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Blazer Almanac - March 13
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Post: #1
Blazer Almanac - March 13
March 13

UAB is 6-2 in games played today. Today, we have some pretty big wins in UAB history.

1981 - On this date, UAB played in its very first NCAA tournament game. UAB had finished the season 21-8 and had received an at large bid. The 1981 tournament had 48 teams. UAB was the 7th seed. It was a day of celebration. Mayor Richard Arrington declared March 13 Gene Bartow Day. Cliff Ellis at South Alabama had cried foul believing his 25-5 Jaguars deserved the bid over UAB, despite the Blazers trouncing them by 27 in the conference semi finals. He accused Sun Belt Commissioner Vic Bubas, who was on the Selection Committee as playing favorites. "If South Alabama had a coach named Bartow and UAB had a coach named Ellis, then South Alabama would have gotten in," he whined.

The Blazers received even more good news when they learned they would be playing in Tuscaloosa. Their opponent was the 21-7 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, who had won the Ohio Valley Conference. Most experts had the tenth seed WKU beating UAB and advancing to play Kentucky, who they had only played once in their history. The experts were very wrong. UAB built a 39-25 halftime lead, and kept pouring it on in the second half. Nothing could go wrong. With the game in hand and time running down, UAB put little used sub, Bill McCammon. McCammon took two steps beyond half court and hurled the ball toward the basket as the buzzer sounded. The 40 foot basket counted and UAB won its first NCAA tournament game in only its third year of existence. The final score was 93-68. Glenn Marcus led UAB with 22 points. Oliver Robinson had 16 points on his birthday. Next up was Kentucky, who had received a bye.

1982 - UAB had won the automatic bid for the Sun Belt Conference and was headed to its second straight year, and in only four years of existence. Furthermore, their 24-4 record and 17th ranking in the polls had earned them the fourth seed and a first round bye in the tournament of 48 teams. Their opponent would be the defending National Champions Indiana and their Hall of Fame Coach, Bobby Knight who was the fifth seed and had advanced by beating Robert Morris. If UAB got past Indiana, they would advanced to the regionals, which was being played on their home court.

The game was played in Nashville and tickets were almost impossible to obtain. The Selection Committee had placed Kentucky and Louisville in the same bracket in Nashville. The two teams had not played each other since 1959 so the entire state of Kentucky was clamoring for tickets. This created a problem for UAB. When tickets went on sale at Campbell Hall, several hundred people were in line for tickets at a price of $20 each, limit two. The problem was that UAB had only received 250 tickets, and some of those had to be used for the pep band, dance team and official traveling party. In the end, less than 50 tickets went on sale, and some of those were grabbed up by Kentucky fans who had traveled to Birmingham for tickets. The joke was on them because Kentucky was upset by Middle Tennessee State and did not advance to play Louisville.

Another interesting fact for this tournament was for the first time, the Selection Committee used a formula which assigned a power ranking to each team. Today, we know this as the RPI.

As for the game against Indiana, UAB jumped out to a 26-7 lead with 11:25 to go in the first half. UAB led 40-22 at the half. The Hoosiers got closer in the first half, but never led. UAB went cold and had only three field goals in the final 11:40 of the game. However they hit 16 of 21 free throws and had enough of a pad from the first half to prevail. UAB won 80-70 over the defending national champions and were advancing to the Sweet 16. Oliver Robinson led in scoring with 23 points.

1986 - UAB traveled to Ogden Utah to play in the 1986 NCAA tournament, their sixth straight. The Blazers had been upset in the championship game of the Sun Belt Tournament, but their record was strong enough to earn them the sixth seed. Their first round opponent was Missouri, who was the 11th seed with a 21-13 record. UAB jumped out to a 16-6 lead as Steve Mitchell hit three of his first four shots. Missouri switched to man to man and tied the game at 18 as UAB went cold. Frustration surfaced among the Blazers as Mitchell and Jerome Mincy could be seen yelling at each other. When asked after the ga,e about it, Mincy said "We'll be yelling at each other when we are 50 and 60 years old."

The Tigers took the lead and led by three at the half. Neither team could lead by more than four points in the second half. UAB took a two point lead with 1:42 left. Missouri had two chances to tie the game, but a key block by Archie Johnson preserved the win. UAB won 66-64 to advance to the next round. Steve Mitchell led UAB with 21 points.

