Senior forward and 2013 C-USA Second Team performer Rod Rucker returns for the Blazers in 2013-14.
July 29, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Nine games against new members of Conference USA and clashes with league regulars East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP highlight the UAB men's basketball conference schedule, the C-USA office announced on Monday.
With the conference announcement, the Blazers, who enter their second season under head coach Jerod Haase, have finalized their opponents for the 2013-14 season. Game times will be announced at a later date.
The Blazers previously announced a non-conference slate that includes home games against North Carolina (Dec. 1) and Rutgers (Nov. 11), along with a road contest at LSU (Dec. 21) and an appearance in the Charleston Classic (Nov. 21-24).
"Conference USA has a lot of depth and will present some challenges for us this year as we begin the 2013-14 season," Haase said. "We look froward to a playing a lot of good teams and are eager to get started."
UAB's 31-game schedule, which includes 17 home games at Bartow Arena, features six potential matchups with 2013 NCAA Tournament participants, while the Blazers' C-USA schedule features two first-time meetings - against UTSA at Bartow Arena on Jan. 16 and at FIU on Feb. 6.
In all, UAB holds a 53-25 (.679) record against teams who will begin Conference USA action for the first time in 2013-14. The Blazers will play new members UTSA (Jan. 16), North Texas (Jan. 23), Old Dominion (Jan. 30), FIU (Feb. 6), Florida Atlantic (Feb. 8), Charlotte (Feb. 22) and Louisiana Tech (March 2) each once during the upcoming season. UAB opens conference play on Saturday, Jan. 11 when the Blazers travel to Middle Tennessee.
Of the new C-USA members, only Old Dominion and Charlotte have been frequent opponents for the Blazers. UAB holds a 17-9 all-time record against ODU and a 25-15 all-time mark against the 49ers.
"This year we have a new flavor to Conference USA with a lot of new teams joining the league," Haase said. "I think as a whole it will only add to the great tradition of C-USA basketball and the success we have had in the past."
UAB's C-USA schedule will also feature contests with familiar faces from the conference. After an open date on Jan. 9 and games at Middle Tennessee and against UTSA to open league action, the Blazers face UTEP at Bartow Arena on Jan. 18.
Other games include road contests at Tulsa (Jan. 25), Marshall (Feb. 20) and Rice (Feb. 27), and home games against East Carolina (Feb. 1), Southern Miss (Feb. 13) and Tulane (Feb. 15).
The upcoming C-USA schedule culminates with the 2014 Conference USA Tournament, which will be played in El Paso, Texas on March 11-15. Each team will receive a bid to this year's tournament, excluding FIU, who will be ineligible for postseason play.
UAB enters the 2013-14 season with six returning letterwinners, including the team's top four leading scorers from a year ago - 2013 All-C-USA second-team selection Rod Rucker (14.4 ppg), Jordan Swing (14.0), Fahro Alihodzic (9.7 ppg) and Robert Williams (8.5 ppg).
The Blazers welcome a group of newcomers that forms a recruiting class that has been ranked as high as No. 18 nationally. The class includes seven newcomers: freshman Denzell Watts (Flint, Mich.), junior Thaddeus Rideau (Port Arthur, Texas), junior Chad Frazier (Charlotte, N.C.), freshman Tosin Mehinti (Lithonia, Ga.), freshman Tyler Madison (Columbiana), junior C.J. Washington (Augusta, Ga.), and junior guard Robert Brown (Clermont, Fla.). Brown, a transfer from Virginia Tech, will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules.