*Courtesy Alabama Media Relations
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will play its first game of the 2013-14 regular season when it travels to Dallas to square off against the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday, Nov. 8, at 4 p.m. CT in American Airlines Center (Home to the Dallas Mavericks).
The contest will be the opener of a triple-header for the Buckets and Boots Showcase, which will also feature SMU vs. TCU (6:30 p.m.) and Baylor vs. Colorado (9 p.m.).
"We are excited with the opportunity to open our season in Dallas," head coach Anthony Grant said. "It should make for a great event and a great day of basketball with the three games that they have scheduled. We are looking forward to the challenge of playing Oklahoma, we have a lot of respect for their program, their coach and their players. They had a lot of success last year going to the NCAA Tournament. We know that it will be a great challenge for our team this early in the year. There are a lot of things that we have to prepare for in a game of this magnitude."
The contest will be televised nationally on FOX Sports Southwest, with regional coverage aired on FOX SportsSouth, with Bob Carpenter (play-by-play) and Billy Tubbs (analyst) on the call.
The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network and Sirius/XM channels 93/199, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action.
There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Alabama returns eight letterwinners and three starters off last season's team that finished 23-13 overall and reached the NIT Quarterfinals. The Tide finished tied for second in the Southeastern Conference with a 12-6 record. In all, Alabama returns approximately 67 percent of its scoring, 60 percent of its rebounding and 54 percent of its assists from the 2012-13 campaign.
Oklahoma welcomes back six letterwinners and two starters from the last year's NCAA Tournament team. The Sooners finished the year 20-12 overall and 11-7 in the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma returns 32 percent of its scoring, 38 pecent of its rebounding and 44 percent of its assists from a year ago.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 4-2, entering the seventh meeting between the two teams. However, Alabama has won two of the last three contests, including a 70-55 victory over the Sooners in Coleman Coliseum on Jan. 1, 2007.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant begins his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. He owns an 86-52 (.623) during his time at the Capstone and is 162-77 (.678) in seven seasons as a head coach.
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger is in his third season with the Sooners and owns a record of 35-28 (.556). Now in his 28th season as a head coach, Kruger owns a career record of 514-332 (.608).
• The Tide returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last season's 23-13 squad that finished tied for second in the SEC (12-6).
• Five of the top seven scorers return from last year's NIT quarterfinal team, led by First Team All-SEC and All-District performer in senior guard Trevor Releford. The Kansas City, Mo., native topped the Crimson Tide last season in scoring (14.9 ppg), steals (2.1 spg), three-point field goal percentage (.407) and minutes (33.2) per game.
• Junior guard Rodney Cooper returns as the team's second-leading returning scorer after averaging 10.2 points per game a year ago. He also led the team in rebounding with 4.5 boards per contest.
• Other top players from last season include junior guard Levi Randolph (8.1 ppg and 4.2 rpg), junior forward Nick Jacobs (7.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and sophomore guard Retin Obasohan (3.9 ppg and 3.1 rpg).
• Junior center Carl Engstrom, who received a medical redshirt last season, has recovered from a knee injury he suffered early last year and will supply added depth to the post players
ALABAMA BASKETBALL TIDBITS
• Alabama leads all SEC men's basketball teams and ranked among the top 10 percent of all Division I men's hoops programs in the NCAA Academic Progress Report (APR).
• Since 2000, Alabama has graduated 39 of 40 men's basketball seniors (97 percent).
• Last season, Alabama ranked 31st in the nation in average attendance (11,159).
• Over the last three years, Anthony Grant teams boast a record of 48-7 (.873) when playing at Coleman Coliseum.
• Since his arrival, Alabama owns a home record of 27-6 (.818) against SEC competition, including a 23-2 (.920) mark in the past three years alone.
ALABAMA MILESTONES TO WATCH
• Trevor Releford enters the season on the cusp of three major milestones. He is only one point away from 1,300 points in his career (1,299), two assists shy of 300 dimes (298) and six steals from 200 career takeaways (194).
• Junior Nick Jacobs needs 30 points to reach 500 points in his career.
