Alabama Basketball coach Anthony Grant announced the full slate of non-conference opponents will play the Crimson Tide next season in 2013-14. The schedule features five teams that all participated in a postseason tournament; three of which that made the big dance in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Of the thirteen games announced for next season, eight will be played in Coleman Coliseum and three will be played in states outside of ones that house SEC teams.
Alabama tips off on November 8th when they travel to Dallas, Texas to take on the Oklahoma Sooners as part of the Tip-Off Showcase. Oklahoma made it to the NCAA field last year before losing the Round of 64 to San Diego State. They finished the 2012-13 season 20-12 and 11-7 in the Big 12 conference. Alabama will then start the home schedule with another Big 12 opponent in Texas Tech on November 14th as part of the SEC/Big 12 challenge.
Alabama will then participate in the NIT Season-Tip Off for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Alabama will play host to the first two games on November 18th and 19th. The finals are held in Madison Square Garden on November 27th and 29th. Not all the opponents have been announced for the tournament, but Duke, Rutgers and Arizona have been announced as teams that will host games, so the tournament will be stacked with good competition.
After returning home to open the December schedule with North Florida on the 4th, the Crimson Tide will then travel to Tampa, FL to take on South Florida on December 7th. Then, on December 14th, Alabama will begin a three-game home stand starting with Charleston Southern, who participated in the NIT last year.
That’s when the schedule gets really interesting. They take on Final Four participant Wichita State on December 18th. The Shockers have had a history with the Crimson Tide as of late, ever since they competed in the 2011 NIT final, in which Wichita State came out on top 66-57. The schedule continues when they host Big East opponent Xavier on December 21st to close out the home stand, a game that will surely mean a lot for a tournament resume.
UCLA will Alabama’s next opponent as they travel to Los Angeles, California on December 28th. The Bruins, besides being a historically good basketball program, found good success last year with taking the the regular season Pac-12 championship and becoming runners-up of the Pac-12 Tournament. They made the field of 64 before losing to Minnesota in the second round. They start out with a new coach in Steve Alford, just the thirteenth coach in the 104-year history of the program.
Alabama closes the non-conference schedule with a January 4th date at home against Robert Morris, who finished the season as the New England Conference regular season champions and made it to the second round of the NIT tournament last year.
Certainly, this will be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, non-SEC schedule that Alabama will be facing since Anthony Grant took over the team. But it sure does bring his philosophy for this team when he schedules big games to spotlight the Crimson Tide. It will be certainly interesting to see if this team makes the best of this schedule it can or flop like it did last year, especially in December.
Alabama’s SEC schedule has yet to be announced.
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