In the inaugural "First Four" games, Clemson of the ACC will be pitted against Conference USA's UAB. Along with the expansion of the field, these two don't come without controversy. With Clemson's run to the ACC semis and near-victory against North Carolina, they seemed firmly in the field. UAB, however, was a different story. The Blazers won the regular-season title in C-USA, but lost in their first game of the conference tournament to East Carolina. Along with VCU, UAB was a team that nobody thought would make the field. The selection committee proved everyone wrong. Both Clemson and UAB have a lot to prove in tonight's game deciding who will advance to play the No. 5 West Virginia Mountaineers.
The controversy surrounding the Blazers has taken away some from this game. Both teams start a trio of guards, the best of the bunch being UAB's Jamarr Sanders (17.7 points per game) and Aaron Johnson (nation-leading 7.7 assists per game) and Clemson's Demontez Stitt (17 points and 5 rebounds per game over the last 10 games). Both teams also put forth similar statistics- about 68 points per night, while allowing 60.
The x-factor for UAB will be the play of 6'10" inside-outside forward Cameron Moore. Moore missed some time late in the season with an hand injury and hasn't been the same in the past four games after returning, but he has big time potential; he has recorded 14 double-doubles this season and is averaging 14 points and better than 9 rebounds. For the Tigers, a real spark could come from undersized scoring guard, Andre Young. The 5'9" junior is averaging 11 points over Clemson's last 3 games and has 13 assists to just one turnover in that span.