UAB’s Jekyll and Hyde performances as of late have left a sour taste for many as the Blazers have likely played themselves out of the regular season conference title chase.
I won’t harp too much on last Saturday as I know many, like myself, are still very bitter and disappointed. UAB looked unprepared and disinterested in what was pretty much a home blow out to an inferior opponent. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.
I never like to question the passion of 18-21 year old kids because they are just that — kids. I will, however, question the game plan and strategy they were equipped with. After giving up 28 3-pointers in the prior two games, UAB trotted out the same defensive schemes and the same personnel despite UTSA clearly going with a guard heavy lineup prepared to torch us from behind the arc.
Giving up 42 3-pointers in a three-game stretch is hard to fathom, and hardly the result of just some “hot shooting.” It’s embarrassing, and in my opinion, not a true reflection of what this team is capable of. I don’t get paid to coach — and that’s probably a good thing — but the people who do have their work cut out for them as the blue print to beating their team has clearly been exposed.
Scouting the 49ers
Charlotte and UAB have a long and storied history on the hardwood. The teams have played 46 times with UAB leading the series 30-16. This year’s 49ers team is struggling mightily at 3-15 and have only won one conference game. Charlotte hasn’t won at home since before Thanksgiving and their coach Mark Price was fired back in November.
What’s really bizarre about this team is they’re not that different from the one UAB beat twice last season. In the second meeting between the two teams last year it came down to the final possession at the C-USA tournament. Jon Davis, Andrien White, and Austin Ajukwa are all still around and were core pieces of that team. I will no longer predict any game to be an easy out for UAB going forward despite a team’s record.
I’d expect Charlotte to do exactly what every other smaller team has done against us — use our size against us and bomb 3-pointers all night. They have no interior presence worth mentioning, but if you’ve watched them the past few seasons you know how hot Davis and White can get from behind the arc.
UAB settled for bad shots more last Saturday than I’ve seen at any other point this season. Per HaslemMetrics.com it was the Blazer’s worst performance of the season and their least efficient. This team’s margin of error offensively shrinks significantly when the outside shots aren’t falling. Darling and Norton can’t have off nights. Period.
3 Keys to Blazer Victory
- Obviously perimeter defense should be the team’s number one focus going forward. Please let this team defend the three for one game.
- There’s no reason Cokley shouldn’t have 20-plus points Thursday night. Even with UTSA’s fantastic game plan, he still ultimately got his points. Hopefully our guards will hit some early shots and open things up for him.
- Charlotte is a sub 300 team and UAB hasn’t lost to a team ranked that low since 2012. This isn’t a key to victory, but more of something to be aware of if we decide to lay another egg.