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No. 5 Houston vs. No. 12 UAB preview for March Madness first-round matchup

The No. 5 Houston and No. 12 UAB face off in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) celebrates Houston Cougars forward Fabian White Jr. (35) basket against the Temple Owls in the second half at Fertitta Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 15th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18. No. 5 seed Houston will face No. 12 seed UAB in the first round on Friday. Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the Cougars and Blazers in this year’s March Madness Tournament.

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Friday, March 18th
Game time: 9:20 p.m. ET
TV channel: TNT
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, PPG Paints Arena

Odds: Houston -8.5

No. 5 Houston

Even with Marcus Sasser done for the season, this team is a dangerous unit in the tournament. Fabian White Jr. and Tramon Mark are two-way studs, while Kyler Edwards has stepped up in a big way with Sasser’s injury. The Cougars don’t have the stars like last year’s Final Four team but they can still grind out any win.

Record: 28-5, 15-3 AAC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 11
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 12
Against The Spread: 21-12
Over Total: 15-18
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +4000

No. 12 UAB

A: The Blazers have a great offense according to the metrics, which helps when a team is attempting to bust some brackets. After surviving a triple-overtime contest against Middle Tennessee, UAB was able to seal the deal in the final with relative ease. This team has won seven straight contests and heads into the field of 68 with confidence. If Jordan Walker keeps up his hot play, this team will be a trendy pick to cause some chaos in the early rounds.

Record: 27-7, 14-4 Conference
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 28
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 88
Against The Spread: 18-13-1
Over Total: 21-10-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +50000