Bama/Arkansas game notes

The University of Alabama men's basketball team, 13-5 overall and 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference, hits the road for two games this week. <br><br>The first stop is Fayetteville, Arkansas where the Tide takes on the Arkansas Razorbacks, 6-11 overall and 1-5 in league plays. Tip-off in Bud Walton Arena is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5, 2003.

Alabama remains on the road Saturday, February 8 when it plays Florida in Gainesville, for a noon CT CBS game. The Gators are 18-2 overall and perfect in league play with their 7-0 SEC record.

Both games, at Arkansas and at Florida, are sold out.

UPCOMING GAME: at Arkansas
Wednesday, February 5, 2003
Bud Walton Arena (19,200)

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

TICKETS: Sold Out

TV: Jefferson-Pilot with Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Barry Booker (analyst)

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

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.22 AP/No. 20 ESPN ALABAMA (13-5 OVERALL, 3-4 SEC):

PF-35, Erwin Dudley, 6-8, 260, SR, Uniontown, 13.6 ppg/10.2 rpg
F- 02, Emmett Thomas, 6-4, 205, JR/TR, Birmingham, 6.9 ppg/2.3 rpg
C- 42, Kenny Walker, 6-9, 220, SR, Jacksonville, Florida, 11.4 ppg/6.1 rpg
G- 14, Terrance Meade, 6-2, 190, SR, Scottsboro, 4.2 ppg/2.9 rpg
G- 25, Mo Williams, 6-1, 195, SO, Jackson, Mississippi, 15.7 ppg/4.0 rpg/4.4 apg

ARKANSAS (6-11 OVERALL, 1-5 SEC)

F-01, Michael Jones, 6-9, 220, SO, Little Rock, Arkansas, 6.0 ppg/3.1 rpg
F- 31, Alonzo Lane, 6-7, 248, SR, Canton, Mississippi, 5.2 ppg/3.6 rpg
F- 33, Dionisio Gomez, 6-8, 218, SR, Panama City, Florida, 10.7 ppg/7.5 rpg
G- 11, Eric Ferguson, 6-1, 196, FR, Long Island, NY, 11.4 ppg/3.4 rpg/3.4 apg
G- 24, Jonathon Modica, 6-4, 198, FR, Smackover, Arkansas, 11.6 ppg/4.3 rpg

Head Coaches

Alabama Head Coach MARK GOTTFRIED: 164-79 (.675) in 7 complete seasons overall, 95-54 (.638%) 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.

Arkansas Head Coach STAN HEATH: 36-17 (.679) in 2nd season overall, 6-11 (.353) in 1st season at Arkansas; NCAA Elite 8 in 1st season as a head coach at Kent State in 2002; 2002 MAC Coach of the Year

Key Game Notes

  • It's the 2nd meeting this season between the two schools; Alabama won 61-51 in Tuscaloosa on January 8
  • Arkansas leads the overall series 20-15
  • Alabama's last win in Fayetteville was in 1999, Mark Gottfried's 1st season at Alabama (on his 35th birthday)
  • SEC Player of the Year candidate Erwin Dudley pulled into the top 10 all-time scorer's at Alabama on Saturday, February 1 with his 14 points vs. LSU
  • Dudley has 1,591 career points, ranking 10th with Robert Horry
  • Dudley is averaging the double double this season with 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, the only player in the SEC to accomplish that feat.

Tide Getting Used to Sold Out Arenas

The Southeastern Conference is experiencing one of its strongest seasons (seven teams have been ranked in the Top 25), and fans are flocking to the league's arenas.

Alabama is amidst a stretch where six of seven games have or will have been played in front of sell out crowds.

The trend started at Auburn (10,500) on January 18. Wedged in, on January 21st was a date with Ole Miss in Oxford with fell 500 tickets short of a sellout (8,206 sold-it holds 8,700). Alabama then played back-to-back sellout games at home (15,316), first with Kentucky on January 25 and then with LSU on February 1. Both games this week are sold out, at Arkansas (19,200) and at Florida (12,000).

And when Alabama returns home from Gainesville it will prepare to host Auburn on February 15-in front of another sold-out arena.

All seven of these games have/will be televised. CBS has the Florida game, ESPN the Ole Miss and Kentucky games, JP the Auburn (road) and Arkansas games, Fox Sports Net the LSU game, and the Auburn game in Tuscaloosa will be available on pay per view to those who don't have a ticket.

Two Road, Two Home, Two Road...

Alabama's schedule over a five week period, dating to January 18th, has found it playing two road games followed by two home games, followed by two road games, followed by two home games, followed by two road games, followed by two home games....

Arkansas Game Begins Round Two in League Play

Wednesday night's game at Arkansas beings round two of Southeastern Conference Western Division play for the Crimson Tide. Alabama opened 2003 SEC play against the Razorbacks in Tuscaloosa on January 8 and won that game 61-51.

Alabama plays each team from the SEC West (Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State) twice each SEC regular season and plays the Eastern Division teams (Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt) once each regular season.

The Tide, winners of both the 2002 SEC Regular Season and Western Division, has its work cut out in the title chase. Alabama is 3-4 in league play, trailing Auburn (4-3) in the West. Here's how the league shapes up going into Tuesday (February 4) and Wednesday's games.

Arkansas Leads the Series

Arkansas was a late arriver to the Southeastern Conference, joining, along with South Carolina, in the 1991-92 season 11 years ago. Long before Arkansas joined the SEC, however, it played the Crimson Tide in men's basketball.

