March 11, 2010
Greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma, site of this week's Conference USA Tournaments. One has been a blast for the Green and Gold so far, and we're hoping for a similar performance in the other tourney. It's the first time I've ever been to a conference tournament where both the men and the women were playing at the same time in the same city. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, so far. The UAB women have picked the perfect time to get hot again, and it's been fun to see them win three straight and advance to their championship game on Friday at 12:30 PM. After knocking off Tulsa, SMU and Houston, the Blazers are one win away from an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The women will have a day off today, which could be huge, and will face Tulane in the finals. I look forward to seeing some friendly faces in the stands this afternoon at the BOK Center as the UAB men start their quest for a tourney title.
The men arrived in Tulsa on Tuesday evening, just in time to get over to the Reynolds Center and cheer on the women. After practicing on Wednesday (and watching the women win again), it's finally time to play. The Blazers will face Southern Miss on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals. The Golden Eagles out-uglied Tulane on Wednesday, and now UAB will have to try and knock off USM for the third time this season. The Green and Gold pulled out a thriller at home early in the season and then 'cruised' to a five-point win in Hattiesburg about three weeks ago. I suppose facing a team for a third time makes the scouting report easier, and I'm not sure it's any harder to beat team three times than it is to beat them twice.
As I sit courtside at the BOK Center and blog away, Memphis and Houston are squaring off. The winner of this game gets the winner of UAB and Southern Miss on Friday in the semifinals. Currently, the Coogs are holding their own with the Tigers in the first half. Houston routed UM not long ago, so you would think the Cougars have confidence...and it is showing. The crowds are nothing like what we've had at Memphis the last two years at the C-USA Tournament, but today's first game has a decent turnout...I'd say about 2,000...most wearing blue. I'll be interested to see how many stick around for the UAB/Southern Miss game...and just who they'll be pulling for? Hmmmmm....
I invite you to tune in to the broadcasts throughout the tournament...CBS College Sports will be televising the quarterfinals and semifinals...CBS will have the championship game on Saturday at 10:30 AM. I normally do not care for morning basketball, but I'll be more than happy to have my coffee on Saturday at the BOK Center!
A last thought before I get ready for the UAB game...how nice it is to see Kevin Mathis officiating...the Houston/Memphis game.
Happy Tournament Week...and GO BLAZERS!!!