3. Potential March Madness upsets – South Region: No. 12 UAB vs. No. 5 Houston
Another 5-12 upset pick hits the board here with UAB over Houston. Let’s start with a look at the Blazers, who took advantage of an upset loss by North Texas in the Conference USA Tournament to claim their ticket to dance.
UAB plays a lightning-fast pace, averaging 80.7 points per game, which will be a good contrast in styles against a Cougars’ team that likes to grind it out defensively. Junior guard Jordan Walker has also gotten hot, averaging 31 points per game in the C-USA Tournament, and can carry the Blazers in this game if he keeps up his hot shooting.
There are also significant questions for Houston, a team that the metrics have loved all season long but landed as a 5-seed thanks to a suspect resume. The Cougars finally earned their first win over a team in the field on Sunday by beating Memphis in the AAC Tournament final, which isn’t a resounding endorsement of their ability to return to the Final Four.
Season-ending injuries to Tramon Mark and Marcus Sasser have also left the Cougars as a much-weaker team than they were earlier this season. Look for UAB to take advantage of a vulnerable Houston team and get to the Round of 32.