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Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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Post: #1
Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
Trying to keep the Blazer chatter going during the dog days of summer, so I thought of another concept to engage with everyone on the board. Each thread will focus on UAB's performance in a specific sport. I'll include some stats and references of where the sport has been historically, and will provide my views of where I think this specific program should be going forward. I'm pretty new to UAB and would love to get other, longer term, fan's perspectives of each program. I think some points to hit on would be:
1) Faith in the current coach
2) Win & Loss expectations
3) How frequently you expect to compete for conference championships
4) Where you expect for attendance to be

These are the sports that will be covered, in order. Please let me know if I should switch any around.
1) Football
2) Men's Soccer
3) Softball
4) Baseball
5) Women's Basketball
6) Men's Basketball

I'm trying to figure out the best way to post all the information I've got, so bare with me. If you have requests for something then let me know...I've probably got data on it.
(This post was last modified: 07-17-2018 01:02 PM by Auburn_Blazer.)
07-17-2018 12:11 PM
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: W Bball
I'll start out with the obvious fact that I'm new to UAB. This past year was my first full year caring and following the program on a weekly basis. I've liked them since they beat Iowa State in the tournament, and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere at the Auburn @ UAB game. Fast forward to this season, and I decided to go to a couple of games for fun, but really fell in love with the history of the program...not to mention how much easier it is to get to basketball games at Bartow than Auburn arena. I started off buying tickets to Memphis and La Tech and ended up picking up way more as the season went on. Now I've got good seats for this season and am incredibly anxious for the season to start.

Being a new fan, I wanted to familiarize myself with the program and see if there might be something I could do to help the department improve its attendance. So what I ended up doing was compiling the yearly attendance data and compared that against UAB's KenPom rank, UAB's opponent's KenPom rank, and whether or not they had made the tournament the previous season. Here's a picture of the results, as well as the forecasted results through 2023.

[Image: OdSSom6.png]
Link if image doesn't work

Here's a link to my regression table, showing a decent correlation, if you're into that sort of thing.

[Image: PCkL7Yu.png]
Link if image doesn't work

As you can see, UAB's own KenPom rating has dipped quite a bit since 2012, and the Opponent's KenPom has drastically dropped. I believe that this correlates to the lower attendance we've seen in recent seasons than than the first decade I looked at. I know that a lot of this stems from the league reshuffling, and losing a lot of big names, but I think UAB needs to figure out a way to get better teams to come (or, more importantly, figure out how to get P5 programs to come here).

I then did this analysis on a game by game level from 2012 to 2018, but I won't go into that here since it's big and boring. The main results from this were that brand name basketball programs (i.e. Memphis), and "Power 5" programs (i.e. Auburn) are what really get butts into Bartow. I know you're all against it, but I personally think UAB could figure out a way to navigate 2-for-1 deals against 6 P5/Brand Name programs to ensure 2 huge teams each season, and also 4 game at a big name opponent. At a minimum, I think this method would bring in an extra $70k-100k in ticket revenue each year, and give UAB great RPI exposure.
(This post was last modified: 07-17-2018 01:01 PM by Auburn_Blazer.)
07-17-2018 12:18 PM
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: W Bball
The next thing I was curious about was how Coach Ehsan stacked up against other coaches in UAB's history. I compiled the Wins, Losses, Conference Wins, Conference Losses, Conference Standing, RPI (if available), and tournament appearances (NCAA tournament gets 2 points, NIT gets 1 point). Here's a link to how he stacks up, and, based on historical regression, how Ehsan projects out for the next few seasons.

[Image: 4aytewV.png]
Link if the image is broken
(This post was last modified: 07-17-2018 12:34 PM by Auburn_Blazer.)
07-17-2018 12:32 PM
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: W Bball
Last post, sorry about the spam. Basically, I'm disappointed in the direction that it seems like UAB Basketball is headed. Ehsan has done better than Haase in his first two seasons, yes, but we also have acknowledged that he had Coke and Lee to help him. I fully acknowledge that the deck is getting more and more stacked against UAB in basketball, and am not expecting the department to make a Mike Anderson type of hire every go-round. Let me use the questions as a guideline:

1) Faith in the current coach

I like Ehsan. I hope he's able to get it done here. I will never root against him, I'd never hope for someone to fail at their job. My only issue is that I know there are other options out there. Western looks like they're poised to have great success with a retread, and there are other retreads having success elsewhere in the region (Tennessee, Missouri, Auburn, Georgia, etc.). Not only that, but there are recently available regional coaches available like Andy Kennedy and Mark Fox that I personally believe would do a great job.

2) Win & Loss expectations

UAB historically averages 20 wins in a season, the program is 30th in all-time win percentage. I hope that 20 wins is treated as the minimum for this program, or at least that it's 20 wins against a decent schedule.

