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The 11th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Alabama Crimson Tide

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 28, 2008

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Alabama Crimson Tide

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Nickname: Crimson Tide

Reason For Nickname: After the 1907 Alabama-Auburn football game in Birmingham, a sports editor for a Birmingham newspaper described the Alabama football team’s play against Auburn as a “crimson tide”.

Colors: Crimson and White

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Coleman Coliseum (built 1968, capacity 15,043)

Hoops At The Capstone: Alabama basketball began three years after the birth of Paul Bryant in 1916 and for a long time had to live in the large shadow of the football program, which has won 12 National Championships. Despite this, the basketball program for much of its history has not been short of success. Alabama has won the SEC regular-season championship in 1934, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1987, and 2002. They’ve also been crowned tournament champions in 1934, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1990, and 1991 as well as SEC West champions in 2002 and 2005.

Postseason Appearances: Alabama has gone to 19 NCAA Tournaments, advancing no further than the Elite Eight, which happened in 2004 under current coach Mark Gottfried. They’ve also appeared in the NIT 10 times, reaching the NIT Final Four as recently as 2003.

Coaching Legacy: Alabama’s rise in the 70’s and 80’s is attributed to two coaches, C.M. Newton, who would later become athletic director at Kentucky and Wimp Sanderson, who is currently the winningest coach in Alabama history. Under Sanderson, the Tide won two regular-season championships and five tournament titles in his 11 years in Tuscaloosa.

Big Man On Campus: Alabama has been home to greats such as Latrell Sprewell, Robert Horry, White Station graduate Earnest Shelton, Kennedy Winston, and Ronald Steele. Winston and Steele were key factors in the 2004 squad’s run to the Elite Eight, which is still the best finish for any Alabama squad in the NCAA Tournament.

Rivalries: While Alabama and Auburn share a bitter rivalry on the gridiron, for the most part the Mississippi State-Alabama rivalry in basketball is just as heated although its not as intense the rivalry with Auburn.

Did You Know?: Alabama is third behind BYU and Missouri for most NCAA Tournament appearances without a trip to the Final Four.

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