Louisiana Tech enters in third place in the Conference USA standings with a 5-2 record in conference play. Meanwhile, UAB is trying to get back to the .500-mark following their loss to Southern Miss earlier in the week. The Blazers opened the conference season with back-to-back losses and have yet to climb back over .500 in league play. Can UAB bounce back with a win at home over Louisiana Tech on Saturday?
Muhammed leads Bulldogs past Middle TennesseeLouisiana Tech bounced back from a tough one-point loss by taking down Middle Tennessee 80-73 on the road on Thursday night. Mubarak Muhammed finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds in the win while Derric Jean chipped in 15 points for the Bulldogs, who shot a blistering 59.2 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from beyond the arc on the night.
Eric Konkol’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 67 in the latest KenPom rankings after winning five of their first seven conference games. The Bulldogs rank among the top teams in the conference on both ends of the floor and they’ve been even stingier defensively during league play. Louisiana Tech has scored 107.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (67th in the NCAA) and 106.2 points per 100 possessions during conference play (3rd in C-USA). Through seven league contests, the Bulldogs have turned the ball over just 18.2 percent of the time (5th in C-USA) while sporting an effective field goal percentage of 53.0 percent (3rd in C-USA). They rank in the top-5 in the conference in nearly every major offensive category, except from the free-throw line, where they have shot a dismal 60.9 percent during C-USA play (14th in C-USA).
On defense, Louisiana Tech has held opponents to just 96.0 points per 100 possessions on the year (81st in the NCAA) and that number has dropped to a league-best 91.6 points per 100 possessions during conference play (1st in C-USA). The Bulldogs have forced C-USA opponents to turn the ball over 22.9 percent of the time (1st in C-USA) while holding them to an effective field goal percentage of 45.7 percent (1st in C-USA).
Blazers fall short at home vs. Southern MissUAB lost for the second time in three games on Thursday night 84-77 at home against Southern Miss. Jalen Benjamin scored 29 points and Tavin Lovan added 14 points for the Blazers, who trailed by as many as 16 points despite shooting 44.4 percent from deep and 17-for-18 from the free-throw line on the night.
Rob Ehsan and the Blazers are hoping to even up their conference record this weekend and they come in ranked No 186 in the latest KenPom rankings. UAB has struggled offensively, especially from beyond the arc, which has limited its efficiency on offense. The Blazers have scored 99.3 points per 100 possessions on the year (220th in the NCAA) while turning the ball over a whopping 23.4 percent of the time (337th in the NCAA). They have also shot just 29.6 percent from deep (317th in the NCAA) for the season, and they’ve been even worse from beyond the arc in conference play, hitting just 25.9 percent of their 3-point attempts (12th in C-USA). UAB does most of its damage from 2-point range, where it has shot a healthier 52.0 percent during conference play (6th in the C-USA) but the Blazers have struggled from the free-throw line, connecting on just 63.4 percent of their free-throw attempts (13th in C-USA).
On defense, UAB has given up 101.1 points per 100 possessions (152nd in the NCAA) for the season and 100.7 points per 100 possessions against league opponents (8th in C-USA). C-USA opponents have torched the Blazers from deep through seven games, hitting 35.0 percent of their 3-point attempts against UAB’s defense (11th in C-USA).