FLORENCE - The University of North Alabama men's and women's basketball teams will open the 2011-12 seasons this weekend on the road. The two teams will combine to play five games over a four-day period.
The UNA men will open the season in Atlanta with a pair of games against teams from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Lions will open the season with a neutral-site game against Clark Atlanta Friday at 5 p.m. (CST) on the campus of Morehouse College.
The following night UNA will remain at Morehouse to play the host Maroon Tigers. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (CST) at Forbes Arena.
"This weekend should be a good test for our team," said UNA head coach Bobby Champagne. "We will have an opportunity to play two in-region opponents. We are really looking forward to playing Division II teams as our exhibition season was very challenging."
North Alabama faced Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee during its pre-season schedule.
On Sunday, the Lions will return to Flowers Hall to see action for the third consecutive day with a 3 p.m. contest against Huntingdon College. The home-opener will also feature the inaugural Sundaes on Sunday promotion, where the first 100 UNA students will receive a free ice cream sundae.
The UNA women will open season on the road against a former Gulf South Conference rival. The Lions will play at Montevallo Saturday at 2 p.m.
North Alabama is coming off a 21-7 campaign a year ago where the team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 17 seasons. Montevallo, now a member of the Peach Belt Conference, finished last season with a 10-17 record.
"We are excited to tip off our season this weekend at Montevallo," said UNA head women's coach Terry Fowler. "They have a new coach, so the unknown will present some unique challenges for us. We have a good mix of returners and new players and it would be great to start the season out with a road region win."
After opening the season on the road this weekend, UNA will host Tennessee-Temple in its home opener the following Monday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at Flowers Hall. The women's home-opener will also feature the inaugural Michael Jackson Night promotion, where UNA students and fans are encouraged to attend the game dresses like the King of Pop.
Best Buy $200 gift cards will be awarded to the UNA student best dressed as Michael Jackson, and the UNA student who wins the Michael Jackson dance competition at half-time of the game.