Previewing UAB

No. 6 seed NC State hits the road to face No. 2 seed UAB in the second round of the 2010 National Invitational Tournament. Pack Pride takes a closer look at the Blazers -- the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m.


    F Howard Crawford (12 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
    G Jamarr Sanders (10.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
    G Aaron Johnson (9.9 ppg, 4.8 apg)
    F Elijah Millsap (15.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg)
    G George Drake (6.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg)

    Elijah Millsap - The younger brother of Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap, Elijah is a double-double threat every time he takes the floor. A transfer from Lousiana-Lafayette, Millsap is listed at just 6'6 and 210 pounds but he's a relentless rebounder and loves to score in the paint.

    UAB Game Notes

    UAB enters the second round of the 2010 National Invitation Tournament with an overall record of 24-8. The Blazers earned the No. 2 seed in this year's tournament, which marks the third consecutive year and the seventh time over the last eight seasons that UAB has earned a trip to either the NCAA Tournament or NIT.

    The Blazers snapped a season-long, three-game losing streak with an opening round 65-49 victory over Coastal Carolina Tuesday night. Junior guard Elijah Millsap earned his school-record tying 16th double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior forward Howard Crawford added 12 points to the winning effort.

    The Blazers continue to be led by Millsap, a first-team all-conference performer, who leads the team in scoring (15.7 ppg), rebounding (9.4 rpg), steals (1.7 spg) and free throws made (155) and attempted (222). He has tied the school's single-season double-doubles record with 16 on the year. That number not only leads the league, but ranks 24th nationally. Additionally, he is the only guard ranked among the top-35 rebounders in the nation, coming in at 33rd nationally. The Louisiana-Lafayette transfer has led the Blazers in scoring and/or rebounding in 27 of their 32 games this season.

    Senior forward Howard Crawford is second on the team with 12.0 points per contest, while Sanders adds 10.3 ppg and leads the team in three-pointers made (66) and attempted (176). Junior guard Aaron Johnson, who earned a spot on the C-USA third team and all-defensive squad, collects 9.9 points per game and leads the team and ranks third in the conference with 4.8 assists per game.

    As a team, the Blazers are shooting 42.4 percent from the floor and 31.1 percent from beyond the arc this year. UAB also boasts a +5.1 advantage on the boards (36.6-31.5). Furthermore, the Blazers hold the opposition to 60.7 points a game, which is second in C-USA and ranks 27th nationally (as of 3/14), and have held 24 of their 32 opponents to 66 points or below.

    Head coach Mike Davis is in his fourth season at the helm of the UAB basketball program and his 10th season as a head coach. He boasts a record of 84-47 (.641) at UAB and a 199-126 (.612) mark overall. He now owns a record of 69-31 (.690) over his last three seasons in Birmingham.

    Sixth-seeded NC State enters Saturday's second round NIT contest sporting an overall record of 20-15 on the season. The Wolfpack earned a trip to play in Birmingham after a 58-57 upset win at No. 3 seed USF Tuesday. The Wolfpack's Richard Howell hit a layup with eight seconds remaining to lift his team to victory. The win marked NC State's sixth victory over its last eight contests coming into its contest at UAB.

    Junior Tracy Smith enters the contest leading the Wolfpack in scoring and rebounding at 16.8 points and 7.4 rebound per game. He ranks seventh in the ACC in scoring and is eighth in the league in rebounding. The 6-8 forward also boasts team-bests in field goal percentage (.532 - second-best in the ACC), blocked shots (32) and minutes per game (32.2).

    Senior forward Dennis Horner is the only other NC State player to average double-figure scoring, entering the contest with and average of 11.6 points per game. He also ranks second on the team in rebounding (4.9 rpg). Junior guard Javier Gonzalez leads the squad with 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while also contributing 9.7 points per contest.

    As a team, NC State is outscoring its opposition by 2.7 points per game, 67.0-64.3. The team ranks fifth in the ACC in scoring defense and sixth in three-point field goal percentage defense (.309). The Wolfpack shoots 43.6 percent from the floor and 33.4 percent from beyond the arc. NC State is being outrebounded by 0.4 boards per game (35.4-35.0).

