Tulane (15-15) vs. U-A-B (14-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 7, 10:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: FedEx Forum (18,119) -- Memphis, Tennessee. Television: CSS. Home Record: Tulane 12-5, UAB 8-7. Away Record: Tulane 2-10, UAB 6-8. Neutral Record: Tulane 1-0, UAB 0-0. Conference Record: Tulane 3-13, UAB 9-7. Series Record: UAB leads, 22-12.
GAME NOTES: The first round of the 2012 Conference USA Tournament concludes tonight, as the 12th-seeded Tulane Green Wave take on the fifth-seeded UAB Blazers in Memphis, with the winner moving into the quarterfinals on Thursday to battle UCF.
Tulane got off to a terrific start this season, winning its first nine games and 10 of its first 12 overall. Things took a turn for the worse once the C- USA slate kicked into hear, however, and even though it has a respectable 15-15 overall record, it finished the regular season in last place with a 3-13 league ledger. The Green Wave are in the midst of a season-long, seven-game losing streak, which includes a 66-49 setback against East Carolina in the regular-season finale.
UAB actually has a worse overall record at 14-15, one of just three C-USA teams to have a losing mark, but it was able to get its act together during the conference schedule, earning the fifth-seed in this event by going 9-7 in league play. The Blazers had been on fire, winning seven of eight, before heading into hostile territory at UCF Arena and falling to the Knights in a 71-63 decision in the regular-season finale.
UAB has a 22-12 advantage in the all-time series over Tulane. The Blazers have been especially dominant of late, winning eight in a row over the Green Wave, including an 81-73 decision in the only meeting this year on Feb. 18 in Birmingham.
Tulane possesses a strong defense, as the team yields just 61.3 ppg. Unfortunately, the offense leaves much to be desired, as the team nets just 63.2 ppg while shooting 42.4 percent from the floor, which includes a 34.3 percent showing from three-point range, and a free-throw percentage of only .659. Despite their lackluster scoring attack, the Green Wave has one of the most dynamic players in the conference on their side in First Team All C-USA selection Ricky Tarrant. The freshman became the first Tulane player to be named to the league's first team since 1997 by averaging 15.2 ppg, 3.3 apg, 1.7 spg and 1.7 three-pointers per game. Jordan Callahan (10.9 ppg), Tarrant's running mate at the guard position, has also had a solid season, although he struggles from the field at just 38.3 percent. Josh Davis has been effective in the paint, scoring 10.9 ppg and grabbing 9.4 rpg, fourth-best in the conference.
Much like Tulane, UAB also has a strong defense, except it has equaled much more success in C-USA play. It ranks third in both scoring defense (61.3 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.411), which helps pick up the slack for an underachieving offense (60.3 ppg). Incredibly, the Blazers are the only team in the conference to have a negative scoring margin (-1.0). UAB also has an All-Conference First Team member in forward Cameron Moore. The 6-10 senior was arguably the league's most dominating presence in the paint this year, ranking third in scoring at 16.2 ppg while placing first in both rebounding (10.4 rpg) and blocks (2.5 bpg). If he can somehow catch Tulsa's Jordan Clarkson in the scoring race (16.6 ppg), Moore would become the first C-USA player to rank in the top two in scoring, rebounding and blocks since Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin accomplished the feat in 1999-2000. Jordan Swing provides a nice complement from the outside for the Blazers, scoring 11.4 ppg with 1.8 three-pointers per contest.
You can throw overall records out the window in this game, as these two teams have been trending in opposite directions for some time now. Expect UAB to bounce back from a tough loss in the regular-season finale and take down the Green Wave tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 65, Tulane 57
03/07 10:35:18 ET