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Florida A&M @ Alabama: Game Preview

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Basketball season is here folks. Tonight marks the official 2010-2011 tip-off for the Crimson Tide, as the Florida A&M Rattlers visit Coleman Coliseum for the season opener. Game is scheduled to tip-off around 7:30 pm, with plenty of tickets available at the window for those in town for Saturday's football game.

As is the case with most of our non-marquee non-conference home matchups this year, tonight's game will not be televised. It will, however, be streamed live on TideTV. You'll need a subscription to watch the games on TideTV, but at $12.95 per month, it's completely worth it for any Bama basketball fan who can't attend most home games. Every SEC game will be televised, but over the course of the next two months we will play 8 non-conference home games that won't be televised and will instead be available on TideTV. So for about $3 per game, you can watch all of the Tide's home non-conference games online. Not a bad deal at all.

Looking forward to the game itself, you have to look at this as a game where the Tide must take care of business. FAMU finished last season ranked 319 of 335 Division I teams in the RPI rankings. They lost their first 10 games last season, and finished as one of the worst teams in the MEAC, one of the weakest conferences in the country. They did have several significant injuries that likely held them back last season, and they do return all but one starter from a year ago in addition to adding some capable scorers, so don't expect them to be quite as weak as they were last season.

The Rattlers return point guard Rasheem Jenkins, small forward Christopher Walker, small forward Larry Jackson, and power forward Yannick Crowder from last year's starting lineup. They also added three guards known for their scoring ability, JUCO transfers Brandon Hosely and Chris Watson, and freshman Avery Moore. Post players Amin Stevens and Cecil Bent return to provide depth in the front court, while reserve guard Isaac Brown returns to provide depth in the back court. This healthier, more talented roster did impress in their lone preseason exhibition, pouring in over 100 points against Division II Albany State, so at the very least they have the ability to put a lot of points on the board.

This should be a good matchup for the Tide style-wise, as the Rattlers love to play an uptempo, pressing, man-to-man style that should feed in to Bama's strengths while limiting the exposure of our biggest weaknesses. For those who missed it, I posted a lengthy article last night about our potential weaknesses heading into the season. While we have some major concerns, the favorability of this matchup should play to our strengths and allow us to get the season started off on the right foot. On the other hand, despite their poor performance a year ago, FAMU does have more offensive firepower this season, so Bama needs to capitalize on its scoring chances in order to keep the Rattlers from striking distance.

I'll be offering live game commentary in tonight's game thread here at RBR for those unable to attend or watch the game on TideTV. See you there.