You’d be hard pressed to find a person with higher expectations than me leading into this season. I wrote thousands of words in the offseason praising UAB’s depth and their chance to be a nationally recognized and respected team this season. I still contest a healthy UAB team wins four or five of the big games they lost in the non-conference.

Guess what? It didn’t happen.

Get over it.

UAB plays in the Conference USA. It’s not the Big 12, American, or A10 even. I know this conference and I know the personnel the team’s are equipped with. Chris Cokley and William Lee aren’t going to be facing lottery picks week in and week out going forward. Lavender, Baxter, and Williams won’t be guarded by combo guards with 7-foot wing spans going forward.

I’m not telling any of you anything you don’t already know. It’s OK to be disappointed and it’s OK to expect better. What’s not OK is giving up on your team and/or publicly bashing coaches and their decisions on social media.

Is it wins you want? Take a look at Florida International’s schedule. This team, even without Nick Norton, would have 10 or more wins going into conference play with that schedule. You know what they wouldn’t have? Experience against some of the best teams and players in college basketball. Trust me, it will pay dividends sooner rather than later.

Looking Forward

UAB starts Conference USA play on the road for their first three games. New Year’s Day in Murfreesboro, like the the non-conference record, won’t make or break the season. It will however be a good indicator of how the Blazers stack up against one of the best, if not the best, teams in the conference. And by the way, the Blue Raiders are struggling too having just lost to a mediocre Georgia St. squad at home Wednesday night.

Following the Middle game, the Blazers will face North Texas, Rice, WKU, and Marshall in succession. Those are top half of the conference teams and are significantly more beatable than many of the teams UAB has seen the last two months.

All is not lost, and our players and coaches don’t all of the sudden stink due to a lop-sided loss to Texas. It’s time for conference play and that’s all that matters going forward. Although in reality, the only Conference USA team that will be dancing is the one that’s holding the trophy in Birmingham come March.