VIEW FROM THE BOOTH - DAVID CRANE
Thanks, in advance, for February 16th. I can't wait to see what a sold-out Bartow Arena looks like when the top-ranked Memphis Tigers come to town. The game is officially SOLD OUT, and the only available seats will be in the student section. So, UAB STUDENTS, plan on getting to the Arena early!
As much fun as that game will be, there's plenty to worry about before then. It starts tonight (Tuesday) in Hattiesburg. The Blazers are going for a season sweep of Southern Miss after winning in Birmingham a few weeks back. This will be my first visit to the Reed Green Coliseum, but from all reports, there are "friendlier" places to play around the league.
I do think the Green and Gold are playing some pretty good basketball right now, especially after last week's win at UCF and the "inspired" performance against Marshall, the only team in CUSA to beat the Blazers. USM will no doubt be looking for some payback of their own after the loss at Bartow. UAB raced out to a huge lead in that game, but the Golden Eagles closed the gap in the second half, and Larry Eustachy's team scored 92 points on Saturday in routing East Carolina.
Lawrence Kinnard had a wonderful two games last week, and we can only hope it wasn't simply a good week. He is such a handful for opponents when he plays like that, and I know we would all love to see that impressive performance each and every night. Channing Toney is also playing well these days. It's taken him a few games to get back in "game shape," but he's proving to be quite an addition to the roster. Not only can he score, but he's also a great defender.
I'm hopeful the weather is the only exciting thing about tonight here in Hattiesburg. I'd be very pleased to slip out of here with a win, whatever the score, and get ready for UTEP. The Miners come to Birmingham on Saturday, and they gave Memphis quite a scare last weekend at the FedEx Forum. Tip time is 7 PM at Bartow, and there's no reason the Memphis game has to be our only sellout of the year. This Blazer team is fun to watch, and they play VERY well at home. I can guarantee you they will play even better with a full house!
I know it's only early February, but you really are running out of time to see this team play at home. If you haven't been to a game at Bartow Arena this season, what are you waiting for? UAB hasn't lost a game on its home floor, and the Blazers are winning by an average of about 22 points per home game. Does that mean the games are dull? Uh, no. It means they are putting on a show, and I promise you'll enjoy it! Tickets remain for the rest of the home schedule (minus Memphis), and you can order online here at www.uabsports.com or by calling the ticket office at (205) 975-UAB1.
Be careful with the severe weather on Tuesday, and if we don't see you at Southern Miss, I certainly hope you'll be there on Saturday for UAB and UTEP.
Have a great week, and GO BLAZERS!!!