Bama Hoops Hype

UAH at Alabama: Exhibition Preview

Alabama Men's Basketball

It’s no longer just football season in Tuscaloosa.

The Alabama men’s basketball team will play its final exhibition game to prepare for the 2017-18 season. The Crimson Tide host the Chargers from the University of Alabama at Huntsville on Monday night at 7 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum.

“Obviously really excited about this exhibition game,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “The guys have been playing against each other for a long time… I know it’s something they’re really looking forward to.”

Tonight will mark the first chance that home fans will have to catch a glimpse of Johnson’s new squad in real-game action. The team drew excitement during open practices and its Tide Tip-Off event but those were obviously not game-like situations. Alabama went 2-1 in exhibition games during its summer trip to Canada and then defeated Baylor in a closed scrimmage in Atlanta last week.

The biggest story of the night will be to see how the big names of the Tide’s freshman class perform. Collin Sexton and John Petty have shown their ability to score the basketball but it will be intriguing to see how Coach Johnson uses them during a game.

“We have more versatility on the court now,” Avery Johnson Jr. said last week. “It’s going to be good to see how we mesh. A lot of guards can play alongside other guards. There’s not just one point guard.”

Johnson Jr. is just one of many returning role players for the Crimson Tide. Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram will be expected to see the court just as much as they did last season. With those three players plus the likes of Riley Norris, Donta Hall and others, it will be interesting to see who sacrifices playing time because of the new freshman.

The Crimson Tide will likely be putting out a large mixture of lineups on Monday night as Coach Johnson experiments with his team. There may not be a clear “best lineup” for the Crimson Tide until the beginning of conference play at the end of December.

“Fortunately this year, we can have a lot of different combinations on the floor,” Coach Johnson said while previewing Monday night’s game.

It will be the third time in the last eight seasons that the two teams will meet in an exhibition game. Alabama defeated UAH in both of the previous games, including a 67-60 before the 2011-12 season.

The game will be aired on WatchESPN tonight where Tide fans can listen to the familiar voice of Chris Stewart on the call.

Caleb Turrentine is the editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @CalebTurrentine.

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