    NC State head coach Sidney Lowe is in his fourth season at the helm of his alma mater, and owns an overall record of 70-61 (.534).

    Last Time Out
    Elijah Millsap scored 15 points and UAB never trailed in defeating Coastal Carolina 65-49 Tuesday. UAB held Coastal Carolina scoreless for the first 5:10 of the game in building an 8-0 lead. Millsap added 11 rebounds to record his 16th double-double of the season, which tied the single-season school record, held by former UAB great Carlos Williams (1996-97).

    The Blazers outrebounded Coastal Carolina, 41-25, and pressured the Chanticleers into 18 turnovers. The Blazers dominated the interior, outscoring Coastal Carolina, 30-16, in the paint and grabbing 16 offensive rebounds.

    Chad Gray and Danny Nieman each had 12 points for the Chanticleers, who were making their first postseason appearance in 17 years.

    Notes From The Previous Game
    Below are some notes in regards to the previous game:

    • Despite recording just two fewer turnovers than Coastal Carolina (18-16), UAB owned a 23-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

    • UAB recorded a season-high 14 steals in the contest, led by Elijah Millsap's five thefts in the contest. That number marked a season-best for the junior guard.

    • It marked the first postseason game played on UAB's home floor since hosting Louisiana-Lafayette on March 22, 2003 in the opening round of the 2003 NIT.

    • UAB owned a +16 rebounding advantage over Coastal Carolina (41-25), which tied for the second-best rebound margin in a game this season. The best mark came against East Tennessee State, when the Blazers had a +24 edge (52-28).

    • UAB had a 30-16 advantage in points in the paint.

    • The Blazers improve to 23-2 when not giving up 70 points in a game. Additionally, UAB is now 18-2 when holding the opposition to under 45 percent shooting in a game.

    UAB Earns 11th NIT Appearance In School History
    With this year's invitation, UAB is making its third straight National Invitation Tournament appearance and 11th showing in school history. The No. 2 seeded Blazers will take on the No. 6 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday afternoon in the second round of this year's event. The winner of that contest will take on the winner of No. 1 seed Mississippi State and No. 4 seed North Carolina in the quarterfinals at a time and date to be determined. It marks the first time the two teams have met on the hardwood.

    Blazers Have 13-10 Record In NIT
    Following the Blazers' 65-49 victory over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night, UAB has a 13-10 (.565) record in all-time games played throughout its 11 NIT appearances. Twice - in 1989 and 1993 - the Blazers have advanced to the NIT Final Four in New York. On both occasions, UAB was defeated in the NIT semifinals, but came back to win the third-place contest.

    NIT Final Four Twice For Blazers
    UAB has twice won three games in the NIT to advance to the semifinals in Madison Square Garden. In 1989, UAB advanced to the semifinals in New York where they lost to St. John's (76-65) before coming back to defeat Michigan State (78-76) in the third place game. Then, in 1993, the Blazers also reached the NIT semifinals, falling to Georgetown (45-41). Again, UAB rebounded to win the third place contest, defeating Providence by a 55-52 score for third place overall.

    UAB Earns 11th NIT Appearance, 24th Postseason Appearance
    UAB is making its 11th NIT appearance in school history in 2010. Combined with 13 NCAA Tournaments appearances in school history, the Blazers have recorded 24 overall postseason appearances in the 32 years of the men's basketball program.

    UAB Hosting For Sixth Time In School History
    The UAB men's basketball team has played 23 NIT games in school history. However, Saturday night's home game against NC State in the second round of this year's even will mark just the sixth time in 24 postseason NIT games that the Blazers have hosted such a contest. Hosting an NIT game has been a good thing in the past, as UAB is a perfect 5-0 in postseason NIT contests played in Bartow Arena. Prior to this season, the last time the Blazers hosted an NIT contest came on March 19, 2003 when they defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 82-80. The Blazers hosted back-to-back games in 1993 vs. Clemson (won 65-64 on 3/22/93 when Cliff Ellis was the Tigers' head coach) and vs. SW Missouri State (won 61-52 on 3/24/93). The Blazers hosted their first postseason NIT game on March 16, 1989 when they defeated Georgia Southern, 83-74.

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