I'm typing this from 13th street in Birmingham, in my car in front of the Owls bus that will take them to the airport then head to Nebraska for Creighton.
Aside from the first 5-10 minutes, this game was a letdown, but that's naturally what happens after you play Toccoa Falls and Carver. UAB is a damn good team with a transfer big from Clemson who looked like Shaq against us. They have a balanced team and a lot of shot makers. I was very impressed with them, because I didn't think our perimeter D was that bad. They only shot 47% bur my god, it felt like 10 points higher. Last year's team loses this game by 50+.
Four assists and 19 turnovers won't win games for us.
This game came down to playing Madden on Rookie level for two games and then switching to All Pro and expecting the same things to work the same way. This was growing pains, and will only make the young players better. This game is 100% a learning experience and our players should use this to remind them there's a long way to go to reach greatness.
What went wrong? On offense, a lot. UAB is bigger, stronger, longer, and more athletic than we're used to. Sending skip passes across the lane to open shooters isn't going to happen every possession like vs. Toccoa. The biggest problem was that UAB exposed our flaws and made us one dimensional.
Our big men are just not ready for the bright lights of a good Conference USA team, in terms of pure skill, and that's what we got tonight. This isn't a diss to them - because we don't need Conference USA bigs to be good in the ASUN. I just want to point out the glaring mismatches from tonight. JUCO transfer Alex Peterson had a game to forget - I'll leave it at that. Again, it's still early, so hopefully he will bounce back. Like Peterson, our bigs turtled up once they got the ball in their hands. If the bigs can't hit an open jumper or make moves, it puts everything onto the guards and shrinks the court. Again, I am just speaking the obvious vs. a veteran good team like UAB. Our guards should be able to carry the load vs. schools on our level. I think Cole LaRue is our best hope for a big minutes at the 5 this year. His shot hasn't been falling, but I think it will eventually. Brandon Stroud could be a great mismatch in conference play with his length. Each game I'm starting to think more and more that LaRue and Stroud will play a lot at the 4 and 5 in ASUN play.
Spencer Rodgers was 1-6 from 3. Four turnovers. He did a pretty good job of getting the ball to the basket which gave him a decent line.
Kasen Jennings led the team in rebounds as a point guard. I still like what I see from him and think he'll be a baller.
Chris Youngblood had a poor game. Airballed some threes, and had to mask up - the kind of mask he wore last year in high school when he had a fractured nose. This is a throwaway game for him. Learn and get better.
I thought Burden and Melo looked healthy and back from their injuries.
This game is what happens when you play an older, stronger, bigger team on the road. Good learning experience. No reason our guys should be discouraged or dwell on this. It's a marathon - but it gets even tougher Friday vs. ranked Creighton. I just want to see smarter decisions, especially from our vets.