UAB Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

UAB Blazers
Conference USA (19-15, 12-8)


When the calendar changed to 2015, UAB was 4-9 and not looking like a team that could compete in Conference USA. But Coach Jerod Haase had a very, very young team and they were getting better. They managed to navigate the conference slate with a solid 12-6 record. Having the conference tournament in Birmingham certainly aided UAB, but they still beat Western Kentucky, top seeded Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee to earn the conference’s automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Big Wins: 1/24 Old Dominion (81-68), 3/12 vs Western Kentucky (53-52), 3/13 vs Louisiana Tech (72-62)
Bad Losses: 2/12 at North Texas (64-67), 2/14 at Rice (73-82), 3/5 at FAU (59-62)
Coach: Jerod Haase

Why They Can Surprise:
The Blazers play decent defense, especially lately. The shot blocking abilities of William Lee and Tosin Mehinti do not make it easy for the opposition to get points in the paint. The team as a whole ranks in the top 20 in blocked shots per game. Lee is a decent scorer too, especially when he is stepping outside and knocking down three-pointers. Mehinti is a more traditional bruiser in the paint. With Chris Cokley and senior C.J. Washington providing frontcourt depth, the Blazers have a frontcourt that can compete with more talented teams. The rebounding margin may not be all that impressive, but everybody in the frontcourt is at least decent on the glass and has the potential to be even better.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Turnovers have been a huge problem for UAB at times this season. Nick Norton is having a very good freshman campaign, but he must help keep his teammates in positions where they can score, not put them in a position to turn the ball over. Fellow backcourt starters Hakeem Baxter and Robert Brown, the team’s leading scorer, need to help keep this young team under control. But perhaps it is that youth that is the biggest concern. This team has talent, yet it is tough to pull off an upset in the NCAA Tournament when the regular rotation contains seven underclassmen. Brown, a junior, has provided leadership all season long, but the underclassmen are still going to make mistakes.

Probable Starters:
Nick Norton, Freshman, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 3.9 apg
Hakeem Baxter, Sophomore, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 1.6 apg
Robert Brown, Junior, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 3.1 apg, 3.7 rpg
Tosin Mehinti, Sophomore, Forward, 7.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 bpg
William Lee, Freshman, Forward, 7.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Chris Cokley, Freshman, Forward, 8.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Tyler Madison, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 apg
C.J. Washington, Senior, Forward, 7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Denzell Watts, Sophomore, Guard, 4.2 ppg, 1.8 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.1 (132nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.6 (242, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.7 (215, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (134, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (266, 12)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.6 (241, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.7 (20, 1)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (148, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (75, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (267, 8)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2011    NCAA    Opening Round loss to Clemson
2010    NIT    First Round win over Coastal Carolina
2010    NIT    Second Round win over North Carolina State
2010    NIT    Quarterfinal loss to North Carolina
2009    NIT    First Round loss to Notre Dame
2008    NIT    First Round win over VCU
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Kentucky

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules