As 2015 draws to an end, it is a good time to truly look back on what was an amazing year for basketball at UAB.
When the calendar flipped from 2014 to 2015 there was not really much to be excited for as a Blazer fan. With a record of 4-9, fans were beginning to worry what conference play was going to hold.
After not losing a conference game at home, and winning the conference championship in the friendly confines of Legacy Arena, UAB headed to the Big Dance in Louisville, Ky. as a 14 seed to face a trendy pick for the Final Four in Iowa State.
The Blazers stood toe-to-toe with the Cyclones all day. As they had done so many times in the few short months of 2015 they found a way to win.
The season rolled on into the Round of 32 where the Blazers faced UCLA in what would ultimately be there last game, but not after accomplishing so much.
As one season ended, fans and others were already looking forward to the start of another. With many of his players returning from that NCAA Tournament run, Coach Haase excepted big things from his team.The 4th annual Hoops on the Haasephalt brought in a record crowd of 7,500 people – large part in due to the guest appearance of Deontay Wilder, the boxer from Tuscaloosa, but it was also a testament to the excitement around the basketball program.
Starting the season off with a big road game in Auburn Arena, UAB fell to the home team by one point. The players and coaches knew that the experiences from that game would prove critical down the stretch of the season.
Returning to Bartow Arena for the first home game of the season, the Blazers got the win behind a fired up crowd and over 1,447 students – the most students at a basketball game in over 10 years.
UAB continued its winning ways with wins over Troy and Jacksonville State, before heading down to Niceville, Fla. for the Emerald Coast Classic. After two losses to two solid teams in Illinois and Virginia Tech, UAB has not lost since.
After being down by as much as 18 late Tuesday afternoon, the Blazers found a way to beat a very good Stephen F. Austin team, pushing their win streak to seven games and going undefeated in the month of December.
For those of you counting at home, the Blazers did not lose a game in Birmingham in all of 2015. This truly was a year for the ages for a team that has so much left to play for. If 2015 was any indication, I would say that there are big things in store for 2016.