The conversation on Monday night's Blazer Sportsline turned toward some details on the special season that the FAU men's basketball team has put together. One of the details the UAB play-by-play voice David Crane mentioned was the 20-game win streak for the Owls is tied with the 2001-02 Cincinnati team for the third-longest by a Conference USA team.
UAB head coach Andy Kennedy quickly mentioned he was in his first year as an assistant coach on Bob Huggins' coaching staff at Cincinnati that season. That Cincinnati team lost the opener to Oklahoma State and won 20 in a row. One more FAU win, and the Owls will move into sole possession of third place all alone with 21 consecutive wins. The opportunity to do that comes on Thursday night at Bartow Arena against Kennedy's UAB team.
Kennedy would love for his team to be streak-busters.
"They tied that record?" Kennedy said on his Blazer Sportsline appearance. "Certainly, we can't let them break it against us, right? That wouldn't be right on a lot of levels."
FAU comes into Bartow Arena with a 21-1 record overall. The Owls are ranked 19th nationally, the highest ranking by a C-USA team since Memphis was 17th in 2012-13. Memphis left for the AAC the next season. FAU has won 14 C-USA regular season games in a row, dating back to last season, the sixth-longest streak in C-USA history.
"This FAU team is the hottest team in college basketball," Kennedy said. "They're kind of the flavor of the month. Every year there's a team that takes on the imagination of the fans, of the little engine that could. That's certainly them."
UAB pushed FAU to the limit on Jan. 5 in Boca Raton. The Owls escaped with an 88-86 win. Since that point, the teams took off in different directions.
"We were both sitting undefeated in league," Kennedy said. "We had two losses (overall). They had one loss. They beat us by two points. We watched some of those clips today. I think there were 37 things that we did wrong in a one-possession game that cost us an opportunity. They went from there, and they won their next five games, all by four points or less. Conversely, we lost four, all by three points or less. It's just funny how it's such a fine line. They have certainly created a lot of momentum for themselves. I'm glad to see them nationally ranked. We're looking forward to the opportunity on Thursday."
FAU is the first ranked team to visit Bartow Arena since No. 15 Memphis beat the Blazers, 65-57, on Dec. 7, 2019. The last time that UAB beat a ranked team at Bartow Arena was a 63-59 victory over No. 16 North Carolina on Dec. 1, 2013.
"Bartow Arena has been great to us," Kennedy said. "We've had great support. I appreciate the fans for hanging in there with us, continuing to show up and give us that homecourt advantage. The magnitude of the game, students are back in school, we bring in a nationally, I would be shocked if it's not our biggest crowd of the year. I know there's going to be a lot of energy in the building. We've got to do a good job of finishing out strong at home."
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