BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- An appearance in the 2012 South Padre Invitational, as well as contests against North Carolina, Creighton, Navy, Dayton and Rutgers highlight the 2012-13 UAB men’s basketball schedule, announced by first-year head coach Jerod Haase on Monday.
In all, the Blazers’ slate includes seven teams who participated in the NCAA or NIT last season and will feature 15 home games.
Haase, who is in his first season at the helm of the UAB program after spending the previous 13 seasons under Roy Williams at Kansas and North Carolina, said he wanted to challenge his team this season and he feels that’s exactly what this year’s schedule provides.
“As a whole, this is a big-time schedule that allows us to play a wide variety of teams and have a solid RPI when it’s all said and done,” Haase said. “The road schedule is brutal but at the same time it is going to give us opportunities to play on a big stage.
“This schedule is going to provide a forum to show some good basketball,” Haase said. “We are going to play a style that is up-tempo and do some things that is exciting to watch. At the same time, it’s exciting to watch winning basketball and this style of basketball that we will play is not only fun to watch, but it also produces wins.”
The highlight of the upcoming campaign will be a Dec. 1 date in Chapel Hill, N.C. to face ACC powerhouse North Carolina. The contest will be a homecoming for Haase, who spent the past nine seasons as an assistant coach, helping the team to a pair of national championships (2005 and 2009).
“To play at North Carolina will be an emotional day for me,” Haase said. “But when the ball is tipped up, the competitive juices will start flowing and we will be ready to win. Our attitude is going to be confident and aggressive no matter where the game is being played or who it will be against in every time we step on the floor.”
UAB returns to Bartow Arena to play a pair of home games affiliated with the South Padre Island Invitational on Nov. 18 and 20. The Green and Gold will square off against Navy (Nov. 18) and Prairie View A&M (Nov. 20).
The Blazers then venture to Texas later that week as they play a pair of games on Nov. 23 and 24 against Illinois State, TCU or Northwestern to conclude tournament play.
The South Padre Island event will begin arguably the toughest stretch of the season for the Blazers, as they will play six road contests in a seven-game stretch from Nov. 23 through Dec. 16.
When UAB returns from Texas, it will take on Troy (Nov. 27), North Carolina (Dec. 1), Middle Tennessee (Dec. 5) and Rutgers (Dec. 16) on the road, with the lone home contest coming against South Alabama on Dec. 8.
The Blazers will play their longest home stretch of the season when they welcome Louisiana-Monroe (Dec. 20), Northeastern (Dec. 29) and Georgia Southern (Jan. 2). The non-conference portion of the schedule will conclude with another tough test at Dayton on Jan. 5.
The Conference USA slate begins with a road game at NIT participant UCF on Jan. 9. The first league home contest will be against defending league champions Memphis on Jan. 12.
UAB’s 2012 league slate features home-and-home series against UCF (Jan. 9 in Orlando, Fla. and March 6 in Bartow Arena), Memphis (Jan. 12 in Bartow Arena and March 9 in Memphis, Tenn.), Southern Miss (Jan. 19 in Hattiesburg, Miss. and Feb. 2 in Bartow Arena), East Carolina (Jan. 23 in Bartow Arena and Feb. 13 in Greenville, N.C.) and Marchall (Feb. 9 in Bartow Arena and Feb. 23 in Huntington, W.Va.).
UAB’s other home conference games include UTEP (Jan. 20), Rice (Feb. 16) and SMU (March 2). The Blazers will play road contests at Houston (Jan. 26), at Tulsa (Feb. 6) and at Tulane (Feb. 27).
The Blazers will tip off the 2012-13 campaign with an exhibition game against North Alabama on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. in Bartow Arena.