A spot in the NIT Semifinals is on the line Wednesday when the UAB Blazers go to Vanderbilt to play the Commodores.
UAB Blazers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (-1, 153)
For UAB, guard Jordan “Jelly” Walker is fourth among qualifying Division I players in points per game with 22.6 points and 3.9 assists per game on 39% 3-point shooting. In the five games that Walker missed this season against Division I teams, UAB was not the same. The Blazers went 3-2 in his absence with 73 points or fewer scored in three of those games. By contrast, the team has scored at least 76 points in 28 of the 31 games Walker has played in this season.
The Vanderbilt defense has had issues all season long, ranking 250th in the country in points allowed per possession due in large part to a lack of pressure forced and 341st in turnovers forced per play on defense.
The Blazers also have the advantage on the boards, ranking 19th in the country while Vanderbilt is 208th in this category.
To make matters worse for Vanderbilt in the post, 7-foot center Liam Robbins, who is averaging team-highs of 15 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game, will remain out after suffering a season-ending injury earlier in March.
While UAB’s forte is having a high-powered offense that is 19th in the country in points scored per possession while playing at a rate that is 20th in total possessions per game, the defense has held its own. UAB enters Wednesday ranked 47th in points allowed per possession and 40th in opponent field goal percentage.
It took Vanderbilt overcoming an eight-point deficit in the final minute of their 66-65 win against Michigan just to get to Wednesday's NIT Quarterfinals and UAB will deny Vanderbilt’s bid for a second straight NIT Semifinal appearance.
The Play: UAB Moneyline -105
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