Alabama and Arkansas first played one another in 1948 in Memphis. Arkansas won that game 42-35. Wednesday night's game marks the 35th meeting in men's basketball between the two schools. Arkansas leads the series 20-14.

The last nine years in the series have seen major swings. Alabama won four straight from 1998-2000, but Arkansas has won four out of the last five, dating to the second meeting of the 2000 season.

Last season the Tide and the Razorbacks split with Alabama dominating in Tuscaloosa with a 109-84 win only to fall a few weeks later 67-59 in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville, as is the trend in college basketball, has not been friendly to visitors of late, and no one feels that stat more than Alabama. Alabama's last win there was in 1999 when Mark Gottfried celebrated his 35th birthday with at 67-60 win there. Alabama has come out on the short end of the score in its last three trips there.

Following is a quick series breakdown:

Series Record: Arkansas 20 wins, Alabama 15 wins
Streak: Teams split in 2002
In Tuscaloosa: Alabama leads 10-4
In Fayetteville: Arkansas leads 9-3
Neutral Sites: Arkansas leads 8-2

Gottfried 1-1 Vs. Stan Heath

University of Alabama head coach and Arkansas head coach Stan Heath are 1-1 against one another in head-to-head coaching.

Alabama was a 61-51 winner against the Razorbacks in the first meeting of the 2003 season, Heath's first as head coach at Arkansas.

Heath came to Arkansas after one season as head coach at Kent State, the team the knocked Alabama out of the 2002 NCAA tournament in the second round (71-58).

Walker's 23rd on February 4

Who knew that their little bundle of joy would grow up to be 6-foot-9? On Tuesday Kenneth Walker III and Janice Lee Walker will celebrate the 23rd birthday of their little bundle and first born, Kenny, a senior on the Tide squad. Kenny was born on February 4, 1980 in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. Born Kenneth L. Walker IV, and called "Junior" at times growing up, Kenny has two younger sisters, Tiffany and Johneisha.

He'll get to return to his home state of Florida during his birthday week as family and friends will join him and cheer him on in Gainesville Saturday when Alabama plays at Florida.

Dudley Moves into Tide's All-Time Top 10 Scorers

Complements of his 14 points against LSU on Saturday (Feb. 1), Tide senior Erwin Dudley moved into a tie for 10th place all-time in scoring at Alabama.

He's in some pretty good company at that No. 10 spot. Dudley is tied with five time NBA World Champion Robert Horry. Horry, who played at Alabama from 1989-92 (4 years) scored 1,591 points. Dudley has nine more regular season games to go and is already at 1,591 points.

Tide Continues Morning Wake-Up Calls

While the rest of campus sleeps, the University of Alabama's men's basketball players have been hard at work in the last week and a half. Starting Monday, January 27th, the Tide team has been practicing in the mornings instead of the afternoons. Practice starts promptly at 5:45 a.m., though Mark Gottfried's "advice" to his players is that the ones who want to win will be on the floor and sweating earlier. All 14 of his players were on the floor and sweating 30 minutes prior to the start of Alabama's first morning practice, a feat they've continued each morning since.

The early morning practices are causing alarms to shriek in the wee hours. Certified Athletic Trainer John Morr has to get up at 3:00 and is on the job by 4 a.m. preparing the training room. The first players to arrive are typically Erwin Dudley and Earnest Shelton who are usually in the training room getting taped and worked on around 4:40 a.m.

Gottfried hasn't decided how long the team will continue this practice time slot but has decided he likes the effort and the attitude his players have had about the changeup. In fact, in the locker room following Alabama's 75-66 win against LSU-a win that snapped a three game losing streak---Gottfried finished his post game talk and then added, as he always does, the start time of their next practice. When he said, "Monday morning, 5:45 a.m." his players actually greeted the news with a cheer and applause, and many grins.

Williams is League's Most Accurate FT Shooter

Alabama sophomore guard Mo Williams has the most accurate touch in the Southeastern Conference when it comes to shooting free throws. Williams leads the league in free throw percentage. Going into this week's round of games, the Jackson, Miss., native was shooting 84.3%, having made 59 of 70 attempts. His older teammate, Kenny Walker, joins him among the best in the stat. Walker ranks 7th in the SEC at 76.)%, having made 57 of 75.

Dudley 12th Nationally in Rebounding

The NCAA releases national Division I men's basketball statistics each Tuesday. In the January 28th statistics released by the NCAA for Division I, Bama's Erwin Dudley ranked 12th in the nation in rebounding.

Dudley Still 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. He averages 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. His rebounding continues to lead the SEC in both the all-games and SEC vs. SEC (10.3 rpg) categories. 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.

Dudley Is UA's 4th All-Time Best Rebounder

Erwin Dudley climbed to No. 4 all-time in rebounding at Alabama with the 14 boards he got in the January 8 Arkansas game. Dudley now has 1,092 career rebounds at Alabama which ranks him fourth all-time (though the third-best total as two are tied for 2nd) at this school which has produced 14 NBA 1st round draft picks.

His next target includes two of Alabama's all-time greatest players, Reggie King who had 1,279 rebounds during his 1976-79 UA career, and Alabama's 1st NBA 1st rounder, Leon Douglas who had 1,279 rebounds during his 1973-76 UA career. That duo is tied for 2nd all-time at Alabama. Dudley would need 185 rebounds to tie that duo.

Kenny Walker Ranks 30th Nationally in Blocks

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

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