Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Skip navigation

Sun Belt could come back to haunt UAB

Add topic


Sun Belt could come back to haunt UAB

Sun Belt could come back to haunt UAB

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's taken 17 years, but karma may be lurking just around the corner for the UAB basketball team. Bad karma.

Don't look now, Blazers, but here comes the Sun Belt.

To ruin your day.

To steal your spot.

To exact its revenge.

UAB left the Sun Belt Conference behind after the 1991 season for bigger and better things, but if UAB gets left out of the NCAA Tournament, its old conference might be able to stand up, snicker and take partial credit.

The league the Blazers jilted could get two teams in the NCAA field.

The league the Blazers married, for better or worse, could get one.

Blame it on the madness in Mobile.

South Alabama won the Sun Belt regular-season title. South Alabama was supposed to win the Sun Belt Tournament on its home floor. The Sun Belt is supposed to be a one-bid league - it has been for the last 13 years - and South Alabama was supposed to earn that bid.

Middle Tennessee didn't get the memo.

When Middle toppled USA in the Sun Belt semis Monday night, it probably did three things. Turned USA into an at-large NCAA team. Turned the Sun Belt into a two-bid league. Popped somebody's bubble.

Unless UAB returns to the scene of the crime in the FedExForum and changes its national perception back in the right direction at the Conference USA Tournament, that somebody could be the Blazers.

Gene Bartow never thought he'd see the day. As the UAB athletics director, Bartow masterminded the school's move out of the Sun Belt and into the brand-new Great Midwest, which morphed into Conference USA.

Bartow remembered selling the idea to Scotty McCallum, UAB's president at the time, this way: ``It gave us a better chance to get in the NCAA Tournament, and it gave us a chance to get a better seed in the NCAA Tournament." It seemed like a good idea at the time.

But times have changed.

Not for the better for the Blazers.

Conference USA took a huge hit three years ago when the likes of Louisville, Cincinnati and Marquette hit the road. But C-USA gets more blame for the bad teams at the bottom of its current standings than credit for the great team at the top.

``Unfortunately," Bartow said, ``the basketball image of the conference isn't what it ought to be. Memphis has been so dominant the last couple of years, and that's been a part of it."

If Rice and SMU drag down the league's roundball reputation, Memphis should lift it up. Instead the nation tends to see C-USA as Memphis and the 11 dwarfs.

``I hear you," Bartow said. ``I don't have the answer." The answer for C-USA is to not go two straight years as a one-bid league. UAB is in the best position to give the league a second team in the field, but that position weakened when South Alabama fell.

Blame that on Kermit Davis.

Two years ago, the Middle Tennessee coach was more interested in the UAB job than UAB was in him. He thought he was a guy who could coach the Blazers into the NCAA Tournament.

Who knew he might be a guy who knocked them out?

Kevin Scarbinsky's column appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Write him at [email protected]
Back to the top


Re: Sun Belt could come back to haunt UAB

Man, this article is full of sensationalizing one-liners.

Like things, love people.
Back to the top


Re: Sun Belt could come back to haunt UAB

It's a personal opinion column in UAB's backyard.
Back to the top


Re: Sun Belt could come back to haunt UAB

UAB lost today to Tulsa in OT so I presume their season is done.  They might get NIT invite but I doubt it.
Back to the top
Control functions: