Alabama basketball to face OU in SEC/Big 12 Challenge; Tchikou surgery “successful”

Cecil Hurt
The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama junior guard Herb Jones (1) looks to make a shot during a regular-season game against Penn on Nov. 5, 2019 inside Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. (Photo by David Gray/Alabama athletics)

The Alabama men's basketball program will take on Oklahoma in the eighth annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday. The Crimson Tide and Sooners will square off in Norman, Okla., on Jan. 30, 2021, with television and tip times announced at a later time.

This will mark Alabama's fifth appearance in the annual event, owning a 3-1 record including a 77-74 victory over Kansas State in last year's challenge. The Crimson Tide's only loss in the four contests came in 2018 when it fell at Baylor, 73-68. Alabama was victorious in home games against Texas Tech, 74-64, on Nov. 13, 2013, in the first year of the event and then-No. 12 Oklahoma, 80-73, on Jan. 27, 2018. UA did not participate in the challenge for three consecutive seasons (2015-17).

All 10 of the Big 12's teams and 10 of the SEC's 14 member institutions will participate in this year's showdown. Each of the 10 SEC teams that participated in the 2020 challenge will be a part of the 2021 event.

In 2020, the two conferences shared the challenge title with both leagues earning five wins. Over the last four years of the challenge, each conference has won 20 games.

This will be the sixth year that an open date in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate the single-day format. The first two years of the challenge were played over several days in November and December, but the last five events have been consolidated to one single day in January. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise the contests.

SEC/Big 12 Challenge (January 30, 2021):

Alabama at Oklahoma 

Florida at West Virginia

Texas at Kentucky

Texas Tech at LSU

Kansas at Tennessee

Auburn at Baylor

Iowa State at Mississippi State

TCU at Missouri

Arkansas at Oklahoma State

Texas A&M at Kansas State

The game adds to Alabama’s known non-conference schedule, which includes the Maui Classic (being played in Asheville, N.C) and a neutral-site game against Clemson in Atlanta.

Tchikou surgery “successful,” per UA

Freshan forward Alex Tchikou, who suffered an Achilles injury in practice last week, will be sidelined for the entire 2020-21 season, head coach Nate Oats announced. The 6-11, 225-pound freshman underwent successful surgery on his torn right Achilles Wednesday morning and is expected to make a full recovery.

Surgery was performed by Dr. Norman Waldrop of Andrews Sports Medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Ala.

“It’s really tough to see Alex go down for the season,” Oats said. “Alex is someone who arrived in early August and had quickly established himself in the locker room. He has been a great fit with our program in terms of his work ethic and character. More importantly, he is an upbeat young man with a terrific attitude about him which will be important as he begins his rehabilitation. We are fortunate to have the best medical team in the nation here at The University of Alabama and they will be alongside him every step of the way. We know he’s going to come back even stronger, and we look forward to getting him on the court next season.”

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