BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
How much faith do you have? Do believe that the UAB Blazers will win their first two games in the National Invitation Tournament? Do you have faith that the Alabama Crimson Tide will win their first two games in the NIT? If both the Tide and the Blazers start NIT play a combined 4-0, you could be partying like it's 1993! Yes, my friend, if each of the teams start NIT play 2-0, a basketball game will go down in Tuscaloosa that may actually force you to turn away from the NCAA Tournament and look to Coleman Coliseum. Come March 22 or 23, you could be watching the Blazers face the Crimson Tide in men's basketball for only the second time… ever. The big UAB-Alabama game will determine which teams heads to the NIT semi-finals in New York City!
Now the last time these teams met, you were still digging out from the Blizzard of '93 that took place only six days earlier. You watched as the Blazer's Robert Shannon hit a clutch three-pointer late in the game to give UAB a 58-56 win in Tuscaloosa. You watched as days later, car bumper stickers would appear that read "UAB 1, UAT 0". Blazer fans thumped their collective chests for months as big, bad Bama lost to the program that in many minds has received too little respect. In just a few short weeks, the "Tangle In T-Town Take Two" may take place.
What are the chances of this big game going down? Well, not very high. The NIT's #5 seed, Bama, needs to win at #4 seed Creighton on Tuesday and then beat #1 seed St. Bonaventure in Olean, New York (my parents lived outside Olean for years and trust me, the place is a paradise… be sure to stop by the Cuba Cheese Factory for some sharp cheddar). And UAB? The #7 seed needs to win Wednesday night at #2 seed BYU, then beat the winner of the game between #3 seed Virginia Tech and #6 seed Princeton. More bad news: All four of these combined UAB and Alabama games are on the road, and a few of these teams (see Creighton and St. Bonaventure, feel very slighted for not making the Big Dance). Still, a UAB-Alabama basketball match-up is a possibility, and I'm one rooting for it to occur. And what team would be favored? Oddsmaker Danny Sheridan tells me that he would make Bama 4.5 favorite. My first reaction? I don't think he's seen the depth of this UAB team, but he's the expert, not me.
Are you a UAB fan? Please take a moment to root for the Crimson Tide over the next week. Are you an Alabama fan? Likewise regarding UAB. Just imagine: Coleman Coliseum sold out, with the new "Dreamland Trophy" being awarded to the winner, a trophy that one team could hang onto for some 25 years before the next Alabama-UAB basketball takes place (I made up that "Dreamland Trophy" thing, but it makes sense to me). If everything falls into place, Blazer fans could be printing updated bumper stickers that read "UAB 2, UAT 0", or Bama fans could be sending the Blazers back to the 'Ham and looking forward to the A-Day football game. Either way, it would be a whole lot of fun… let's just hope the snow holds off!