Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama

February 20, 2010 9:15 AM

UAB Sitting Squarely on the Bubble

Mike Davis vs. Marshall.jpgTwo-and-a-half weeks ago, the UAB Blazers were riding high, off to the best start (18-2) in school history, unbeaten and in first place in Conference USA, and seemingly a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

Fast forward to Saturday night when the Blazers' host the Houston Cougars and are fighting for their NCAA lives.

That's what happens you lose three of your past five games to drop into third place in a conference regarded as a one-bid league.

I believe UAB (20-5, 8-3 in C-USA) is tournament worthy and I believe C-USA deserves at least two bids this season, but I am not on the NCAA selection committee for the field of 65.

So right now the Blazers are stitting squarely on the bubble and every game is a must-win. They got one of those Wednesday night when they gutted out a 59-54 win at Southern Miss.

"Our guys came into a tough place to play, played with a lot of heart and showed a lot of toughness and we were able to get the win," UAB head coach Mike Davis said.

Tonight against Houston they will try to snap a two-game home losing streak, their longest home losing streak since the 2004-05. With three of their next four games at Bartow Arena, including tonight, the Blazers need to protect their home court. If they can do that and win one of their final two road games at Central Florida or UTEP, that should be enough to earn UAB an invitation to the Big Dance.

Plus, the Blazers could add to their resume with a good showing in the C-USA Tournament.

But if UAB doesn't reverse its recent fortunes, the Blazers will miss the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season and that best start in program history will be the highlight of the season - even if they were to go on and win the NIT.

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