Saturday, May 25, 2013

Alabama to play Oklahoma on November 8th

Alabama has agreed to a match-up with Oklahoma on November 8th. The game will take place in Dallas at the American Airlines Center, the home court of the Dallas Mavericks. It's part of a four-game event to celebrate the beginning of the college basketball season. The other games are Baylor vs Colorado, Texas vs LSU and SMU vs TCU.

It's yet another piece to what could be a challenging non-conference schedule that already includes a home game against Tubby Smith and Texas Tech, a road game at UCLA, as well as the NIT Tip-Off event that includes potential games against Duke and Arizona.

Alabama could be the favorite in this game. Oklahoma is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance, but could be facing a rebuilding season after losing their top three scorers. However, with Lon Kruger on the Sooner bench, this will be far from a walk in the park. In addition to a quality opponent, Alabama will also have an opportunity to shine in a nationally televised event that will be highly anticipated by college basketball fans who will no doubt be jonesing for a basketball fix come November 8th.


bobbyjack said...

Good to see this... solid competition that should boost the RPI. You should make the 3 hr drive up.

Msmilie said...

Definitely making the drive.

crimsontider said...

Should be a very good non conference schedule, glad we finally came to our senses, and realized that we needed to play a solid non conference schedule to boost the RPI, and prevent another season ending trip to an obscure tournament like the NIT, hopefully this gets us into the only tournament that matters, trips to that tourney have become way to infrequent for this program. Lets hope that trend ends this year.

Msmilie said...

It's a two sided coin though. Scheduling the games is only half the battle. Alabama will have to win some of these games as well. Oklahoma, Texas Tech and even UCLA are expected to be going through some form of transition next season so Alabama could be favored in some of these early games and need to take care of business. In addition to that, avoiding costly non-conference losses at home is a must. Home losses to Dayton, Mercer and Tulane had as much to do with Bama missing the NCAA tournament than the schedule itself. For example, Alabama can't avoid to be sluggish in home games for the NIT Tip-Off because that tournament is still conducted in the traditional format, i.e. they need to win their two home games to even have a chance at playing Arizona or Duke in MSG. Virginia was a bubble team a year ago. Had they not lost at home in the NIT Tip-Off to Delaware, they would have advanced to MSG to play Kansas State and/or Michigan/Pitt. Those two games, win or lose, may have been the difference in Virginia's tournament resume. Arizona and Duke are expected to be preseason top 5-10 teams so having the opportunity to play one or both of them would be huge for RPI purposes.

What is encouraging is that, based on comments made by the players on Twitter, it appears the entire team will be in Tuscaloosa this summer. That certainly bodes well for building team chemistry and integrating the newcomers. The conference as a whole should be better next season (Kentucky, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Vandy, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Missouri have the pieces to be good teams, and even the teams at the bottom this past season - A&M, Miss. State, Carolina and Auburn - could be improved) so Bama needs to improve with it. With games against power conference schools right out of the gate, the guys must be ready to get down to business.