UAB’s only chance to make the NCAA Tournament was to win the Conference USA Tournament.
But they had home-court advantage in the C-USA Tournament, playing in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, about a half a mile from the campus. UAB (19-15) squeaked by Western Kentucky in their first game, then handled top-seeded Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee to claim the automatic bid.
Here’s what you need to know about UAB:
1. UAB Is Back in the NCAA Tournament for the 1st Time Since 2011
UAB will play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. That year, the Blazers were in the play-in game and lost to Clemson.
They made some noise in the Big Dance back in 2004 when they advanced to the Sweet 16, which included a win over top-seeded Kentucky.
Former coach Gene Bartow turned UAB into a major player in the early 1980s. His teams made the Elite Eight in 1982, a year after making the Sweet 16.
2. Robert Brown Leads the Team in Scoring
Robert Brown leads the balanced UAB offense in scoring with 13.1 points per game.
The Blazers score 68.9 per game and allow 67.7.
For the complete stats, click here.
3. Coach Jerod Haase Played at Kansas
Blazer coach Jerod Haase is in his 3rd season in Birmingham and has a career 53-45 record.
Haase, 40, is making his first March Madness appearance as a head coach, but made plenty as an assistant under Roy Williams at Kansas then North Carolina.
Haase began his playing career at Cal-Berkeley, then transferred to Kansas, where he played under Williams from 1994-97.
4. UAB Just Shut Down Its Football Team
Citing fiscal reasons, UAB’s football team was shut down in December.
The program had a 118-153-2 record since its inception in 1991. It started as a Division III team and eventually made its way to Conference USA.
It was the first major program to be canceled since Pacific’s was 20 years ago,
5. UAB Is a Leading Medical University
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a leading research and academic medical school.
The school has an enrollment of about 18,500, of which 11,500 are undergrads.
The public university was founded in 1969.