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Alabama Begins Road Stretch at Auburn Wednesday Night

*Courtesy Alabama Media Relations

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will begin a stretch of five of the next seven games on the road when it travels to take on rival Auburn on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. CT. It will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season, as the Tigers will make the return trip to Tuscaloosa on March 1 at 2 p.m. CT (ESPNU).

Wednesday night's contest will be televised on SEC TV with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Joe Dean (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. The contest will also be broadcast nationally on Sirius Channel 119 and XM Channel 200. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.

THE SERIES

Wednesday night's game will mark the 148th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the fourth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 89-58 edge in the series. Alabama has won six of the last seven games played between the two teams, including four straight at home. UA owns an all-time record of 25-27 when playing at Auburn. However, the Tide has won two of the last three games played at Auburn Arena.

THE COACHES

Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 95-62 (.605) record during his time at the Capstone and is 171-87 (.663) in eight seasons as a head coach. Auburn's Tony Barbee is in his fourth season as a head coach and has guided the Tigers to a record of 43-68 (.387). Now in his eighth season as a head coach, Barbee has a career record of 125-120 (.510).

THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW

The contest at Auburn will mark the third game in seven days for the Crimson Tide (played Thursday vs. No. 6 Florida and Saturday vs. LSU). It will not get any easier for UA, as the contest at Auburn begins a stretch of five of the next seven on the road.
According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 2 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference strength of schedule.
Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 6-2 when he has faced the Tigers, including a 2-2 mark when playing at Auburn.
Freshman Shannon Hale's 13.3 ppg in conference play ranks third among SEC freshmen and 18th overall. Over his last nine games, Hale is second on the team with 12.2 points per game and rebounding (4.1 rpg) and third in field goal percentage (.513) over that same span.
Guards Retin Obasohan (2.4 spg) and Trevor Releford (2.3 spg) rank first and second in the SEC in steals per game, respectively. Together, the duo is averaging 4.7 steals per game, which ranks third in the NCAA among all duos in terms of takeaways.
In its two SEC road games this year, the Tide has given up 78 combined free throws (39.0 per game) to the opposition. As a result, Alabama has been outscored by 26 points from the charity stripe in SEC road contests thus far.

SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama is coming off a hard-fought 82-80 victory over LSU on Saturday night. Senior Trevor Releford led UA with 21 points, while junior Rodney Cooper had 19 points and freshman Shannon Hale added a season-high 17.

• Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.2 points per game, which ranks seventh in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 50.2 percent (110-of-219) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 39.6 percent (42-of-106) from beyond the arc. He also ranks second in the SEC and 21st nationally with 2.3 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.8 assists per contest.

• Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan, who missed the last two games due to an injured hip flexor, is the only other player to average double figure scoring at 12.2 points per game. He leads the SEC and ranks 18th nationally with 2.4 steals per game, and leads Alabama and ranks eight in the SEC in blocks per contest (1.4). He also leads the Tide in free throws made (81) and attempted (111).

• Junior guard Levi Randolph chips in with 9.6 points per game. Randolph ranks second on the team in rebounding (4.2 rpg).

• Freshman Shannon Hale has stepped up his game during SEC play, recording double digits in all six of the Tide's league contests. Among SEC freshmen in league games only, he is third in scoring average (13.3 ppg) and fifth in field goal percentage (.491).

• As a team this season, UA is shooting 45.3 percent from the floor and 33.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is outscoring the competition by 3.6 points a game (70.6-67.0). Alabama currently ranks fifth in the SEC and 53rd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.1 percent). The Tide also ranks third in the SEC in free throw shooting (.699). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (7.6 spg; 5th/48th) per game.

ALABAMA-LSU: A LOOK BACK

• Alabama and LSU met for the 171st time in series history - the second-most times UA has played any one opponent in program history. The Tide owns a 103-68 lead in the all-time series following its 82-80 win over LSU. Alabama has won nine straight games over LSU and has a record of 38-8 when playing the Tigers in Coleman Coliseum. The last time the Tide lost to the Tigers at home came on Jan. 31, 2004.

