Previewing UAB

After surviving a tough road test in Mississippi on Saturday, the Tar Heels are headed to another one Tuesday, this time in Alabama. UNC and UAB square off at 9 p.m. (ET) on ESPN with a trip to the NIT semifinals in New York City on the line.

North Carolina (18-16, 5-11 ACC) vs. UAB (25-8, 11-5 USA)
Birmingham, Ala. -- Bartow Arena
9:00 p.m. (ET) -- ESPN

Quotables

"Watching the tape and looking through the information, the thing that jumps out at you is how effective they are defensively. They've held their opponents to about 40 percent shooting the entire year. They get after you with a tremendous amount of pressure. The other thing is how effective their guys are at getting the basketball to the front of the rim, taking the ball to the basket, and also, rebounding." – UNC head coach Roy Williams on UAB

"[Larry Drew] was playing with [blue-chip prospects] James Harden and Austin Daye. He's not going to remember me, but I played against him before. They're the McDonald's All-Americans. We're the people nobody wants. But it's going to be fun on Tuesday." – UAB guard Aaron Johnson

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: The University of Alabama at Birmingham enters Tuesday night's contest with a 25-8 (11-5 C-USA) record. The Blazers' 14-3 home mark includes victories over Butler, Cincinnati, Georgia and N.C. State and they also defeated Coastal Carolina in NIT opening round action. Mike Davis' squad dropped their final three games of the season prior to entering the NIT field.

NIT Second Round: Elijah Millsap posted 27 points and 15 rebounds, and UAB never trailed for the second-straight NIT game in beating N.C. State, 72-52, on Saturday. The second-seeded Blazers connected on eight of their first 11 shots while jumping out to a 19-5 lead. The Wolfpack committed nine turnovers in the first 12 minutes of play, allowing UAB to take a 37-17 lead into halftime.

Postseason Accolades: UAB junior guards Elijah Millsap and Aaron Johnson were both selected as All-Conference USA performers. Millsap was tabbed as a first-team all-conference honoree, while Johnson earned third-team all-conference accolades. Junior guard Aaron Johnson was named to the Conference USA All-Defensive team and senior guard George Drake was selected to the C-USA All-Academic team.

More on Millsap: The 6-foot-6 forward collected his 17th double-double of the year when UAB defeated the Wolfpack, setting a new school record for most double-doubles in a season. Millsap is averaging 16.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per contest. His older brother is Paul Millsap, who is now in his third season with the NBA's Utah Jazz.

Strong on the Boards: Despite a lack of depth up front – only two regulars are over 6-foot-6 – the Blazers have overcome that height discrepancy to post a plus-5.1 rebounding margin, good for third in the C-USA.

A Positive Change for UNC: After facing teams that ranked in the top-10 nationally in made 3-pointers during the first two rounds of the NIT, the Tar Heels will encounter a UAB squad that ranked 10th in C-USA play in made 3-pointers per game (5.2) and 11th in 3-point field goal percentage (31.1).

Home Success: With UAB's win over N.C. State on Saturday, the Blazers improved to 9-0 against nonconference opponents at Bartow Arena this season. UAB has now won 33 straight home games against nonconference adversaries.

Stat to Watch: UAB is 1-6 when allowing 70 points or more this season.

Random Fact of the Day: Tuesday night's contest marks the first time in school history that UAB has played host to a defending national champion.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Blazers, 77-59, on Mar. 15, 1986, in the NCAA Tournament.

Series History: North Carolina leads UAB, 1-0.

Projected Starters:
1 Aaron Johnson (5-8, 185, So.) – 8.9 ppg, 5.7 apg
4 Jamarr Sanders (6-4, 200, Jr.) – 7.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg
24 Elijah Millsap (6-6, 210, Jr.) – 15.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg
35 Howard Crawford (6-8, 240, Sr.) – 12.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg
15 Kenneth Cooper (6-10, 260, Sr.) – 6.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Top Reserves:
34 George Drake (6-4, 215, Sr.) – 4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg
23 Dexter Fields (6-2, 180, Fr.) – 5.7 ppg

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