"It is a great feeling to see the schedule and know that basketball season is approaching," Davis said. "This schedule is one that will be challenging, especially with so many road games to start the year. On top of that, we could face up to 10 teams that played in the postseason last year, so it should make for a very exciting season."
The highlight of the 2008-09 slate is UAB's participation in the 2008 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. It marks the Blazers' third appearance at the annual event, and first since the 1989-90 campaign.
"This is a great event and we are excited to be a part of it," UAB head coach Mike Davis said. "This is going to give us a great test to start the season. The field is full of quality teams and it will be a good opportunity for our guys, the fans and for this program."
UAB will open tournament play when it takes on the region's No. 11 seed Santa Clara in the opening round. The winner of that game will play the winner of Arizona and Florida Atlantic for the right to go to the semifinals played in Madison Square Garden. All first round games will take place on Nov. 17 with the championship and consolation games of the four regions to follow on Nov. 18.
The NIT semifinal and final doubleheaders will be played over the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 26 and 28). The remaining 12 teams will play third- and fourth-round games on Nov. 24 and 25. These games will be played on the home campus sites of the three highest remaining seeds. Participating teams will not play any team twice and third and fourth rounds will be assigned to the most geographically compatible site possible. ESPN will provide coverage throughout the event; televising games on ESPN2 and ESPNU, with select games also simulcast on ESPN360.com.
The Blazers will also play some familiar foes from the Big East, as they will travel to former C-USA rivals Cincinnati (12/6) and Louisville (12/27), while USF will come to Bartow Arena on Dec. 3. UAB will also face another NCAA team when it takes on the Butler Buldogs in Indianapolis, Ind. on Dec. 30. The contest will mark the second meeting between the two schools and first since the 1980 campaign.
The rest of UAB's schedule should be just as challenging, featuring two opponents it saw on last year's slate. The Blazers will face Old Dominion for a fourth consecutive season when they travel to Norfolk, Va. on Nov. 22. The Green and Gold has not won at ODU since the 1990 season. Additionally, Louisiana-Lafayette comes to Birmingham on Jan. 19 where it will look to avenge an overtime loss to UAB at the CajunDome a year ago.
The Blazers will open the season at in-state foe Troy on Nov. 15, with the Trojans returning the favor when they come to Bartow Arena on Dec. 20. It is the first time the two teams will meet on the hardwood. Other non-conference home opponents include Jacksonville State (12/17), Florida Atlantic (12/22) and Savannah State (1/3).
Like its non-conference schedule, the Blazers will open the 2009 C-USA slate on the road when they take on Houston on Jan. 10 in Houston, Texas. Following a home date against UCF (1/13), the Blazers will play Memphis on Jan. 17, the first of five mirror games against C-USA opponents. The Tigers will invade Bartow Arena on Thursday, Feb. 26. UAB will also have mirror contests with UTEP (Jan. 21 at UAB and March 4 at UTEP), Marshall (Jan. 31 at Marshall and March 7 at UAB), Tulane (Feb. 4 at UAB and Feb. 18 at Tulane) and Southern Miss (Feb. 7 at Southern Miss and Feb. 21 at UAB).
Additionally, the Blazers will also have home C-USA games against SMU (2/14) and Rice (2/24) and road league contests at Tulsa (1/28) and at East Carolina (2/28).
The Conference USA Championship is in Memphis, Tenn., March 11-14.