Previous game for each team:

On Sunday, January 3, the UAB Blazers (11-3, 1-0) came back from a 12 point halftime deficit to defeat the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders (8-5, 0-1) 78 to 67.

Also on Sunday, The UTSA Roadrunners (3-12, 1-1) defeated the Rice Owls (5-10, 0-2) after a serious comeback bid by the Owls in which they went on a 10-0 run in 1:30; however, UTSA held on to win 85-80.

Game Preview and Prediction:

The Blazers started the last game against MTSU similar to how they did against Stephen F. Austin, but they will look to start a little better this week in rebounding and perimeter defense

The Roadrunners have three players averaging double digits in scoring.

  • Guard Ryan Bowie is averaging 18.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg. He is also boasting an impressive 42.2 shooting percentage form three-point range. His ability to shoot the three-ball could give the Blazer’s zone defense fits, and they will need to lock him down to be successful.
  • Guard Christian Wilson is averaging 11.1 ppg and 3.0 rpg. He is not as prolific a three-point shooter, but is shooting 42.6 percent from the floor this season.
  • Guard J.R. Harris is averaging 11.0 ppg and 2.6 rpg. He is also averaging 32.7 percent shooting from the floor and 29.3 percent from beyond the arc.
All three of these guards are more than capable of drawing fouls as each of them shoots anywhere from three to five free throws a game.
There are several keys to beating the Roadrunners on Thursday.
  • Keep the guards honest: The Blazers must prevent the Roadrunner’s guards from getting hot early. If they can prevent open three-pointers they will take away a major component of the Roadrunner’s offense.
  • Foul trouble: Not only can their guards shoot, they can get to the line. The Blazer’s big men were in foul trouble for the majority of the game against MTSU. They must play strong, but smart, defensively to prevent free throws and fouling out.
  • Rebounding: It is important to any team – just ask Iowa State. The Blazer’s big men must be physical and box out on both ends of the court. Rebounds prevent easy baskets by the other team and allow extra offensive possessions for your team.
  • Playing physically: UAB’s strength and conditioning coach Cory Schlesinger has done an outstanding job in making this team into something more. There is a noticeable difference in the physicality of this team, but they do not always play like it. They need to come out swinging (not literally) and play tough.
 The Blazers are leading the Roadrunners in every major statistic, but in conference play anything can happen. However, if the Blazers can be successful in the three keys listed, they should prevail.
Prediction: UAB 72 UTSA 60