The bracket for the 2018 Charleston Classic was released today.
The bracket for the 2018 @ESPNCharleston Classic has been revealed! #Alabama will take on Northeastern on Nov. 15 at 1 pm CT on @ESPNU. Full story to come!#RollTide pic.twitter.com/Sf3sTAIFlg— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) July 11, 2018
Alabama's first opponent in the event will be Northeastern. The Huskies finished 23-10 last season, won a share of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title, but lost to Charleston in the title game of the CAA tournament. Unfortunately, despite a strong season, the Huskies did not participate in a postseason tournament. They are expected to be in contention for the CAA title again this season.You can check out the bracket here. Other teams in the field are Virginia Tech, Purdue, Wichita State, Davidson, and Appalachian State.
As part of this event, there will be non-bracketed games. If you look at the bottom of the bracket you will see that Alabama will host Appalachian State on November 11th. The official start date of the 18-19 season will be November 6th.
In additional schedule news, Alabama will host Penn State on December 21st. Penn State released their non-conference schedule today and Alabama was listed among the opponents.
The Penn State schedule lists the location of the game in Tuscaloosa, but the date of the game makes me think this might be the Vulcan Classic game in Birmingham. The Nittany Lions finished 26-13 last season, winning the NIT Championship in the process. They lost their top player, Tony Carr, but are expected to return enough experience to be an NCAA Tournament contender in 18-19.
Here's how the non-conference schedule shakes out so far:
1. Appalachian State (Nov. 11)
2. Northeastern (Nov. 15)
3. Virginia Tech/Ball State (Nov. 16)
4. Purdue/Appalachian State/Wichita State/Davidson (Nov. 18)
5. at UCF (Nov. 29)
6. Arizona (Dec. 9)
7. Penn State (Dec. 21)
8. at Baylor (Jan. 26)
9. Alabama will also host Murray State. The date for that game has not been released yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if that's the Rocket City Classic game in Huntsville this season.
Most non-conference schedules are 12-13 games so the schedule appears to be almost complete. I wouldn't be surprised to see one more "name" opponent added to the schedule, maybe as the opener. The NCAA is encouraging schools to schedule big openers for the opening week of the season to give the sport some much-needed viewership in the heart of college football season. The Champions Classic will tip off the season on November 6th, and I've already seen some compelling match-ups that will open the season such as Ohio State/Cincinnati and Florida/Florida State.
There is recruiting news to report as well, but I think I'll hold off until this weekend as a 2019 target for Alabama is expected to announce his college choice this week at the Peach Jam tournament.