No. 20 Alabama set to open regular season against Longwood

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

Preseason No. 20 Alabama opens the season Monday night in Coleman Coliseum, against reigning Big South conference champion Longwood. 

Picked to win the league once more by coaches, the Lancers return 74% of their scoring output from last season’s team that went 15-1 in conference play and secured an NCAA tournament bid. 

With a potent, yet slow-paced offense, Longwood ranked eighth in the country in three-point percentage — sitting at a blistering 38.3% from behind the arc. 

Led by head coach Griff Aldrich and Big South preseason all-conference nominees Isaiah Wilkins and DeShaun Wade, the Lancers’ backcourt will certainly pose a challenge for Nate Oats’ new-look team that features four former McDonald’s All-Americans in addition to transfers Mark Sears, Dominick Welch and Nick Pringle. 

On Oct. 29, the Crimson Tide got its second taste of live action, holding on for a 73-67 exhibition win against Southern Illinois following Alabama’s previous 99-69 loss to TCU on Oct. 16. 

“We’re ready to play somebody else,” Oats said on Friday. “I think things are getting a little chippy in practice. We’re tired of going against each other. It’s time to get the season kicked off with some games and play somebody else.” 

According to KenPom, a college basketball analytics staple, the Crimson Tide have a 95% chance at coming away with a victory — it’s third highest odds for any matchup all season, trailing only Jackson State (99.5%) and Jacksonville State (98%). 

After having the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country a year ago, the Crimson Tide’s non-conference slate is stacked once again, featuring nine teams that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.  

“I want our guys to play against tough teams, whether it’s the non-conference, preseason, whatever,” Oats said during an October press conference. “We’ll be better for it. It’s good for us.” 

The game is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network+. 

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]