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North Dakota announces 3-game series with Alabama; Grant Nelson gets home game

The basketball team from Alabama is coming to North Dakota, the home of Grant Nelson.

The Crimson Tide will travel to the Betty Englestad Sioux Center for the first of three games, UND announced on its website Friday afternoon, with the first game scheduled for Dec. 18.

“It's not often that a potential top-five team comes to Grand Forks! It should be a great environment and opportunity to compete against a great team on our home court,” UND head coach Paul Sather said in a statement.

According to Sather, UND assistant basketball coach Jamie Stevens contacted Alabama after Nelson announced his return for a final year of collegiate participation on April 29. Sather said Alabama head coach Nate Oats was “excited” about the idea, and now the teams will play once in North Dakota and twice in Tuscaloosa (2025-26 and 2027-28).

Nelson is a native of Devils Lake, ND, and was named the state's Mr. Basketball and named to the state's first team in 2020. He began his college career at North Dakota State and averaged 11.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game his senior year at UA.

Alabama's non-league schedule continues to be notable. Nelson's home opener will be coupled with trips to Purdue and Las Vegas (tournament). Alabama will also host Creighton. The school has not yet officially announced its participation in the Las Vegas Players Era Festival or its game against North Dakota.

UA and UND have never met. The Fighting Hawks posted a record of 18-14 last season.

Anna Harden

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