3) How frequently you expect to compete for conference championships

I'd hope that UAB is in the running for the regular season conference championship every season, and able to win it once every 3 to 4 years. UAB's average conference standing at the end of the season is 3.36, which roughly falls in line with my expectation. I'd also hope they make either the NCAA or NIT every other year, or every 3 years at the least. They've made the NCAA 5 times and NIT 4 times in the past 17 seasons, which also roughly falls in line with my expectation.

4) Where you expect for attendance to be

UAB's average attendance over the past 17 seasons is 4,641. I think a season average attendance of 5,000 is what I'd hope for. I think having more program consistency would help with this. The biggest issue I see is that Attendance went down 13.71% when Haase left, and then went down another 15.06% this season, even when the team was picked to finish 2nd in the conference and challenge MTSU for a championship.
07-17-2018 12:52 PM
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Rebounder2u Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
1). On a scale of 1-10, my confidence in coach is based on recruiting, player development, scheduling and winning (which should increase attendance) and beating teams they aren't suppose to beat. So as of right now, I give the coach a six out of 10. Strong Recruiter.

2). I always expect a minimum of 20 wins and again wins over teams that on paper are better. I expect this young team to beat some teams that on paper are better, because they on paper appear hungry to play.

3). Every year.

4). The product put on the floor will go a long way to placing butts in the seats. However UAB basketball have some built in advantages that aren't taken advantage of, for example it is an elite academic institution with 20,000 employees, approx 18,000 students with a metro area in the range of a 1 million 145,000 people. The re-education of the average UAB student that grew up a fan of another school's athletics need to be prioritize as deprogramming and introduction to the UAB teams history.

Now to put it all together introduction of UAB Basketball to an ever growing body of apathetic students and community, recruiting, player development, scheduling, beating good teams, winning the games we suppose win, should result in a successful program.
07-17-2018 07:51 PM
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ICB Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
1) Faith in the current coach | 5/10 Much higher than last year, because all the players who pushed for him to get the job are now gone. Maybe he will have the attention of the current players.
2) Win & Loss expectations | W's & L's are so meaningless, I expect a top 60 RPI.
3) How frequently you expect to compete for conference championships | Every other year
4) Where you expect for attendance to be | 5,000+
07-18-2018 10:50 AM
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ATTALLABLAZE Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
I'll copy and paste with a few corrections for my response.

1) Faith in the current coach | 6/10 Much higher than last year, because all the players who pushed for him to get the job are now gone. Maybe he will have the attention of the current players. Solid recruiting class and showed improvement as a bench coach. Not there yet but learning. He has the backing of his peers at UAB including HCBC.
2) Win & Loss expectations | W's & L's are so meaningless, I expect a top 60 RPI.
3) How frequently you expect to compete for conference championships | Every three out of four years.
4) Where you expect for attendance to be | 5,000+ Anything less is embarrassing. Opponent should not matter but it does in this community all though attendance does not spike as much as it should for a "name" opponent"

No excuse for what we draw. We should average 5,000 and fll it up for a name opponent. No excuses none.
07-18-2018 11:36 AM
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
(07-17-2018 07:51 PM)Rebounder2u Wrote:  The re-education of the average UAB student that grew up a fan of another school's athletics need to be prioritize as deprogramming and introduction to the UAB teams history.

I think this is the key. I'm the only UAB fan in my office, and I work with several grads. They all enjoyed their time at UAB and were involved on campus, but didn't feel the need to go to or be involved with UAB athletics. The first day of orientation at Auburn they take you to Jordan-Hare and teach you all of the cheers. As a first-generation Auburn attendee, this really helped me learn the cheers, customs, traditions, etc. of the football program...which eventually carried over to Basketball and Baseball. Not saying it's guaranteed to help UAB, just saying that it was a smart thing Auburn did.

For AB & ICB, why did your faith in the coach increase with the moving on of the players that wanted him? I'd have thought that would go down.

I'm glad to see that most everyone else has such high expectations for the program. Where do we go from here? I've emailed Ingram my info and discussed this topic with him, just wondering what else (if anything) I/we can do to help.
07-18-2018 12:37 PM
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Rebounder2u Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
I have been pushing a campaign ( by bringing it up on Blazertalk) to get the employees, staff, students and community involved in the tradition of UAB. UAB is a young institution it should be an easy task to tell the incoming students, who and why the names are on the buildings they are housed, learn, eat and play in. Information students should get during orientation.
07-18-2018 01:40 PM
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ATTALLABLAZE Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
We are bringing back the Rebounders. Several of us here are involved with the process and there will be more information at a later date.
07-18-2018 02:11 PM
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Marathon Blazer Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
1. Faith in coach: 5/10. Really good recruiter, but still unsure of his on the floor ability. Injuries have been a bit of an issue, so you have to take that into consideration. We'll have a pretty young team this year since so many transferred out. Defensively, we have a glaring problem with leaving the left corner open for a 3, which seemed to be a problem under Haase too. What I'm hoping to see is the team improve from the beginning of the season to the end.

