Oregon released their non-conference schedule today. The game with Alabama is confirmed, but it doesn't appear the series will be a true home-and-home. The Oregon website mentions the game will be played in Birmingham on December 21st. This could be a geographical error on the part of Oregon (I've met plenty of people who think THE University of Alabama is in Birmingham), or it could be a sign that the Alabama basketball program, in an attempt to market itself better to the entire state, is looking to play a home game or two outside the confines of Coleman.
Assuming the location is accurate, a part of me is bummed that this game isn't taking place at Coleman simply because I'm not expecting the home non-conference schedule to be littered with power teams this season, and it would be nice to have a Pac-12 team coming to Tuscaloosa as UCLA did last season. It doesn't affect fans like me who live outside the state, but for those of you in Coleman for each game, it may be frustrating if the schedule only consists of low and mid-major conference teams. On the other hand, I think it's good for Alabama to play a game or two at other venues in the state as a way of trying to generate interest in the program for those who live outside of Tuscaloosa who may not initially be interested in making the drive to T-Town for a basketball game.
There's a better way to do this of course, and still retain quality home games in Tuscaloosa. As I've mentioned before, following the model of the Indiana schools, a rotating double header matching Alabama/Auburn against UAB/South Alabama at a rotating venue (Birmingham, Mobile, maybe Montgomery or Huntsville) would be a great way to generate some interest in basketball within the state. Unfortunately, there's also a brick wall of politics and bitterness between Alabama and UAB that will likely prevent that from happening. It should happen. I think making the trip out to the local arena for a double header between the four state schools would generate a lot of interest, school and recruiting politics be damned. I know many of you do not share this opinion, but I think you've got a better chance of selling tickets to UAB/Bama in Birmingham than you do Bama/Oregon (at least where basketball is concerned).
The Oregon schedule page can be found here.