Tulane (15-10) at U-A-B (11-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bartow Arena (8,508) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Tulane 12-3, UAB 6-7. Away Record: Tulane 2-7, UAB 4-6. Neutral Record: Tulane 1-0, UAB 1-1. Conference Record: Tulane 3-8, UAB 6-6. Series Record: UAB leads, 21-12.
GAMES NOTES: The Tulane Green Wave and the UAB Blazers will meet for the first and only time this season in a Conference USA matchup at Bartow Arena.
UAB has been the dominant team in the all-time series between these squads with 21 wins in the previous 33 meetings including victories in seven straight.
Tulane ripped off nine straight wins to open the season and had a stellar 11-2 record heading into the new year. Since then the Green Wave have come down to Earth, going just 3-8 in the new calendar year. All of those games have come against C-USA competition putting Tulane in a tie with East Carolina and Houston for ninth in the conference. This is the first of a two-game road trip that ends against SMU on Wednesday.
UAB did not have nearly the same amount of success to open the season as Tulane but the Blazers have begun to find their bearings recently, winning four of their last five matchups and moving to an even 6-6 in conference play which is a half game behind Marshall and Rice for fifth in the league standings. UAB will be off for a week before hitting the road against East Carolina after this matchup.
Although it played at home, Tulane was outclassed by Memphis in its last game as the Green Wave suffered a 82-65 defeat on its home floor. Tulane led 33-32 at halftime but allowed the Tigers to shoot a scorching 74.1 percent from the floor in the second period.
Tulane really hasn't been the same since the squad lost junior guard Kendall Timmons (13.6 ppg) to a right Achilles injury in mid-January. Tulane has seen it overall offensive output drop to just 65.8 points per game which is ninth in the conference after being near the top of the conference in scoring earlier this year. The Green Wave do play solid defense however, limiting opponents to just 58.9 points per game. With Timmons down, freshman Ricky Tarrant has played a much bigger role and is currently leading the team in both points (14.6 ppg) and assists (3.1 apg). Junior guard Jordan Callahan (12.2 ppg) has also needed to be a bigger scorer for the Green Wave and has stepped up with double figures in seven of the eight games since Timmons' injury. Josh Davis (10.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg) has excelled in the paint this season and is currently fourth in the conference in rebounding.
There are two possible impressions UAB can take away from its win over SMU on Wednesday. Either the Blazers played fantastic defense or were lucky enough to overcome a poor offensive performance in taking a 47-28 win. In the game the Blazers shot only 34.1 percent from the floor but limited the Mustangs to just eight field goals in the game to pull out the win. It was the second fewest points allowed in school history by the Blazers and the lowest ever scored by a C-USA squad.
UAB has been paced all season by the strong play on the inside of senior forward Cameron Moore. Moore is averaging team highs in points (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg) while also proving to be an effective defender around the rim (conference best 2.6 blocks per game). Moore was one of only two players in double figures against SMU scoring 12 but continued his consistent play on the boards in bringing down 11 rebounds. Jordan Swing (10.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Ovie Soko (8.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) join Moore in forming the Blazers' strong frontline. Weak guard play has hurt the Blazers this season though, with Preston Purifoy (8.0 ppg) representing the best of the backcourt bunch. This weakness has led UAB to a mere 59.0 points per game, the worst mark in C-USA.
Although UAB has not been a strong team at home this season, with just a 6-7 record at Bartow Arena, Tulane has not been a team that travels well (2-7 on the road). The Blazers' frontline should be able to push around Davis and the Green Wave in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 65, Tulane 59
02/18 11:14:54 ET