Tuscaloosa, AL – The 19th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide welcome conference affair.
Oakland is the two-time defending Summit League champion and doesn't figure to be intimidated by the prospect of facing an SEC opponent on the road. The Golden Grizzlies have finished 17-1 in conference in each of the past two seasons and returns seven letterwinners, including three starters, for Greg Kampe -- the reigning league coach of the year. This game marks the season opener for Oakland.
As for Alabama, it began the 2011-12 campaign with a 64-44 triumph over North Florida on Friday. There is a good reason why Alabama is the favorite to win the SEC West, as the three top players from a year ago are back. Head coach Anthony Grant and his squad are fortunate to compete in the SEC West, as the East is loaded with three national powers.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Alabama and Oakland on the hardwood.
The most notable returnee for Oakland is Preseason First-Team All-Summit League selection Reggie Hamilton, who scored 17.6 ppg and handed out 5.3 apg last season despite his 5-11 frame. Hamilton has the opportunity in this opener to prove that he is on part with some of the better talent in all of college basketball. He'll get some help from fellow guard Travis Bader, a three-point marksman who netted 10.5 ppg a year ago. Laval Lucas-Perry is a Michigan transfer where he was a starter, so his talent is undeniable. Another newcomer is Corey Petros, a big man considered to be the league's elite freshman. Petros enters with a huge amount of hype, and it will be interesting to see if he is up to the challenge.
Alabama forward JaMychal Green is a Preseason First-Team All-SEC selection, while Trevor Releford and Tony Mitchell have impressive credentials as well. Green netted 15.5 ppg in 2010-11 to go along with 7.5 rpg, and his 70 blocked shots paced the club as well. Mitchell finished a close second in both scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg). Against North Florida on Friday, Green posted 18 points, while Mitchell pitched in 17 points and 10 boards. Releford was rather quite offensively, but 'Bama clearly won the game at the defensive end of the court, limiting an overmatched North Florida squad to 23.2 percent shooting from the field, including a 3-of-21 showing from three-point range.