Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tops at UAB: Old Sun Belt Foes

WKU visits the Blazers of UAB tonight in a reunion of long-lost conference foes. The Tops (2-1) are coming off of a bitter home loss to Georgia on Saturday, while the Blazers (2-0) have defeated their first two opponents (UMass 86-77, and South Carolina State 79-48). The Tops will need more than the Big Three of Anthony Winchester, Courtney Lee, and Elgrace Wilborn to pose serious threat to UAB. Nine other players will likely play tonight for WKU, and at least a couple of them are going to have to contribute some scoring and some solid floor play.

This game should be a track meet. Both teams like to play an up-tempo, pressing style of hoops and score a lot of points off of that pressure D. UAB is led by F Demario Eddins (21 ppg, 5 rpg) and PG Squeaky Johnson (6.5 ppg, 8 apg). Eddins is one of the best frontcourt players that WKU will see all season and Johnson is one of the fastest, most disruptive PG's that the Tops will face. Click here for complete stats on UAB. They are deep, athletic, and are playing at home. This is a very tough road opener for the young Toppers.

These concerns are especially worrisome due to the horrendous PG play on Saturday against UGA. Freshmen Orlando Mendez-Valdez played solid in 14 mins of action, but fouled out in that short span. JC transfer Joemal Campbell had a terrible game and G Ty Rogers was clearly not ready to play PG against tough, athletic defenders. The Tops will need improvement at PG and some production from PF to challenge the Blazers. I will be making the trip, so I will have a full game log tomorrow.

Tonight's GOI
--Dayton at Cincinnati. In-state matchup that will tell us a lot about the Bearcats. Dayton played a very good Creighton team tough on Saturday (lost by one in double-OT).
--Northern Iowa at Iowa State. HUGE, HUGE game. UNI needs this scalp for their at-large resume and Iowa State has stumbled badly out of the gate (a 17-point loss at home to Iona).
--Miami-FL at Michigan. Two teams that figure to be on the bubble come March. This is as important as it gets in November.
--Illinois at North Carolina. 2005 title game rematch, but both have lost a lot. Illinois is better, but a win in the Dean Dome will not be easy.
--Wisconsin at Wake Forest. Why do people constantly underrate Wisconsin (4-0)? It would not surprise me in the least if they beat the Deacons tonight.

Sun Belt Games
--Chattanooga at Middle Tennessee State. MTSU (1-1) backed up a big home win over Utah State with an OT loss at Indiana State.
--South Florida at FIU. The Golden Panthers (1-2) have disappointed so far. This win could be a giant boost.
--UL-Lafayette at Georgia State. The Cajuns (0-2) have also been fairly lackluster in a blowout loss to struggling SIU and a loss at Tennessee. Then need a win badly.