Bama/Kentucky game notes

After playing three of its last four games on the road, the No. 15 AP/No. 13 ESPN/USA Today ranked University of Alabama men's basketball team returns home for two straight games. <br><br>The first of those finds Alabama facing No. 8 AP/No. 10 ESPN/USA Today ranked Kentucky on Saturday, January 25th.

Tip off in the University of Alabama's Coleman Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. CT. Alabama brings a 12-4 overall, 2-3 Southeastern Conference record into Saturday's game. Kentucky is 14-3 overall, 4-0 in league play.

Alabama follows Saturday with a brief break in play as there is no mid-week conference game scheduled. Following Saturday night's game against the Wildcats, next up on the Tide's schedule is LSU in Tuscaloosa at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday, February 1.

UPCOMING GAME: Kentucky, No. 8 AP/No. 10 ESPN
Saturday, January 25, 2003
Coleman Coliseum (15,316)

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

TICKETS: Sold out

UA HOME TICKETS: $17 adults/$8 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: ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (analyst)

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

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. 15 AP/ No. 13 ESPN ALABAMA (12-4 OVERALL, 2-3 SEC):

PF-35, Erwin Dudley, 6-8, 260, SR, Uniontown, 14.1 ppg/10.2 rpg
F- 02, Emmett Thomas, 6-4, 205, JR/TR, Birmingham, 6.8 ppg/2.3 rpg
C- 42, Kenny Walker, 6-9, 220, SR, Jacksonville, Florida, 11.6 ppg/5.6 rpg
G- 05, Earnest Shelton, 6-2, 205, SO, Memphis, Tennessee, 4.4 ppg/3.1 rpg
G- 25, Mo Williams, 6-1, 195, SO, Jackson, Mississippi, 15.4 ppg/4.0 rpg/4.4 apg

NO. 8 AP/NO. 10 ESPN KENTUCKY (14-3 OVERALL, 4-0 SEC)

F- 44, Chuck Hayes, 6-6, 247, SO, Modesto, California, 8.8 ppg/6.2 rpg
F- 14, Erik Daniels, 6-8, 214, JR, Cincinnati, Ohio, 9.8 ppg/5.7 rpg
C- 50, Marquis Estill, 6-9, 236, SR, Richmond, Kentucky, 11.1 ppg/5.5 rpg
G- 10, Keith Bogans, 6-5, 213, SR, Alexandria, Virginia, 17.1 ppg/3.2 rpg/3.2 apg
G- 04, Gerald Fitch, 6-3, 188, JR, Macon, Georgia, 12.1 ppg/2.7 rpg

Head Coaches

Alabama Head Coach MARK GOTTFRIED: 163-78(.676) in 7 complete seasons overall, 94-53 (.639%) 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.

Kentucky Head Coach TUBBY SMITH: 270-108 (.714%) in 12 seasons overall; 146-46 (.760) in 6th season at Kentucky; 1998 NCAA Champions as head coach at Kentucky; 8 NCAA tournament appearances, 4 at Kentucky, 2 at Georgia & 2 at Tulsa; 1998 SEC Co-Coach of the Year

Key Game Notes

  • Alabama has a 28-game home win streak in Coleman Coliseum going into this Kentucky game
  • Wildcats are the fourth nationally ranked team 'Bama has faced this season. (UA is 3-0 vs. ranked teams)
  • 125th meeting between the two teams; Kentucky leads series 91-33; Alabama has won last two games in series
  • Player of the Year candidate Erwin Dudley continues as the only SEC player averaging a double double (14.1 ppg/10.2 rpg)

Kentucky Series Dates to Lexington, Circa. 1923

Saturday night's men's basketball game between the University of Alabama and the University of Kentucky marks the 125th meeting on the hardwood between these two teams.

It is a series that began in Lexington, Kentucky in 1923 with a 45-35 win by Alabama. Since that time, Kentucky has dominated the win column, leading the series 91 wins to 33 by Alabama.

Mark Gottfried's teams have changed the series into giving Alabama the momentum. Alabama has won three of the last four, beginning in 1999, his first season coaching at Alabama, when the Tide knocked off a Top 10 ranked Kentucky team 62-58 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama lost in Lexington 66-54 the following season (2000, the year the Tide started then freshmen Erwin Dudley, Terrance Meade and Rod Grizzard-Kenny Walker was injured and sat out that game). Alabama has won the last two, taking a 70-60 win in Tuscaloosa in 2001 and a 64-61 win in Lexington in 2002, its first win in Lexington since 1989 (six trips).

Gottfried's teams have snapped a 10-game losing streak Alabama had to Kentucky from 1991 through 1998 (the win coming in 1999).

Tide Won Last Meeting

Because Alabama competes in the Southeastern Conference Western Division and Kentucky competes in the Eastern Division, the Tide and the Wildcats face one another only once each SEC regular season, swapping home and away sites.

