tampabay.com

Tonight: USF vs. Alabama-Birmingham

By GREG AUMAN
Published December 30, 2005


WHEN/WHERE: 7; Sun Dome, Tampa.

RADIO: 910-AM. RECORDS: UAB 7-3, USF 6-6.

COACHES: UAB - Mike Anderson (72-37, fourth season); USF - Robert McCullum (27-42, third season; 71-87 overall).

NOTABLE: The Bulls' final nonconference game is the second in a three-game homestand, and the Blazers present a much tougher challenge than Bethune-Cookman, which beat USF in overtime Wednesday. UAB's strength is its backcourt, which is where the Bulls are thinnest, with senior James Holmes and walk-on Chris Capko as the only guards getting regular minutes. The Blazers have a veteran point guard in senior Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson, averaging 6.2 assists and 3.4 steals. Senior guard Marvett McDonald leads UAB with 15.1 points. USF struggled Wednesday after senior center Solomon Jones fouled out late in regulation. If Jones can stay out of foul trouble, he should do well against a Blazers frontcourt that lacks a true center and has been outrebounded by more than six a game. USF committed only five turnovers in the first half against B-CC, but committed 11 after halftime. The past two UAB-USF games in Tampa were thrillers, with the Blazers' Marques Lewis hitting a free throw with three seconds left for a 62-61 victory last year, and Sidney Ball hitting a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in a 61-59 win two years ago. The Bulls open Big East play Thursday against West Virginia.