CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team will face the University of Alabama inside Fifth Third Arena on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 as part of the second annual SEC/BIG EAST Challenge, the BIG EAST, SEC and ESPN jointly announced Friday.
All 12 games of the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge will be carried by ESPN. The game times and which ESPN channel will carry each game will be announced at a later date.
The Bearcats have twice previously faced the Crimson Tide but this will be the first meeting between the two in Cincinnati. UC defeated Alabama in overtime, 77-74, in the title game of the 2000 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. Alabama defeated UC, 83-64, on Nov. 28, 1983, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama compiled a 21-12 record last season and was seeded ninth in the NCAA tournament. The Crimson Tide lost to No. 8 seed Creighton, 58-57, in a second-round game played in Greensboro, N.C.
The Crimson Tide are coached by Anthony Grant, who will be entering his fourth season at the helm in 2012-13. Grant is 63-39 at Alabama and claimed an SEC West Division title in 2010-11.
Alabama’s top returning scorer will be Trevor Releford, a 6-1 junior guard who started 30 of 32 games and averaged 12.0 points per game, third best on the team.
UC finished 26-11 in 2011-12, extending to six seasons its streak of at least equaling its win total from the previous year. The Bearcats reached the title game of the BIG EAST Conference tournament for the first time and earned their second-consecutive berth into the NCAA tournament, where they were seeded sixth in their regional and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001. UC was ranked No. 18 in the end-of-season USA Today-ESPN coaches’ poll and has been tabbed No. 18 in a 2012-13 preseason ranking released by Sporting News last week. The Bearcats will return three starters and 10 lettermen in 2012-13.