• Alabama has won seven of the last nine meetings and 12 of the last 16 games the two teams have played.

• Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 7-2 when his team has faced LSU, and is 6-0 when playing LSU under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum.

• Alabama snapped a streak of 19 straight defeats when allowing a team to score 70 or more points in a game with its 82-80 win over LSU Saturday night. The last time a Crimson Tide team won when giving up 70 or more points to an opponent came on March 3, 2010 when UA defeated South Carolina, 79-70.

• The 82-80 victory marked the first game this season Alabama has won when allowing a team to score more than 65 points in a game. Coming into the contest, the Tide had been 0-10 this year when allowing the opposition to score 66 or more points.

• Trevor Releford finished with 21 points on the night. It marked his 20th straight game in double figures dating back to last season. Moreover, it was his sixth 20-point game of the year and the 10th time he led the Tide in scoring this season.

• Shannon Hale had career-highs of 17 points and six assists en route to the victory. He has now recorded double figures in all six SEC games this season.

• Rodney Cooper finished the night with a season-best 19 points, 17 of which came in the final 20 minutes. In the second half alone, Cooper connected on 6-of-9 shots from the floor and hit all four of his three-point attempts.

• Alabama shot 51.9-percent (27-of-52) from the floor, which was the fifth time this season the Tide has shot better than 50 percent in a contest. Alabama is 5-0 this season when reaching the mark in a game.

• The Tide had 18 assists, which tied for the most assists in a game this season (North Florida).

• Alabama was outrebounded, 34-29, on the night but still managed to pull out the two-point win. The Tide is now 2-8 this season when being outrebounded in a game.

ALABAMA-AUBURN - SERIES NOTES

• Wednesday night's game will mark the 148th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the fourth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 89-58 edge in the series.

• Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 6-2 when he has faced the Tigers, including a 2-2 mark when playing at Auburn.

• UA owns an all-time record of 25-27 when playing at Auburn. However, the Tide has won two of the last three games played at Auburn Arena.

• Alabama has won six of the last seven games played between the two teams, including four straight at home.

• The two teams have played in 11 overtimes in series history, with the last one coming Feb. 21, 2001. Auburn has won eight of the 11 games that have went to extra time.

• The series began during 1923-24 campaign.

ALABAMA-AUBURN: A YEAR AGO

• The Alabama men's basketball team split a pair of contests with Auburn last season, with each team winning on its home court.

• In the first meeting last season on Feb. 6, 2013, Alabama fell to Auburn, 49-37 in the Auburn Arena. It was the lowest scoring output by the Tide in the all-time series. Alabama led by 10 points at halftime, but was outscored 36-14 in the second half. Overall, Alabama shot just 28.6% (14-49) from the field. The Tiger's scored 21 points off 16 turnovers while Tide had seven points off of 14 turnovers. UA was led by Trevor Releford and Rodney Cooper who both tallied 11 points.

• Just over a month later, Alabama defeated Auburn 61-43 on Feb. 26, 2013 in Coleman Coliseum. Releford had 21 points and Nick Jacobs had his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Alabama led by just six points at the half, but pulled away after the break thanks to 46% (13-of-28) shooting from the field and 81.8% (9-of-11) from the free-throw line.

UP NEXT

• Alabama will play its only home game in the next four when it welcomes the Tennessee Volunteers to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The contest will mark the lone meeting of the year between the two teams.

• It will mark the 143rd meeting in series history between to two schools, which stands as UA's fifth-most common opponent in program lore. The Crimson Tide owns a 76-66 edge in the all-time series, including wins in four of the last five meetings vs. the Volunteers. In fact, the Crimson Tide has won 12 of the last 17 games played between the teams.

• UA owns an all-time record of 43-17 when playing Tennessee in Tuscaloosa, including a 26-8 mark at Coleman Coliseum. Furthermore, the Tide has won six of the last eight games played between the two teams.