2003 - On this date, UAB pulled a huge upset in the 2003 CUSA tournament. The Blazers had advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Charlotte in the opening round. Their opponent was 8th ranked Marquette, led by Dwayne Wade. Mike Anderson was in his first year and it was in this tournament that Fastest 40 Minutes really kicked in. UAB led by 4 at the half. Marquette took their first lead of the game with 2:20 left to make the score 74-73. Eric Bush and Mo Finley took over the game. They forced a turnover with 50.6 seconds left. Bush then drove the lane and made an acrobatic shot with 29 seconds left to put UAB up 79-76. Mo Finley then stole the ball from Dwayne Wade and was fouled. His two free throws sealed the victory 83-76 for the Blazers. This Marquette team, which a few weeks later would go to the Final Four, had 30 turnovers and UAB had 20 steals, both CUSA tournament records. Dwayne Wade would have a triple double, but not the good kind. He had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 turnovers. Mo Finley had 23 points and Eric Bush had 17. They combined to go 14 of 14 from the line.

2008 - UAB was the 2nd seed in the 2008 CUSA tournament, held in Memphis. Robert Vaden had been named Newcomer of the Year and First Team All Conference. Lawrence Kinnard was third team All Conference and Reggie Huffman was All Academic Team. UAB was looking forward to meeting Memphis in the finals to avenge their one point loss in Birmingham and their 38 point loss in Memphis.

But they never got the chance. Tulsa had advanced to the quarterfinals to face UAB. The Blazers had no answer for Jerome Jordan who scored 23 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks to go along with his 8 blocks he had the previous day vs. east Carolina. UAB shot only 40% and was 3 of 20 from three point range. Vaden was 1 of 10 from three point range. Robert Vaden did manage to extend the game, hitting a 12 footer with 3.9 seconds left to tie the game at 60 and send it to overtime. However, in OT, Tulsa took over and won 78-68. The Blazers were on the bubble for an NCAA bid. Most felt had they won this game, they would have been a lock for a tournament bid.

2009 - A year later, and back in Memphis, the third seed UAB Blazers advanced to the semi finals by beating Southern Miss in the 2009 CUSA tournament. In the semi finals, they met up with Tulsa for the second year running. Tulsa was the 2nd seed. And for the second year running, Tulsa knocked UAB out of the tournament and off the bubble for the NCAA tournament. UAB led early 11-4, but Tulsa came back and the game was close throughout. Trailing 61-53 with 3:57 remaining, UAB went on a 10-3 run to cut the lead to one with 52 seconds left. Tulsa connected on 4 of 5 free throws to secure a 70-67 win.

2013 - The 2013 CUSA tournament was in Tulsa Oklahoma, and UAB was the 7th seed. The only postseason award had gone to Rod Rucker who was 2nd team All Conference. UAB's first round matchup was SMU, seeded 10th. UAB had lost two straight entering the tournament. Jordan Swing scored 17 points including a game winning layup with nine seconds to go, to give UAB a 53-52 win.

2015 - UAB had advanced to the Semi finals of the 2015 CUSA tournament, by beating Western Kentucky. Next up was #1 seed Louisiana Tech. For most of the first 30 minutes, UAB controlled the game and led by as much as 16 points. However, the Blazers became lackadaisical and Louisiana Tech scored 11 straight and shut UAB out in the final 5:26. The Bulldogs had a chance to win it in regulation, but a three pointer bounced off the rim and the game went to overtime.

In OT, UAB woke up and dominated. They led by 5 with 2:26 left and Louisiana Tech could get no closer than three after that. UAB defeated the #1 seed and advanced to their first championship game in nine years. UAB won 72-62. Louisiana tech's pep band was reduced to chanting to the UAB fans that at least their school had football, referring to UAB's decision earlier to end the football program. It did not endear them to the Blazer faithful and a rivalry was in the making.
03-13-2018 09:58 AM
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BlazerFromMD Away
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Post: #2
RE: Blazer Almanac - March 13
"If South Alabama had a coach named Bartow and UAB had a coach named Ellis, then South Alabama would have gotten in," he whined.

If USA had Bartow, they might have won.
03-13-2018 02:44 PM
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Memphis Blazer Online
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Post: #3
RE: Blazer Almanac - March 13
Cliff Ellis was always the biggest crybaby. At South Alabama. At Auburn and at Clemson.
03-13-2018 03:04 PM
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TheGORILLA Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Blazer Almanac - March 13
I remember Bill McCammon's near half court shot so well against WKU. I also remember the game against Kentucky's Twin Towers, seven footer's Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin. My seat was on the front row behind the basket in Tuscaloosa. It was a huge battle in the paint between the Twin Towers and UAB's Norman Anchrum and Donnie Speer. I screamed "DEFENSE, DEFENSE" and "BOX OUT, BOX OUT" on every shot attempt. and you can bet your arse our players could hear my voice. The UAB fans were "AWESOME", deafening. I was so hoarse after that game I could hardly talk. What a great game that was. Sadly, Melvin Turpin passed away in 2010. They were mystified by his death, an apparent suicide.
03-13-2018 06:38 PM
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