UAB-UNC tonight

Where: Bartow Arena (8,500) Time: 8 p.m.


Records: UAB 25-8; North Carolina 18-16

Last time out: UAB defeated North Carolina State at home, 72-52. North Carolina defeated Mississippi State on the road, 76-74.

Key players:

UAB: Elijah Millsap, 16.0 ppg. 9.6 rbg; Howard Crawford, 12.0, 4.4; Jamarr Sanders, 10.2, 4.9; Aaron Johnson, 9.8, 4.9 apg.

North Carolina: F-Deon Thompson (6'9", 245, Sr.) 13.6, 6.2; F-G-Will Graves (6'6" , 240, RS Jr) 9.5, 4.7; F-Tyler Zeller (7'0", 240, Fr) 9.5, 4.8; Larry Drew II (6'2", 180, Soph) 8.3, 6.0 apg.

Coaches: Mike Davis (UAB): 200-126, 10 seasons overall; 85-47 at UAB (fourth season). Davis vs. North Carolina, 0-1.

Roy Williams (UNC) 612-154, 22 seasons overall; 194-53 at UNC, seven seasons. Two national championships: 2005 and 2009. 1-0 vs UAB.

Notes: Elijah Millsap set the school record for double-doubles with 17 after scoring 27 points and pulling down 15 rebounds vs NC State last Saturday. He broke a tie with Carlos Williams, who accomplished the feat in 1996-97.

Free throws in the clutch: This is critical in a close game which this could be:

A breakdown of UAB players from the charity stripe in the last five minutes of the game:

George Drake: 27-31, 87%

Howard Crawford: 30-39, 77%

Jamarr Sanders: 9-12, 75%

Elijah Millsap: 36-50, 72%

Here's another key stat. In games won UAB has held opponents to 39% shooting, 29% from trifecta and allowed 57 points. In the games they've lost they've allowed the opponent to shoot 45% from the field, 37% from trifecta and allowed 70 points.

Analysis: UAB can match up with Carolina. This, obviously, isn't Carolina's best team but there are McDonald's All-Americans all over the roster. UAB needs to lock down on defense. UNC shoots 45% from the field and 33% from trifecta. UAB shoots 42% from the field and 31% trifecta. The defense will have to carry the Blazers and they're going to have to shoot at a 40 percent clip or higher. Carolina is a scoring team, always have been, so UAB will have to shoot pretty well from the field, knock down five or so trifectas, and shoot 70 percent from the line.

The crowd should be electric with this storied program in town. Hopefully, there are 8,500 plus in the crowd. UAB needs that sixth man if it's close. Crawford and Kenneth Cooper will need to slow down Thompson and Johnson, Drake and Sanders will need to try and slow down Drew,Graves, Marcus Ginyard and company on the outside.

UAB's got a shot no doubt, and it would be huge to knock off a team like UNC and go to New York. Would be a huge boost for the players in the program who have worked so hard this year and were disappointed at not making the big tourney. This is a good consolation if they can pull it off. They'll need to be sharp tonight. Carolina may not have their best team, but they are capable of lighting up the scoreboard. UAB's defense will have to be good and force Carolina turnovers (Carolina averages 15.4 per game) and score off those turnovers. And they'll probably need to score in the 70's.