UAB (17-10) at Rice (7-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750) -- Houston, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: UAB 12-3, Rice 5-7. Away Record: UAB 4-5, Rice 2-10. Neutral Record: UAB 1-2, Rice 0-2. Conference Record: UAB 6-7, Rice 2-11. Series Record: UAB leads, 9-0.
GAME NOTES: The Rice Owls will try to pick up their first win over the Blazers in history when UAB pays a visit to Tudor Fieldhouse for Conference USA action on Thursday.
UAB notched its third win in four outings on Saturday with a 64-62 triumph over Charlotte at Halton Arena. The victory improved the Blazers to a 17-10 overall record, which includes a 6-7 mark in C-USA play. Coach Jerod Haase's team will play its final two games at Bartow Arena versus Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee.
Coach Ben Braun's Owls return to Tudor Fieldhouse on a four-game slide. Rice suffered a 67-55 setback at East Carolina over the weekend and as a result, is in sole possession of last place in the conference race at 2-11. The Owls hit the road to play Middle Tennessee on Saturday before they will conclude their regular season slate at home versus Louisiana Tech.
The Blazers have come out on top of all nine of their previous bouts with Rice. UAB coasted to an 80-57 decision when these schools met at Bartow Arena last season.
The Blazers are one of the top rebounding teams in college basketball, ranking second nationally with 45.4 rpg. UAB is also second among C-USA schools in scoring with 75 ppg. Although junior guard Chad Frazier is the team's undisputed leader with averages of 18 ppg and 4.4 apg, starting center Fahro Alihodzic made a go-ahead tip-in with just 14 seconds remaining to lift the Blazers over the 49ers.
Frazier finished with 16 points on just 5-of-13 efficiency from the floor, while C.J. Washington chipped in 14 points and nine boards for UAB in Charlotte. Washington has had an impressive campaign in his first year with the program since transferring from the junior college level as he is second on the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (7.3 rpg). The Blazers held a 43-38 rebounding advantage for the game and also outscored the 49ers at the foul line, 16-8, despite missing half of their 32 attempts at the charity stripe.
Rice is one of the least productive teams in terms of points in the C-USA, averaging a mere 63.2 ppg. The Owls have been decent defensively and held their opponents to just over 70 ppg, but they are also last in the conference in rebounding margin at -4.8. Braun's key player is freshman forward Sean Obi, who is contributing 11.7 ppg and a C-USA best 9.8 rpg. Austin Ramljak is also netting 11.7 ppg, however he is shooting less than 40 percent from the field on the season.
In the loss to ECU, Obi recorded a double-double with 14 points, on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor, and 12 rebounds, while Ramljak added 13 points. Rice went 8-of-29 from 3-point range and just 3-of-11 at the free-throw line in the loss.
Obi is a solid post player, but just like former Rice star Arsalan Kazemi, does not have a great of a supporting cast. The Blazers are equipped to shut down the Owls' standout rookie and should have no problem extending their all- time series lead to 10-0.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 77, Rice 64
02/27 10:16:48 ET