Busting Brackets

NIT Tournament: 2023 title game preview for UAB vs North Texas

Mar 10, 2023; Frisco, TX, USA; UAB Blazers guard Jordan Walker (10) pushes the ball up court against the North Texas Mean Green during the first half at Ford Center at The Star. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2023; Frisco, TX, USA; UAB Blazers guard Jordan Walker (10) pushes the ball up court against the North Texas Mean Green during the first half at Ford Center at The Star. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports /

Two Mid-Major teams from Conference USA face off against one another for the fourth time this season in UAB vs North Texas in the NIT Tournament finals.

Thursday, March 30. 30-7. 2389. 9:30 PM ET. 29-9. ESPN2/ESPN+. . 2368

Conference Record: 14-6. . Blazers . . team. 2368.


Conference: C-USA

Best Victories: Georgia (87-73), South Carolina (84-70), Charlotte (76-68), Jacksonville (80-61), South Alabama (76-68), Charlotte (76-68), UTEP (79-73), at Louisana Tech (81-74), at Rice (70-52), Florida Atlantic (86-77), Middle Tennessee (92-69), at UTEP (79-66), at Western Kentucky (72-60), at Charlotte (93-91), Rice (87-60), and North Texas (76-69)

NIT Tournament Wins: Southern Miss (88-60), Morehead State (77-59), at Vanderbilt (67-59), and Utah Valley (88-86) OT

Notable Losses: Toledo (93-85), at West Virginia (70-81), at Florida Atlantic (86-88), at Florida International (87-90), Western Kentucky (78-80), at Middle Tennessee (73-74), North Texas (52-63), at North Texas (79-82), and Florida Atlantic (56-78)

NET Ranking: 57

KenPom Ranking: 45

RPI Ranking: 49

College Basketball Power Index Ranking: 52

Sagarin Ranking: 47

Quadrant 1 Record: 2-4

Quadrant 2 Record: 3-3

Quadrant 3 Record: 10-1

Why UAB can win this game

The Blazers have proven this season that they can play well against and defeat power five conference teams with more resources and recruiting advantages than them. UAB this season defeated Georgia by double digits to win the Sunshine Slam Beach Bracket championship, they beat another school from the SEC when they defeated South Carolina by 14 points, and they won on the road by eight points against a third team from the SEC, Vanderbilt in the NIT Tournament.

In Conference USA play, they defeated FAU by a final score of 86-77, defeated Charlotte twice and Rice three times, and beat North Texas in the conference tournament by seven points. The Blazers finished in third place in the Conference USA regular standings.

An argument can be made that UAB has a better offense than North Texas’s and if the Blazers can shoot well beyond the arc, they can win this game against the Mean Green and their outstanding defense as they did in the Conference USA tournament when they attacked the interior of North Texas’s defense and got to the free throw line making 25 free throws in their victory.

2389. . Conference Record: 16-4. . Mean Green . . team

North Texas

Conference: C-USA

Best Wins: Grand Canyon (60-58), San Jose State (69-54), Fresno State (61-52), UMass (62-44), Long Beach State (68-47), at Western Kentucky (70-66), at Middle Tennessee (56-51), Louisiana Tech (67-65), at UAB (63-52), at Louisana Tech (72-62), UAB (82-79), Charlotte (67-43), Middle Tennessee (64-50), Western Kentucky (67-33), and Louisana Tech (74-46)

NIT Tournament Wins: Alcorn State (69-53), Sam Houston (75-55), at Oklahoma State (65-59 in OT), and Wisconsin (56-54)

Notable Defeats: At Saint Mary’s (33-63), Florida Atlantic (46-50), UNC Wilmington (51-55), at Charlotte (49-55), Rice (60-72), UAB (69-76), and at Florida Atlantic (62-66)

NET Ranking: 38

KenPom Ranking: 33

RPI Ranking: 28

College Basketball Power Index Ranking: 58

Sagarin Ranking: 51

Quadrant 1 Record: 2-3

Quadrant 2 Record: 5-2

Quadrant 3 Record: 11-1

Why North Texas can win this game

North Texas has played well lately winning 15 of their previous 17 games prior to facing fellow Conference USA opponent UAB in the finals of the NIT Tournament. The Mean Green as well as other Conference USA members have done well in post-season tournament play. FAU has advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, Charlotte won the CBI Championship, and UAB and North Texas are playing for the chance to win the NIT Tournament title. The conference is post-season play has proven that is the top mid-major conference this season.

In this match-up, North Texas in Conference USA play defeated UAB twice in regular season play and an argument can be made that they match up well with UAB. The Mean Green Their victories over power five conference teams as they defeated Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals on the road and Wisconsin on a neutral court of the NIT tournament showed just how strong of a defense North Texas has even against more well-known opponents.

Not only is this a match-up between two mid-major teams from the southern portion of this country, but it is also an interesting and intriguing game between two schools that will play one another for the fourth time this season. As already mentioned previously, an even stronger argument could be argued that North Texas should have earned an invitation to the NCAA tournament with their high rankings in the NET and Ken Pom rankings as well as having a top 30 ranking in the RPI rankings.

The Mean Green is led by their outstanding team defense and without much debate according to many metrics, North Texas has a top 15 defense with their stellar play in the postseason. Its offense was tested by an efficient operating Wisconsin defense and even though the Mean Green did not score a ton of points, it scored late in the game to give them the victory. If North Texas is victorious in this game it will be because of how they played against UAB earlier in the season and not how it performed against them in the conference tournament.

Rivalry History

Last 10 games of this rivalry: Both teams have each won five games out of the previous ten games against one another.

Current Win Streak: UABhas won the last game two between these two schools, having a one-game winning streak in this rivalry.

Games this season between the two rivals: North Texas won the first two games winning at UAB by 11 in their first season match-up and then winning by only three points on their home court. In the conference tournament, UAB defeated North Texas to advance to the conference championship game by defeating the Mean Green by seven points.

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The last meeting between both schools: UAB defeated North Texas on a neutral court by a final score of 76-69.

Prediction: North Texas 75, UAB 73