Teams: No. 25 UAB (18-2, 6-0 C-USA) vs. UTEP (14-5, 5-1) Where: Bartow Arena (8,500)
Time: 7 p.m.
Radio: 107.7 FM
Coaches: Mike Davis 193-120 (.617) 10 seasons, fourth at UAB; Tony Barbee (UTEP) 70-58 (.583) in fourth season at UTEP.
Key Players UAB- Elijah Millsap, 16.6 ppg, 9.6 rbg, 1.9 steals per game 11 double-doubles, Howard Crawford 12.3 ppg, Jamarr Sanders 10.8 ppg, leads the team in 3-pt shooting 38-of-104, Aaron Johnson 9 ppg, 4.4 apg.
UTEP-Randy Culpepper 17.2 ppg, scored 39 against Central Florida (1-23), leads team in three-pointers made with 49-of-137, Derrick Caracter 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rbg, Arnett Moultrie 11.8 ppg., Christian Polk 11.6 ppg., Jeremy Williams 10.6 ppg.
Analysis: UTEP scores 77.9 ppg, so the UAB defense has their work cut out for them. Blazers play that tough, athletic style of play on defense. They just swarm to the basketball. Shooting needs to get better, but they're getting it done in the clutch. Nineteen-of-20 from free throw line in the second half vs Tulsa (95%). This team finds a way every game and this is another key matchup against a good basketball team.
The five starters including George Drake need to put a good two halves together. The first half of the Tulsa game was awesome, the second half not so good offensively until the end. I know Mike Davis has this team shooting all the time, because when they're on shooting, they're almost unstoppable because of the way they play defense.
UAB should win this game, but it'll be another conference challenge. Home crowd always helps at Bartow. It needs to be loud and supportive.