in 1987 to go along with the regular season title. But a repeat scenario was not in the cards in 2002 as the Bulldogs beat Alabama 61-58 in the SEC Championship final in Atlanta.

Dudley Shone in All Three Meetings Last Season

Alabama and Mississippi State played one another three times last season, twice in the regular season and in the SEC tournament's championship game. All three times the Tide was led by power forward and 2002 SEC Player of the Year Erwin Dudley.

In the first meeting on January 19, 2002 in Tuscaloosa, Dudley had 24 points and 10 rebounds in front of the sold out Coleman Coliseum crowd of 15,316 in the 85-73 UA win. When Alabama traveled to Starkville for the February 9, 2002 match-up, Dudley scored 23 points and had 8 rebounds in the 76-62 MSU win. And Dudley led Alabama with 18 points in the 61-58 SEC final loss to MSU.

Gottfried Used To Play in this Series

Mark Gottfried is 3-6 against Mississippi State as a head coach at Alabama. Gottfried also played against the Bulldogs when he was a starting guard for the Crimson Tide from 1984-87.

The first time he ever played against Mississippi State, he scored 27 points, though Alabama would lose the January 1985 home game 71-67 despite his effort. Gottfried scored 19 of those points in the second half to help Alabama come back from a 33-20 halftime deficit. He was 12 of 20 from the field and made all three of his foul shots. He scored 11 points at home in a 72-54 UA win in 1986, his junior season. He had six steals in that game as well. Gottfried had 10 points and five rebounds in a 64-49 win in Tuscaloosa his senior season in 1987 and closed out the series in grand style on February 4, 1987 when he made six 3-pointers---ever basket he made that day was a trey---to scored 18 points to lead Alabama in a 76-55 win in Starkville. He was 6 of 8 from the field that day.

During his playing career, Alabama was 6-2 against the Bulldogs.

Williams Has Link to This One

Alabama sophomore guard Mo Williams loves this series-as well as the Ole Miss series---since he's a Mississippi native. Williams says when he went home for Christmas his friends in Jackson were excited about the then No. 1 ranking for the Crimson Tide, but everywhere he went, he says, they were talking about this January 15 date with the Bulldogs. (And naturally all wanted Mo to get them tickets to the game).

While the Bulldogs don't sport any players on their roster from Jackson, two come from nearby Clinton, junior center Lincoln Smith and sophomore forward Ontario Harper. He and Harper have played many a pickup game together. And he and Smith were teammates playing AAU ball together. And Williams played against junior guard Timmy Bowers of Gulfport's Harrison Central in the high school state championship game. Harrison Central beat Murrah, Williams' team, in overtime in that game.

Pettway's Status Questionable

Junior guard Antoine Pettway's status for Wednesday night's game is "questionable". The Alberta native sustained a "mild to moderate" right ankle sprain in the late in Saturday night's game at Vanderbilt. He returned to practice on Monday but was held out of some drills.

Pettway was in a great deal of pain when he came down on the foot and sprained the ankle, and, because of the set-up of Vanderbilt's arena---the visiting bench is behind the basket---faced the daunting task of having to walk to the locker room which was off the opposite end of the court at the end of the game. But to his rescue came his freshman teammate, 6-foot-8 forward Chuck Davis. Davis scooped up the six-foot Pettway, ice bag on foot and all, and carried him across the court to the locker room.

Teams Have Two Non-Conference Opponents in Common

While Alabama and Mississippi State are more than familiar with the teams they both face in the Southeastern Conference, these two teams shared two non-conference opponents this season. Both played Xavier and Oklahoma.

Alabama beat Oklahoma 68-62 and Xavier 65-58. Mississippi State beat Oklahoma 54-45 and beat Xavier 71-61.

Mississippi's Player of the Year on Either Side of Ball

Two men who were named the state of Mississippi's Player of the Year are represented on either side of the ball in this game. Alabama sophomore point guard Mo Williams was the 2001 Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year. He was also a McDonald's All-American who averaged 26.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists a game his senior year at Murrah High School in Jackson, Mississippi.

MSU junior guard Timmy Bowers was the 2000 Mississippi Player of the Year by USA Today. He averaged 22.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists at Gulfport's Harrison Central.

...As Are Two McDonald's All-Americans

Alabama's starting point guard, sophomore Mo Williams was a McDonald's All-American in 2001. MSU's Mario Austin, an Alabama native out of York, was a 2000 McDonald's All-American.

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