So here we are, in the midst of a 4-game losing streak for the first time since Jerod Haase’s first season in 2012-13. UAB won just one game of their seven in the month of February, and before Sunday’s game it appeared that all involved might have come to the final realization that the march to March was too tough a row to hoe. If you’re wondering if UAB has ever had a worse February, left me stop you there — you don’t want to know.
I mentioned in my Middle Tennessee post game article that UAB executed what I believe to be their best game plan coming in almost perfectly. Rarely were possessions left for dead in the half court, and entry passes to the post resulted in smart, timely decisions by our bigs. This team can be quite good when they take care of the ball and play with confidence. It’s that simple, right?
The Florida duo will come to Bartow Arena this week where UAB has never lost to either team. We’ll see dominate and entertaining performances in both games if the same level of savvy, effort, and discipline from Sunday is brought to the court. Seniors will be celebrated and will hopefully be the catalyst to the turn around in the final week of the regular season. If they want it, a rare opportunity of winning six games straight in Birmingham, propelling a team left for dead to the big dance, is theirs for the taking. That is, if they want it.
Scouting The Owls
If you think it’s been tough absorbing the emotional tolls of UAB’s back-and-forth efforts, I can assure the erratic Owls have put their fans through worse. At their best they swept Charlotte and Old Dominion on the road, and at their worst they lost to North Texas on their home court. What I’m trying to say is, expect the unexpected Thursday night.
In their 2-game home series last week, The Owls split the two games losing to UTEP but beating UTSA. Most are aware of the Miners recent run of wins, and FAU pushed their streak to the brink before falling by five last Thursday.
In terms of personnel, we’ll see a team that’s not even in the same conversation in terms of skill, size, and physicality as Middle Tennessee. The Owls will often fall in love with the 3-point shot, and on occasion they’ll get hot like they did at Southern Miss two weeks ago when they were 15-of-22 from behind the arc. Their guards Adonis Filer and Gerdarius Troutman are super streaky and can’t be left alone to find their shot.
For UAB, a heavy dose of paint touches early should dictate the play in our favor. FAU will likely play 6-foot-10 William Pfister and 7-foot Ronald Delph at the same time to counter the Blazers front court. This game will be a true barometer of Chris Cokley’s health as he should be able to score at will with his quickness and footwork against a much more lethargic, space filling Owl front line.
3 Things To Watch For
- Defensive Energy – UAB put together a full 40 minutes of solid defense against a talented and multi-layered Blue Raider offense on Sunday. An effort like that this Thursday would result in a blow out in our favor.
- Tyler Madison – Madison hasn’t logged a single minute the past three games, which tells me the leg injury he incurred in January could still be bothering him. Ehsan has been playing Javien and Nate regularly in the first halves of late, and I think Tyler is better suited for those minutes going forward. Hopefully he’ll be back soon as he could be the missing piece to push this team forward.
- Three-Point Shooting – UAB isn’t relying much on the three this season for obvious reasons, but I think they’ll need to be hitting six-plus a game going forward to keep defenses honest in the paint. Let’s hope the friendly confines of Bartow and Legacy Arena get that trend going.