The Alabama men’s basketball team will take on Gonzaga next season in the Battle in Seattle on Dec. 4, it was officially announced Wednesday. It will be the first meeting between the two programs and the first college basketball event at the brand-new Climate Pledge Arena, which is scheduled to open in October of 2021.
Gonzaga is expected to return the game in 2022-23 in Birmingham. Further details of that contest will be revealed at a later date.
“We are excited to play an incredibly-talented team like Alabama in front of our great Seattle fan base,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said in a release. “Coach Oats is building something special in Tuscaloosa. We are looking forward to the matchup in a brand-new world-class venue.”
This is the 14th edition of the Battle in Seattle but the first since 2015. Gonzaga beat Tennessee, 86-79, in 2015. The Bulldogs have won the last five Battle in Seattle games and hold a 9-4 all-time record in the event. The 2015 event drew its highest attendance at 16,770 fans.
Gonzaga posted a 31-1 record this past season, including a perfect 15-0 mark in West Coast Conference play, with the Bulldogs only loss coming to Baylor in the national title game.
Alabama will now face three of the Final Four teams from last season in Baylor, Gonzaga and Houston. The Tide will face Baylor and Houston — both in Tuscaloosa. In addition, UA is also set to participate in the 2021 ESPN Events Invitational from Nov. 25-28 in Orlando. Other teams in the loaded field include Drake, Iona, Kansas, Miami (Fla.) and North Texas.
“I’m about playing really good teams and getting exposed and getting better,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “That’s a non-conference game — it’s not your typical non-conference game because it comes in the middle of conference play with the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. But we’re playing Gonzaga in Seattle, we’re playing Houston at home, we’re playing Baylor. We’ve got three out of the four Final Four teams from last year, so we’re not shying away from anybody.
“I’m looking forward to it. Even if they’re not all wins, I think they all make us better. As long as we’re getting better every game, exposing our weaknesses, turning around and get better at them and then put ourselves in a better shot to win the SEC, that’s what we’re about.”
Tickets for the Battle in Seattle go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 16. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting climatepledgearena.com.
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