Does it ever seem as though schedule-makers get stuck in this rut of assigning opponents they think everyone wants to see Alabama play, in every sport? And with it all deriving from football success?
The most obvious offender is Oklahoma. If Alabama faces a B12 team, no matter the sport, there is a better than 50-50 shot that it will be the Tide and the Sooners: football, basketball, gymnastics, softball, Parcheesi, heated game of charades, thumb wrestling…
To that, we can now add the Clemson Tigers, who — for about the 15th time in the last decade— will face Alabama basketball in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge. The game will be at 8:30 central, God’s right and proper time zone, in Coleman Coliseum and broadcast on an ESPN vertical.
Nationally, Clemson is probably a bigger name than a lot of teams the Tide could put on their schedule, but it is an aggressively average-to-goodish Power 5 team. The Tigers had an RPI of 73, not many quality wins, and their analytical profile shows a goodish team that doesn’t particularly excel at any one phase: 57th offense, 61st defense, 77th pace, 71st perimeter.
But, that’s exactly what Oklahoma looks like on paper too…and we know how that turned out. It is one of those games that will almost certainly pad the Q2 tournament profile, and that you can never have too many of. You know, assuming Alabama wins.
ESPN announces matchups, dates & times for the first annual @theACC/@SEC Men's & Women's Basketball Challenge— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) June 28, 2023
#NCAAMBB | Nov. 28-29
#NCAAWBB | Nov. 29-30
Across ESPN platforms
More: https://t.co/NjUvI0M7tC pic.twitter.com/UmhAU75jFP
Last season the Tigers were 23-11 (fourth in the Coastal), made a late charge in the ACC tournament, and were rewarded with a number one seed in the NIT…where they promptly lost at home to Morehead in the first round. Et tu, Lake Barners?
For my money, the women get a much more interesting draw, as they face the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Not in basketball terms, but at least someone different.
Kristy Curry gets a 10% raise and a primetime spot hosting an ACC team? Sign me up.
Good luck to both teams and Roll Tide