In 2002 Alabama traveled to Lexington and Rupp Arena with its No. 14 ranking (both polls). It came away with a 64-61 win, its first in Lexington since 1989. Erwin Dudley led the charge with 16 points, and, coming off the bench and earning instant national recognition on the ESPN telecast was Antoine Pettway who scored 13 points and was 5 of 6 from the field, including two (of two attempted) from 3-point range. Kenny Walker had nine rebounds and 8 points in the game and Mo Williams, then a mere freshman making his first appearance in one of college basketball's most famous arenas, showed no signs of stage fright as he was 6 of 9 from the field and ended the game with 13 points.

Two key stat differentials in last season's game came at the 3-point line and in foul shooting. Kentucky was 7 of 30 from 3-point range. And Alabama went to the line 29 times, making 21 of those free throw shots. Kenny Walker was 6 of 6, Erwin Dudley 6 of 8 and Rod Grizzard 7 of 10 to lead the trips to the free throw line. Kentucky, on the other hand, was only granted eight trips in the game. It made six of those free throws attempted.

Two Former Georgia All-Star Teammates Re-Unite

Two one-time teammates will sit on opposite benches in Saturday night's Alabama vs. Kentucky game. Alabama junior guard Demetrius Smith and Kentucky junior guard Gerald Fitch were teammates on the 2000 Georgia All-Star team. Smith is from Hogansville, Ga. Fitch is from Macon, Ga.

'Cats are Fourth Ranked Team on Tide Schedule

Kentucky comes into Tuscaloosa with a No. 8 AP and No. 10 ESPN/USA Today ranking. It is the fourth ranked team the Crimson Tide has faced this season. Alabama has beaten the previous three:
  • Oklahoma No. 3 AP/No. 3 Coaches W 68-62
  • Xavier No. 19 AP/No. 19 Coaches W 65-58
  • Mississippi St No. 14 AP/No. 13 Coaches W 68-62

More ranked teams remain on the regular season schedule. Alabama is at No. 5 Florida on February 8, hosts No. 19 Georgia on February 18, plays for a second time No. 22 Mississippi State in Starkville on February 26 (MSU was not ranked when Alabama beat the Bulldogs on January 15), and the Tide will try and avenge a January 18th loss at No. 24 Auburn (Auburn's win against Alabama helped push it into the Top 25 for the first time this season this week) with a February 15 game in Tuscaloosa. (That means, were these same teams to remain in the AP rankings in the next few weeks, Alabama faces three ranked teams in a row in Florida (Feb. 8), Auburn (Feb. 15) and Georgia (Feb. 18) and a stretch where four of its five games were against ranked teams when you throw in those four plus the Feb. 26 date with Mississippi State. (Wedged in between is a Feb. 22 trip to Tennessee).

1st Foul Out Came 15 Games Into Season

Emmett Thomas fouled out with 5:38 remaining in the January 18 Auburn game. That marked the first time all season an Alabama player has fouled out. The last time an Alabama played had five fouls in a game was on March 8, 2002 in the quarterfinal of the SEC tournament when Kenny Walker fouled out with 3:23 remaining. It played four more games last season, making his foul out Alabama's first in 19 games.

Dudley Ranks 14th Nationally in Rebounding

The NCAA releases national Division I men's basketball statistics each Tuesday. In the January 20th statistics released by the NCAA for Division I, Bama's Erwin Dudley ranked 14th in the nation in rebounding.

Dudley League's Lone Double-Double Man

Erwin Dudley continues to be the only player in the SEC who is averaging in double digits in both scoring and rebounding as he has been since mid-December. The 2002 SEC Player of the Year averages 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. Those 10.1 rebounds per game continue to lead the SEC. Dudley, the 2002 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and the SEC Coaches' votes, was the league's rebounding champion in 2001 and 2002.

Kenny Walker Ranks 28th Nationally in Blocks

In the NCAA weekly stats released on January 21st, 2003, Bama's Kenny Walker ranked 28th in Division I in blocked shots per game with an average of 2.2 blocks.

Bama a Staple in the Rankings

Alabama was ranked 11 weeks in the 2000-01 Associated Press Top 25, 12 weeks in 2001-02 and the entire season so far in 2002-03.

Williams Has Scored Double Digits in 14 of 16 Games

Mo Williams charged into his sophomore season by scoring in double digits in 14 of Alabama's 16 games. (He scored 8 against Arkansas & 9 at Ole Miss). He's leading Alabama with 15.4 points a game. The Jackson, Miss., native has scored 20 or more points in four games with 25 to open his sophomore year against now No. 9 Oklahoma, 20 against Alabama State, 21 against Morehead State and 23 at Vanderbilt.

Bobbleheads & Lunch Boxes are Upcoming Home Gifts

Early arrivals at Alabama's home games will receive some fun collectibles in the next few weeks. Tentatively scheduled are Terrance Meade bobble head dolls at the Georgia game on February 18th, Kenny Walker bobble head dolls at the Ole Miss game on March 2nd and UA basketball metal lunch boxes at the South Carolina game on March 5th

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