• In seven previous meetings vs. Tennessee, Alabama head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-2.

• The series began during 1913-14 campaign.

DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS

• Alabama is 9-3 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-7 away from home, which includes an 0-3 mark in neutral site games.

• In its 12 home games, the Tide is shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 40.2 percent shooting from the floor and 26.5 percent from deep.

• Below is a breakdown of key numbers on the road and at home this season.

OPP OPP OPP

PPG PPG FG% FG% 3FG% 3FG%

HOME 73.8 63.1 .485 .409 .377 .318

AWAY 65.1 73.7 .402 .427 .268 .293

HALE MAKING IT RAIN

• Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last nine contests.

• After seeing limited action over his first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is second on the team points (12.2 ppg) and rebounds (4.1 rpg) per game in the last nine games, while connecting 51.3 percent from the floor and 39.4 percent from deep.

• Hale has been even more impressive during SEC play, as he has reached double figures in all six league games. He ranks third among SEC freshmen in scoring average (13.3 ppg) and is fifth in field goal percentage (.491). He set a career-high with 17 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute of play, in the win over LSU last Saturday.

• Below is a breakdown of Hale's numbers from his first 10 games to his last nine:

GP-GS MPG PPG RPG FG% 3FG%

First 10 gms 9-0 11.1 2.7 2.2 .321 .286

Last 9 gms 9-8 25.8 12.2 4.1 .513 .394

BENCH PLAY

• The Alabama bench has been a weapon throughout the season. In fact, the Tide's reserves has outscored its counterparts in 16 of the 19 games this season, including 12 straight occurrences.

• For the season, the Alabama bench is averaging 21.9 points a game, outscoring the opposition by 7.1 points per contest (21.9-14.8).

ONE OF THE BEST

• Senior point guard and Bob Cousy Award nominee Trevor Releford is not only proving to be one of the top players in the SEC, but also is showing why he is an elite player in the nation.

• Releford is quietly putting together one of the best seasons by any player in the league. Below is a breakdown of where he ranks among the SEC and national leaders this year:

Category SEC Rank NCAA Rank

Total Steals (42) 1st T-30th

SPG (2.33) 2nd 21st

FT% (.904) 2nd 14th

3FG% (.396) T-5th --

3's Made/Game (2.3) 6th NA

FG% (.502) 6th --

PPG (18.2) 7th 76th

• Furthermore, below is how Releford's career numbers rank among the greatest players to ever play at Alabama:

Category UA History

Steals (236) 1st (SEC Active Leader)

9th in SEC History

Steals Per Game (2.0) 1st

FT% (.817) 5th

Total Assists (351) 9th (SEC Active Leader)

Career Starts (113) 9th

3-Point Attempts (369) 10th

Total Points (1,627) 13th (SEC Active Leader)

TOUGH COMPETITION

• According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 2 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference strength of schedule.

• The Tide finished the non-conference schedule with seven losses. The teams that Alabama lost to in non-league play have a combined record of 106-36 (.746) through games played as of Jan. 26 [Oklahoma, 17-4; Duke, 17-4; Drexel, 10-9; USF, 10-10; Wichita State, 21-0; Xavier, 15-5; UCLA, 16-4].

• Of the seven non-conference losses, five came against teams ranked among the top 45 RPI, according to KenPom.com.

TOO MUCH CHARITY AT CHARITY STRIPE

• Part of the reason for the Tide's struggles on the road is a result of the number of free throw attempts it gives up to league opponents, especially during SEC play.

• In two road league contests this season, Alabama has given up 78 combined free throws (39.0 per game). In fact, UA has been outscored from the free throw line by 26 points (UA is 30-of-45, opponents are 56-of-78) in SEC road contests thus far.

• It's a problem that has plagued the Tide all year. In seven road contests, Alabama is yielding 29.6 free throw attempts to the opposition per road game (207 total).


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