The Mocs will battle UAB just three days after playing Middle Tennessee. It will be another opponent from Conference USA and this one will be in McKenzie Arena and televised on the American Sports Network. This is the second biggest out of conference home game of the year for the Mocs, only behind Georgia. This is a game that the Mocs would certainly like to win before the holidays. After this game, there will just be one game left before the start of SoCon play (other than the game against The Citadel in early December).
The Blazers started off well last year, beating North Carolina. Then they fell on hard times, wound up just 7-9 in CUSA play and were generally a disappointment. But the Blazers have a high level of excitement surrounding the program after signing two of the best players in the state of Alabama in recruiting- William Lee and Lewis Sullivan. Lee is 6-9 and Sullivan is 6-7. The two forwards should be solid performers for the Blazers.
CJ Washington is a preseason All Conference USA player. He is a 6-8 senior. He was the Blazers second leading scorer a year ago with 13.0 points per game and also collected 6.9 rebounds per contest. Washington will be a key component to this year's team. Combine him with Lee and Sullivan, and the frontcourt will be a potentially dominant force for the Blazers this season.
Chad Frazier was dismissed from the team over the summer. He was expected to be the starting point guard. He has left a major void. There are three main players trying to win that spot. Nick Norton is a true freshman who started on the overseas trip and appeared to take control of the team. Denzel Watts played fifteen minutes a game last year. He was injured on the overseas trip, so the Blazers may be expected to play him. Denzel Collins has one year of eligibility remaining, but is a senior transfer and is expected to be a solid contributor. Hakeem Baxter is a big time scoring transfer from Maryland-Eastern Shore who may play some at point guard as well.
The Blazers will challenge the Mocs with their size down low, but with no experienced point guard, the Mocs may be able to present some challenges to UAB as well. They are also competing in the Battle 4 Atlantis event, but in the one where they actually go to the Bahamas. They will play Wisconsin in their opener down there.
This will be the Blazers first true road game of the year. They will play three games in the Bahamas, but their other eight games will all be at home. That could make for an interesting night in Chattanooga, especially if a big crowd turns out for the Mocs home game. The crowd will depend largely on how the Mocs are playing at that point in the season. This is going to be a tough game to win, but the Mocs can certainly make a battle of it.