Monday, June 26, 2017

Schedule News: Alabama will Host UT-Arlington

More news regarding the non-conference schedule. The University of Texas-Arlington released their non-conference schedule today. Among the games on the schedule is a trip to Tuscaloosa on November 21st. Arlington finished last season with a 27-9 record, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT. They return one of the top players in college basketball - senior forward Kevin Hervey. Last season, Hervey averaged 17.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.1 apg and 1.2 spg. He's a legit player.

This game appears to be part of the Barclays Classic. Three days before their game at Alabama, Arlington will travel to Provo to play BYU, also in the Barclays Classic. Per the Arlington schedule, Western Carolina and Alabama A&M are also taking part in the event. I would assume one of those two teams will be the other team Alabama hosts in Tuscaloosa for this event.

The addition of Arlington stresses yet again how difficult this schedule is going to be. So far I don't see a night off for this team. If this team is ready for the challenge, it's going to be a very fun schedule of games to watch as a fan.

Several games of the non-conference schedule have dates. Here's what it looks like so far:

November 10 - vs Memphis   [Veterans Classic at Annapolis, MD]
November 21 - UT-Arlington
November 24 - BYU   [Barclays Classic]
November 25 - Minnesota   [Barclays Classic]
November 29 - Louisiana Tech
December 3 - UCF
December 9 - at Arizona
January 27 - Oklahoma

Other opponents on the schedule that are confirmed are Texas [in Birmingham], a home game with Rhode Island, and a return trip to Huntsville vs an opponent to be determined. I expect Avery and the team will hold another event to unveil the schedule as they did last year. Expect that to happen prior to the team's departure for its trip to Canada (August 4).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Schedule News: Alabama Will Host Louisiana Tech/Bama Returning to Huntsville

This is unofficial, but it appears that Avery Johnson may have added yet another formidable opponent to the non-conference schedule for the 2017-18 season. The Twitter account @TheD1Docket tweeted earlier today that Alabama will host Louisiana Tech on November 29th.

The Bulldogs from Ruston, Louisiana have been one of the better mid-major programs over the last five years. Despite the NCAA Tournament remaining an elusive goal (Tech has not been to the tournament since 1991, with only five total appearances), Louisiana Tech has averaged 25.8 wins per season over the last five seasons. Last season, the Bulldogs finished second in conference USA, with an overall record of 23-10 (14-4 in conference play), but were somehow not invited to participate in a postseason tournament. At the moment, I do not know what expectations will be for the Bulldogs in 17-18, but if recent history is any indication, it's just one more solid opponent on a very tough non-conference schedule.

ESPN 97.7 The Zone in Huntsville tweeted earlier today that Alabama will return to the Von Braun Center in Huntsville for a December 19th game. No idea on Alabama's opponent yet, but the event will be a doubleheader with the University of Alabama-Huntsville playing in the first game. My guess is Alabama's opponent will be a solid mid-major opponent, as was the case last season when they played Arkansas State from the Sun Belt. Once again, the game will take place during the Christmas break when attracting large crowds on campus can be difficult. The game last season in Huntsville was a success, and I'm happy to see Alabama returning.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Khavon Moore Visits Alabama

Khavon Moore has emerged in recent weeks as the top 2018 target for Avery Johnson and his staff. Moore, a 6'8, 187 lb forward from Macon, Georgia, is a top 30 national recruit, and the 3rd ranked recruit in the always talent-rich state of Georgia. Moore brings a skill set to the table very similar to Braxton Key, in that he can play different spots on the floor, with the ball-handling skills of a guard. New assistant coach Yasir Rosemond appears to be leading the recruitment of Moore. Other schools that have offered Moore include Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Uconn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and many others.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Arizona Game Details; More Recruiting News

My masterplan to inundate this blog with offseason updates every few days is proceeding nicely, but this news will be a few days late due to my being on vacation. I had a wonderful time by the way.

Let's start with the game date for the team's trip to Tuscon to play Arizona. The Wildcats released their non-conference schedule on Friday. The game at Arizona will take place on Saturday, December 9. No game time yet.

Recruiting is in full swing. Avery and staff hosted more recruits this past week. There may have been more, but I know of two recruits who were in Tuscaloosa earlier this week. Grant Sherfield (6'2, 180 lbs) is a 4 star shooting guard from Arlington, TX in the 2019 class. He currently holds offers from Kansas, Baylor, UCLA, Cal, LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and TCU. He's currently ranked nationally in the top 30 by 247 for the 2019 class. Coaxing Sherfield to Tuscaloosa may be a stretch, but the fact that Avery was able to get him on campus for a visit is great.

One of Bama's top targets for 2018 was also in Tuscaloosa this past weekend. Javian Fleming (6'9, 230 lbs), a 3 star center from Canton, MS has seen his stock rise in recent months. Current suitors include Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State, along with some quality mid-major programs such as Middle Tennessee, Florida Gulf Coast, Louisiana Tech and UAB. I've long thought that Alabama was the favorite for Fleming because of his close relationship with Antoine Pettway, but we shall see how it plays out.

I'm doing what I can to stay up with these recruiting visits, but I'm just a working stiff at the end of the day; time is not on my side. If I leave out a recruit that has visited, please let me know in the comments so I can make sure to write a post.

152 days until the season opener.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Date of UCF Game Announced; Recruiting News

We know the date of Alabama's home game with UCF. Sunday, December 3rd. I have not seen a time listed yet, but I would imagine, being a Sunday game, it will be a late afternoon/early evening tip.

Avery and his staff also received a couple of recruiting visits this week. The first was from 2018 recruit, Jared Butler (Reserve, LA; SG, 6'2, 180 lbs). Butler is currently unranked by 247 sports (a composite rating would have him as a 3 star), but has already received offers from the likes of Wichita State, Texas, Houston and Umass.

Also visiting this week is 2019 recruit, Austin Crowley (West Point, MS; PG, 6'4, 160 lbs). Crowley is also currently unranked by 247 Sports (a composite rating would also have him as a 3 star), but holds offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The 2019 class looks like it's going to be the next big class for the Alabama coaching staff.


Thursday, June 01, 2017

League Opponents Announced

In a surprising move this morning, the SEC released the list of league opponents for each conference member for the 17-18 season. How the games will be scheduled is unknown, but this was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Typically, we've had to wait until August before we know who plays who in league play. Hopefully, this is the standard practice going forward.

For Alabama, with an insanely tough non-conference schedule to look forward to, the league schedule isn't going to be much easier. Obviously, Alabama will play home-and-homes against Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State as they do every season. Auburn and State could be improved teams next season, even darkhorse NCAA tournament bid contenders. Alabama's other home-and-home series in league play will be vs Florida ('nuff said) and Texas A&M (expected to have a bounce-back season). Alabama will also travel to Lexington to face UK. This Bama team may be as good as all of us believe they will be, but they are going to have to earn it with this schedule. This is the toughest schedule I can remember an Alabama team preparing for in many years.

Other league games break down like this:

Home Games: Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee
Road Games: Georgia, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt

The SEC is gearing up for what could be the best season the league has had in many years. The general consensus is that, if things break right, the SEC could send as many as seven teams to the NCAA tournament next season. While conference play is always a grind due to the familiarity between the programs, this season will be even more difficult because so many programs have made improvements in the last 2-3 seasons. "Buckle Up" is no longer just a catchphrase, it's now good advice for Bama hoops fans.