Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide prepares for season with exhibition game against UAH

John Michael Simpson

Finally, the Alabama men’s basketball team can play someone other than themselves.

The Tide will take to the hardwood tonight and square off against the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers in an exhibition game to prepare for the 2011-2012 season.

“I think after a while you get used to playing against yourself and you need some variety,” said head coach Anthony Grant. “So I’m looking forward to the challenge that we have with those guys coming in.”

And UAH will be no slouch. The Chargers are ranked second in the NABC Division II preseason Coaches Poll and fourth in the Basketball Times rankings. Returning starters Josh Magette and Zane Campbell also landed on the Sporting News’ preseason All-American list for their division.

“We’ve got a really tough opponent in UAH,” Grant said. “I think they’re an outstanding team, very well coached. They’re coming off of a banner year, high expectations for their team. They’ll put us in a position where we’ve got to play extremely well to have a chance.”

It’ll be the second year in a row that UAH comes to Tuscaloosa for an exhibition game. Last year it took overtime for the Tide to best the Chargers, who went on to post a 29-5 record and made it all the way to the Division II Elite Eight.

“We’ll certainly be challenged with the versatility and variety of things they do on the offensive end,” Grant said. “[We’ll] try to figure out how to attack what they’re going to do to us on the defensive end.”

For Alabama, tonight’s tune-up will be a chance for its young team to get some experience in a game-like situation. Grant said they will treat it just like a regular game.

“[We’ll be] trying to see how we react to a crowd being there, handling the officials, and an unfamiliar opponent,” Grant said. “There’s certainly a lot of things I feel like as a coach we’ve got to be good at, we’ve got to be better at, as we prepare for the season. There’s really not an aspect of the game I feel like we’re going to ignore.”

It will also be fans’ first chance to see the Tide’s freshman class in action. Alabama pulled in the fifth best recruiting class according to popular recruiting website, and Grant said all six newcomers should see some playing time tonight.

“All of our freshmen have done a pretty god job in practice,” Grant said. “I think we need those guys to be ready to go, and certainly everybody will have an opportunity.”

Tipoff is scheduled for seven o’clock tonight at Coleman Coliseum.

It will be Alabama’s only exhibition game before opening its regular season against North Florida on Friday night in Tuscaloosa.

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