2. Win/loss expectations: hoping 20 wins per year will be a minimum. For the strength of out of conference schedule (or lack of) we've been playing, I'd hope to see that closer to 23-24 wins year in and year out. We need to at least be in the NCAA bubble picture every year.

3. Conference championships: the bottom of our conference is really bad. We should be finishing no worse than 4th in our conference each year, and in the championship race about every other year.

4. Attendance: there's no reason for the building to be less than half full for any game. People need to stop coming up with excuses to not attend, and just show up. Not everybody can attend every game, but those who call themselves Blazer fans (and live in the Birmingham metro area) need to show up to at least half of the games. Parking decreases year after year, and I believe that is hurting attendance year after year. However, folks seem to make it to Regions Field a few blocks away, so parking is there...just may not be on the same block as Bartow. We need to reach out to the folks that are living downtown now, and bring back B-ticket. I also think it'd be a great idea to bring back the flex packs, where you could buy 10 tickets for $10 each and redeem them at any event for any sport except certain games (Memphis, Auburn, Alabama softball, etc.).
07-18-2018 05:42 PM
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BlazerMatt Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
I think the number of responses you’ve gotten in and of itself speaks volumes.
07-19-2018 09:50 AM
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BlazerPhil Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
It would be our bellwether sport, so yeah....
07-19-2018 10:04 AM
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
(07-19-2018 09:50 AM)BlazerMatt Wrote:  I think the number of responses you’ve gotten in and of itself speaks volumes.

I think that's fair. However, this has also gotten over 600 views in 2 days. The lurkers are out there, they just need to share their opinions.
07-19-2018 12:25 PM
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the_blazerman Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
Men's basketball is in the toughest predicament out of all of our teams.

They have to win the conference tournament to make the NCAA.

Winning almost every game still wouldn't get them in the NCAA tournament if they don't win the conference tournament.

We have a lot of new pieces of the puzzle & frankly I couldn't tell you half of the players we have right now.

I personally think the team is screwed unless we move up to another conference.

Neither Ehsan, nor Andy Kennedy can make a dent into this situation.
07-19-2018 07:29 PM
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WesternBlazer Offline
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RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
Lots of new guys who will have to get comfortable with each other, catch up with the increased speed of the college game, and learn a new, totally different scheme(all). This is one year when a poor home schedule, no matter how much we dislike it, may be necessary to advance the learning curve.
(This post was last modified: 07-20-2018 03:08 PM by WesternBlazer.)
07-20-2018 03:07 PM
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
(07-20-2018 03:07 PM)WesternBlazer Wrote:  Lots of new guys who will have to get comfortable with each other, catch up with the increased speed of the college game, and learn a new, totally different scheme(all). This is one year when a poor home schedule, no matter how much we dislike it, may be necessary to advance the learning curve.

It's probably too late at this point, but what about a Summer league? Auburn's tour of Italy last Summer was the one thing everyone kept pointing to as the driver for last season's success. North Texas is doing one this offseason as well.
07-20-2018 03:22 PM
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BlazerPhil Offline
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RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
(07-20-2018 03:22 PM)Auburn_Blazer Wrote:  
(07-20-2018 03:07 PM)WesternBlazer Wrote:  Lots of new guys who will have to get comfortable with each other, catch up with the increased speed of the college game, and learn a new, totally different scheme(all). This is one year when a poor home schedule, no matter how much we dislike it, may be necessary to advance the learning curve.

It's probably too late at this point, but what about a Summer league? Auburn's tour of Italy last Summer was the one thing everyone kept pointing to as the driver for last season's success. North Texas is doing one this offseason as well.

Our men's basketball team will get a Summer abroad to gel when they invite future Ex-AD Mark Ingram & Fire Ray Watts to join them.
07-20-2018 06:12 PM
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iam4uab Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Status of Athletics & Expectations Going Forward: Basketball
(07-20-2018 03:22 PM)Auburn_Blazer Wrote:  
(07-20-2018 03:07 PM)WesternBlazer Wrote:  Lots of new guys who will have to get comfortable with each other, catch up with the increased speed of the college game, and learn a new, totally different scheme(all). This is one year when a poor home schedule, no matter how much we dislike it, may be necessary to advance the learning curve.

It's probably too late at this point, but what about a Summer league? Auburn's tour of Italy last Summer was the one thing everyone kept pointing to as the driver for last season's success. North Texas is doing one this offseason as well.

I think there’s a limit on how often you’re allowed to do that sort of thing. And it hasn’t been that long since we did one...Spain, I think.
07-21-2018 01:36 PM
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