Forty more minutes is all the UAB men’s basketball team is guaranteed. Those 40 guaranteed minutes come on Tuesday night when the Blazers play host to old rival Southern Miss at Bartow Arena in the first round of the NIT.
The next loss – or five more wins – not only ends the season, but it closes the UAB chapter for Tavin Lovan Jordan “Jelly” Walker, Trey Jemison, KJ Buffen and Ty and Ledarrius Brewer. It’s not officially another Senior Night, but it is perhaps the final time they will play in Bartow Arena.
Blazer Nation… I know this season didn’t go the way we wanted. But, at the same time we are still blessed to be able to still have a season to be played. The trophy may be different but the goal remains the same. See y’all Wednesday night in Bartow. Jelly ain’t done just yet🐉💫— Jordan “Jelly” Walker (@jellyfam_j) March 13, 2023
The Blazers are looking to turn the page from perhaps the most disappointing game in a season that didn’t meet expectations. UAB was one win away from the program’s first back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips since Mike Anderson took teams to the Big Dance in 2004, 2005 and 2006. That quest ended with a lopsided loss to Florida Atlantic.
Can the Blazers come back from that loss?
Southern Miss has a different challenge. The Golden Eagles, who were the Sun Belt Conference regular season champions, haven't played since losing to South Alabama in the SBC Tournament quarterfinals on March 4. Obviously, the time off gave the Golden Eagles an opportunity to heal some bumps and bruises, but it also could have created some rust.
The first objective for Southern Miss tonight is minimizing Walker's success. Walker didn't play well in the C-USA Tournament championship game, but he averaged 33 points in the three games before that and 25 points over the most recent 10 games.
Southern Miss guard Mo Arnold, a 6-foot-1 junior, is the lone starter under 6-foot-5. Felipe Haase, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound graduate student, causes problems with his ability to shoot from the outside and find open teammates. Haase averages 15.3 points per game with 60 3-pointers and a team-best 97 assists. Austin Crowley, a 6-foot-5 junior, has a team-best 67 3-pointers.
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