• Junior Levi Randolph needs 19 minutes to reach 2,000 minutes played in his career and also needs 19 rebounds to reach 300 career boards.
• Anthony Grant is 14 wins shy of winning his 100th game at Alabama. He is only 12 games from coaching his 150th game with the Crimson Tide, which will come at UCLA on Dec. 28.
ALABAMA IN SEASON OPENERS
• Alabama has an all-time record of 80-20 in season-opening contests and enters the Oklahoma game having won eight of its last 11 openers.
• Head coach Anthony Grant has a record of 6-1 in the first game of the season (3-0 at VCU and 3-1 at Alabama) and is 18-2 in his coaching career as a head coach and assistant coach.
FIRST TIME IN LONG TIME
• UA compiled a 23-13 record during the 2012-13 campaign, which included a 12-6 mark in SEC play.
• It marked the Tide's third consecutive 20-win season under head coach Anthony Grant (25-12 in 2011 and 21-12 in 2012).
• The last time Alabama had three consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins came in 1990, 1991 and 1992 when Wimp Sanderson achieved the feat - a span of just over 20 years.
• In addition, Alabama's 12-6 record in SEC play marked the third straight year that Grant has led his Alabama team to a record of over .500 in conference play.
• It is the first time since the 1994, 1995 and1996 seasons that UA has finished over .500 in conference action in three consecutive seasons.
GRANT HAS ALABAMA AMONG THE BEST IN THE SEC OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS
• In the last three seasons, Alabama ranks among the top teams in the SEC - both on and off the court.
• Since the 2010-11 season, the Tide boasts an overall record of 69-37 (.651). The 69 wins is third in the league behind Kentucky (88) and Florida (84).
• Alabama's SEC record in the last three years is 33-17 (.660) and the Tide ranks third in the SEC in league wins over that span behind only Kentucky (38) and Florida (37). In the three years prior to Grant's arrival, UA had a combined record of 19-29 (.396).
• Off the court, Alabama leads all SEC men's basketball teams and ranks among the top 10 percent of all Division I men's hoops programs in the NCAA Academic Progress Report (APR).
• Since Grant's arrival, Alabama owns a home record of 27-6 (.818) against SEC competition, including a 23-2 (.920) mark in the past three years alone.
RELEFORD IS SEC ACTIVE LEADER
• Guard Trevor Releford will come into the 2013-14 season ranking at the top of the SEC active leaders in points, assists and steals.
• Releford currently has 1,299 career points, 298 assists and an Alabama program record 194 steals entering his senior year.
RELEFORD NAMED TO BOB COUSY AWARD WATCH LIST, PRESEASON ALL-SEC
• Trevor Releford was named to the watch list of candidates for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, which marks the second consecutive season Releford has been selected to the list.
• Releford, a Preseason First Team All-Southeastern Conference honoree, led the Crimson Tide with 14.9 points and 2.1 steals per game, while also connecting on a team-best 40.7-percent from beyond the arc last season.
• The Kansas City, Mo., native finished with 70 steals a year ago, which ranks third best in program history, on his way to becoming the program's all-time steals leader.
RANDOLPH AIMING TO BECOME FIRST ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN
• Junior guard Levi Randolph has some lofty expectations on the court, but it is his ultimate goal off the court that he would consider his crowning achievement at Alabama. The Madison, Ala., native hopes to become the first-ever Academic All-American in program history.
• As a sophomore, Randolph earned CoSIDA/Capitol One Academic All-District First Team honors, becoming the first Alabama player to earn that honor since 2003.
• Randolph, a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient, maintains a 3.48 GPA as a marketing major and has been named to the Dean's List in every semester of his college career (3.1 GPA or better).
• On the court, the 6-5, 205-pound guard has been equally as impressive. Last season, Randolph ranked second on the team in rebounds (4.1 rpg), third in field goal percentage (.431), three-point field goal percentage (.341), assists (59), steals (39) and minutes (30.2 mpg) and was fourth on the squad in points (8.1 ppg).