Had the South Region of the 2023 NCAA Tournament played out according to the seeds, Arizona and Alabama would have met on Sunday in Louisville for a spot in the Final Four. They’ll have to settle for a regular-season clash nine months later on the other side of the country.
College basketball insider Jon Rothstein is reporting that the Wildcats will face Alabama on Dec. 20 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, with the UA taking on the Crimson Tide in Birmingham some time in the 2024-25 season according to Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star.
It will be the first meeting between the schools since the 2018-19 season, when the UA lost 78-73 to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. That was the return game of a home-and-home that saw Arizona win at McKale Center 88-82 in Dec. 2017.
The Crimson Tide hold a 3-1 edge in the all-time series, the other two wins coming in the 1985 and 1990 NCAA tourneys.
Alabama makes at least two high-profile opponents Arizona will face away from home in its 2023-24 nonconference schedule. It also plays Nov. 10 at Duke in the start of a home-and-home series.
The Wildcats went 11-0 in non-league play this past season, including wins over Indiana in Las Vegas, Tennessee at home and a run to the Maui Invitational title that included beating Elite Eight reacher Creighton and Final Four participant San Diego State.
Alabama was the No. 1 overall seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament but lost to SDSU in the South Region semifinals this past Friday.