Sports 56 WHBlog Q

February 24, 2009

Pick a Side

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 7:58 pm

The Tigers meet UAB Thursday night in Birmingham with plenty on the line. The two programs have a rich history between them and frankly don’t care much for one another. The two schools are separated by a mere 4 hours (3.5 if you don’t make a stop). They also can both claim Gene Bartow as one of their all-time great coaches.

The difference today is that the Tigers under John Calipari have established themselves as one of the nation’s elite programs while the Blazers under Mike Davis have basically underachieved. Now the Blazers have a chance to take a major step in narrowing the gap between the two programs.

So with all that said here are my keys for a Tigers Win………

1) Just like their first meeting with UAB, the Tigers must WEAR THEM DOWN. The Blazers will make some shots, but eventually their lack of depth will come back to haunt them. If the Tigers continue to play smothering Defense it will pay major dividends.

2) Match the Blazers INTENSITY. Any bit less will result an early defecit. And unlike last year’s miracle in B-Ham or this season’s win at FedExForum, the Tigers won’t be able to play catch up if they fall behind big. There’s just too much on the line for the Blazers.

3) HIT SOME SHOTS EARLY. If Doneal Mack can drop a few long ones on UAB early in the contest, the Tigers will be in position to grab the early lead. The Tigers with an early lead are capable of turning things into a rout.

How do the Blazers win….

1) RIDE THE MOMENTUM OF THE CROWD. This is “it” for the Blazers. A win will mean so much. It will not only get the Gorilla off their back and the backs of everyone else in C-USA, but it will likely vault them into the Dance. (Assuming they win out and get to the finals of the C-USA Tournament).

2) REBOUND THE BASKETBALL. The tigers are a much better team on the boards, but if the Blazers can keep the Tigers off the Offensive Boards than they give themselves a great chance to outscore Memphis because their a better shooting team.

3) FORGET ABOUT HISTORY. If the Blazers get to a point where they are saying “Oh no, not again”, the Tigers win the Cerebral battle and eventually the game. The Mental part of this rivalry is extremely important.

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