After 16 tries, UAB finally beats a downtrodden Memphis team and reminds fans this squad could be special. Road games versus Troy and Auburn next week are now in the Blazers’ crosshairs.
Despite the fact that the Tigers fielded one of the worst teams of theirs I’ve ever seen, UAB showed just how dangerous they can be when all the cylinders are firing. Chris Cokley is the early front-runner for C-USA Player of the Year and Zack Bryant has gained the admiration of all Blazer fans. Please step away from the ledge doubters, the Blazers are back.
We’ve mentioned a lot lately that UAB has been pretty decent offensively but the defense has been a dumpster fire at times. Memphis is far from an offensive juggernaut, but I really liked our aggressiveness in the first 10 minutes, which yielded just six points for the Tigers. Currently the Blazers are ranked 13th in the country in defensive rebounds, which is a drastic change from last year’s inability to stop second chance opportunities. When this team fully engages defensively they can be really tough to score on.
From here we shift our focus to a Troy team that may very well be the best they’ve been in decades. This Trojans team features an experienced core of Jordon Varnado and Wesley Person who can shoot the lights out of his uncle’s jail cell. A win Tuesday is the equivalent of beating one of the top Conference USA teams on the road. Troy is for real and will give us a good test before we head down to The Plains to face Auburn on Saturday.
The pursuit of rebounding from the Cayman catastrophe is extremely critical, and thankfully our schedule affords us the opportunity to get some front page wins that will help our confidence and regain the attention of the casual fans. This UAB team deserves a rocking Bartow Arena, and they can build towards that possibility with a couple of in-state wins in the coming week.
Lastly, I want to mention an observation I had during the middle part of the second half. For a large portion of the second half Nick Norton and Haha were either on the bench or non factors. The combination of Scootie Bryant, Lewis Sullivan, and Jalen Perry give UAB a potent second squad that defends at a very high level and can score in a variety of ways. Lets not forget Mahktar Gueye either. His rebounding and defense have improved ten fold since he first came onto the scene. This team’s depth, when playing at their potential, gives me the warm fuzzies.
We highly recommend you call in sick Tuesday and take the trek down to Trojan Arena, aka Bartow South. Whipping Troy is always a great time.