The Clemson men's basketball team released their non-conference schedule today. As a result, we now know when (and where) they will play Alabama. The game will take place at Legacy Arena in Birmingham on Sunday, December 18. This will be the return game of the home-and-home series between the two schools. For Alabama, it will be their second consecutive year playing a home game off-campus. Last season, they played Oregon in Legacy Arena.
I really like the idea of at least one off-campus game per year for Alabama. The game against Oregon last year was great, despite the team losing the game. The environment was really good. In fact, I think the crowd on hand was arguably the best home crowd Alabama had all season. And the fact that the opponents so far for these games in Birmingham have been strong opponents has not hurt the appeal of the event. Last season, Oregon was the eventual Pac 12 Champion and a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson could be a sleeper in the ACC next season thanks to the return of Jaron Blossomgame, a 1st team All-ACC selection last season, who went through the draft process, but elected to return for his senior season. And it would not surprise me if Texas is the opponent for the off-campus game next season, assuming the reports that both schools have agreed to a home-and-home series beginning this season are true. My schedule rarely allows me to return to the great state, but I am really hoping to get to Birmingham this season for that game. In interviews over the summer with the local media, Avery has suggested the location for the off-campus games could change occasionally. Huntsville was mentioned by Avery, but I imagine Mobile could also be a possibility in the years ahead.
In other news: The Alabama women's basketball team have released their non-conference schedule for 2016. The ladies will return to Coleman Coliseum for their home games after spending recent seasons in Foster Auditorium. I think this is great for the women's team; all Bama basketball teams should play on the same court. Kristy Curry enters her fourth season as head coach. It's been a challenge for Curry so far in rebuilding the program (a record of 42-51 in three seasons), but the hope is that the women's team can begin to take a necessary step forward this season. Season tickets are now on sale. I suspect we shall see some doubleheaders with the men's team in Coleman this season.
For God's sake, stay Buckled Up!