Tigers Face Full Court Press
UAB became known for its "40 minutes of hell" when it upset Kentucky in the round of 32 last year in March. UAB will present a type of defensive intensity the Tigers have yet to see. The Tigers backcourt will have to be up to the challenge for the Tigers to pull off the upset.
The Blazers are coming off a 96-81 defeat at the hands of Richmond. Richmond was able to worked the ball around the perimeter in the second half knocking down big shots in route to a 59 point second half. The perimeter game will need to be strong. UAB gives you some chances for open threes. Shawan Robinson will need to return to early season form from the outside. Cliff Hammonds and Cheyenne Moore will have to prove to the Blazers that they can knock down the outside shots early.
Of course to be able to run your half court offense, you have to get past half court first. Turnovers were the achilles heel last season, but Vern Hamilton and Hammonds must protect the basketball and make smart passes when breaking the press. Coach Oliver Purnell has been able to put in more of his uptempo style in place, so the Tigers should be more prepared to handle the pressure than a year ago.
If the Tigers can open with a win over UAB, they should be favorites in the remaining two games. Winning the Rainbow Classic would put the Tigers at 10-1, five wins shy of securing a postseason berth. After UAB, the Tigers will face Southern California or Indiana State.