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Crimson Tide’s 2017-18 season officially began on Friday afternoon
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The 2017-18 Alabama men’s basketball season officially began on Friday with the first practice of the season at Coleman Coliseum.
The 15-man Crimson Tide team practiced for just over two hours on Friday afternoon, as the team began preparations for the opening game in early November.
Head coach Avery Johnson enters his third season at the helm of the Alabama program this year. Johnson led his squad to a fifth-place finish in the SEC, a spot in the SEC Tournament semifinals and a second consecutive NIT at-large berth last season. Johnson said he was as excited as his players to get things officially started on Friday.
“My excitement level is at an all-time high,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “This is our third year here in rebuilding our program and the energy and enthusiasm around our program is something that is definitely warranted. I’m so happy to be a part of the coaching staff that’s leading this team into the season."
Alabama will open the season with an exhibition game vs. UAH on Nov. 6. The regular season will begin on Nov. 10 against the Memphis Tigers in the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, Md. That contest, which will be the first game of a doubleheader at the U.S. Naval Academy, will tip at 5:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on CBSSports.com. Navy will host Pittsburgh in the second game.
The third annual UA SupeStore Tide Tipoff event will be held Oct. 24. Doors open at 6 p.m. for autographs, and the event begins at 7 p.m CT.
Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online at RollTide.com/Tickets or by calling 1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849). Fans can also purchase tickets in advance at the Alabama Ticket Office, located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum.
Below are some preseason notes for this year’s squad.
ALABAMA RANKED AMONG PRESEASON TOP-25
• The expectations are high in Tuscaloosa, as the Crimson Tide men's basketball team is expected to be a preseason top-25 team this year. The last time an Alabama team entered the season ranked among the nation's top-25 teams came in 2011.
• Among the current preseason top-25 polls that have been released, the Tide checks in at No. 19 in the nation according to CBSSports.com and No. 24 by Blue Ribbon’s Preseason Top 25, while USA Today gives Alabama a preseason ranking of No. 25 nationally.
• ESPN.com has not released their preseason top 25, however, the site lists Alabama at No. 20 in the nation, according to the ESPN.com BPI preseason index.
MEET THE NEWCOMERS
• It was a landmark Signing Day for The University of Alabama men’s basketball program, as head coach Avery Johnson officially announced the Tide’s 2017 class on Nov. 11. The Crimson Tide’s five-man signing class was rated as high as No. 5 in the country according to ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com, which is the highest-ranked signing class in program history.
• The five newest members of the Alabama men’s basketball program include guards Herb Jones, John Petty and Collin Sexton and forwards Alex Reese and Galin Smith.
RECAPPING ALABAMA'S 2016-17 SEASON
• Alabama ended the year with a 19-15 overall record and finished fifth in the SEC with a 10-8 league record. It was the best league finish for the Tide since placing fourth in the standings during the 2012-13 campaign.
• In the postseason, Alabama reached the SEC Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2013 and won two games in the same tournament for the first time since 2002. Alabama earned an at-large bid to the 2017 National Invitation Tournament. UA, which reached its fifth NIT appearance in the last seven years and 15th overall, was the No. 3 seed, but fell to sixth-seeded Richmond in the opening round to end the season.
• As a team, Alabama outscored the competition by 3.8 points per game (68.5-64.7), which is the highest scoring advantage since 2012-13. Moreover, the Tide ranked as one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, outrebounding opponents by 5.6 rebounds per game (39.0-33.4). It was the best rebounding advantage by an Alabama team since 2000-01 when the Tide owned a +7.2 (42.2-35.0) edge on the boards.
• Nationally, the Crimson Tide ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in a number of categories. Alabama ended the season ranked 25th in field goal percentage defense (.405), 27th in rebounding offense (39.0), 28th in scoring defense (64.7), 31st in rebounding margin (+5.6) and 46th in offensive rebounds per game (12.3).