Connor Gentry (@)
I fully expect this game to be ugly. The Monarchs, again, have one of the slowest paced offenses in the NCAA and a smothering defense to compliment it. However, UAB has a pretty stout defense too. I wager this will be a low scoring, defensive affair. The first team to reach 65 points will win this game.
Chris and HaHa will have to have another game like against Charlotte, and Lavender will have to be able to produce on offense and not turn the ball over too many times. The entire team will have to limit turnovers to not waste the few possessions the slow pace of ODU will allow. If the Blazers can force some turnovers and get some easty transition points, then they should have no problem staying in front of the Monarchs.
Score Prediction: UAB 67 Old Dominion 63
Jack Ryan (@)
The game against Charlotte, though not the most complete 40 minutes UAB has played, showed us that this team has it in them to make a run here late. Even when UAB went on a drought, they did not let the game get out of hand and continued to move the ball well.
That being said, ODU will be completely different. As one of the slowest teams in the nation, ODU will force UAB into a half court situation all game. UAB is going to need to take care of the ball like Thursday and move the ball extremely well. Like WKU, this game is going to be a battle of the bigs and be extremely difficult for both sides. ODU doesn’t shoot free throws well at all and UAB hasn’t lately either. The free throw line could be the game winner on Saturday, so UAB needs to step up if the refs are going to call it hard.
Because the pace will be extremely slow, don’t expect this to be a high scoring affair. The only team in conference to hold UAB under 50 was MTSU, but, if UAB has a terrible shooting night, this could be the lowest scoring from either team we have seen all year.
Russell Brasseale (@)
UAB got the win Thursday night as they beat Charlotte 82-69. The Blazers were up six at half, but the 49ers came out hot to start the second and took a brief lead. Nonetheless, UAB got the win and improved to 15-10 overall and 8-4 in the conference. Saturday night marks the annual Bartow Classic as the Blazers pay tribute to the legendary Gene Bartow. Bartow is known as “the Father of UAB athletics” as he left UCLA and came to Birmingham to start its basketball program. The Blazers host Old Dominion who currently sit right behind them as the four seed in the conference standings. Like I said in my staff prediction for Charlotte (which didn’t get posted, looking at you DW), every game from now on is a big one for UAB. These games could be the difference in being a top four seed with a first round bye, or having to play an extra game in the conference tourney. The Monarchs are led by Ahmad Caver who leads the team scoring 13.0 points per game. Old Dominion is very good defensively and will make it tough on the Blazers to score. A good sign for the Blazers Thursday night was Dirk Williams. Williams hit three consecutive 3-pointers and had a massive put-back dunk. If he gets going it could prove vital to the Blazers postseason chances. Everyone remembers the classic these two teams played last year as Nick Norton hit the game-winning floater in overtime. I see this game being similar to that one of last year as two of the better teams in CUSA are meeting Saturday night. UAB really needs this one and I think on the night of honoring Coach Bartow they get it.
Score Prediction: UAB 68 Old Dominion 64
Jake Mastroianni (@)
It’s all about winning the conference tournament at this point, and Saturday’s game is a perfect chance to prepare for said tournament. We need to see improvement every game from here on out to build conference for the tournament. We all know Old Dominion is going to create an ugly and try to keep the score low. Even though UAB hasn’t played like it much this season, they have great potential on offense. Guys like Cokley, Lee, Williams and Lavender have to step up and find ways to score. If they can do that, then I think UAB wins this game at home rather easily.
Score Prediction: UAB 71 Old Dominion 63