UAB improved to 3-0 Thursday night after a choppy 81-57 victory over LeMoyne-Owen College
If you didn’t attend the game, you’d assume the Blazers put together a dominate 40 minute performance en route to an easy 24-point victory. In reality, UAB had their struggles with offensive consistency for most of the night largely due to our fine tuning of roster rotations and their various zone defenses. Nonetheless, scoring 81 and holding the Magicians to 57 is worthy of some praise, and I’m certain we’ll learn from some of the mistakes we made.
- The Good Stuff — Chris Cokley has been unstoppable early in the season against inferior competition racking up three consecutive double-doubles. The senior has yet to face a formidable frontcourt, but that will change in a hurry next week. I’m anxious to see how he’ll fare against the likes of Cincinnati, Iowa, and South Dakota State’s Mike Daum if we happen to draw these teams.
- The Not So Good Stuff — Our offense had some stagnant moments last night even with our best players on the court. Nate Darling had an off night (seemed to have back issues) and there’s no way to sugar coat the fact that Nick is rusty. He had his flashes of brilliance with some pretty three quarter length passes last night, but he struggled in our half-court sets. He mentioned in his post game interview with David Crane that he’s only been cleared for full speed action for a little over a month. He’ll come along quickly as his IQ is there but his body is still catching up. William lee, we’re ready for you to start the season.
Heading to this tournament with three wins and a healthy roster is all you can reasonably ask for. Let’s build off the positives and look forward. We’ve built up some momentum and by my evaluation we have one of the most diverse arsenals of offensive weapons in quite some time. Defensively, I’m very happy with our guard’s activeness and their ability to create steals that convert to fast break opportunities. We sorely missed this last season. Now let’s take a quick peak at the tournament bracket and our first opponent, Richmond.
2017 Cayman Island Classic
On Sunday I’ll do a more thorough preview for Richmond, but today I’ll briefly mention that this is a very down year for the Spiders. On paper we drew the worst team at this tournament. T.J. Cline, one of their programs all-time players, graduated last season and their leading returning scorer Kwan Fore is out 4-6 weeks. They are 0-2 at home with blowout losses to Delaware and Jacksonville State.
This is a very deep tournament even though it doesn’t have many marquee names outside of Cincinnati and Iowa. Louisiana, Buffalo, Wyoming, UAB, and South Dakota State are projected to be top three teams in their respective conferences. In our portion of the bracket, no team has lost this season other than Richmond. If we’re able to get past the Spiders on Monday, we’d be afforded the 6:30 p.m. CT time slot against what will likely be a top 10 Cincinnati team, but let’s make sure we exterminate the arachnids first.