On Friday night, 5-seeded Houston will take on 12-seeded UAB in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Kelvin Sampson’s Houston Cougars come into the tournament with a 29-5 record and an American Conference title along with it. Led by Kyler Edwards, Fabian White, and Josh Carlton, the Cougars are looking to prove everyone wrong, and have been riding a hot streak throughout the last part of the season.
However, the big story around Houston this season has been injuries. Two of the team’s starters — Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark — both went down with season-ending injuries months ago. That, along with UAB’s strong play as of late, is leading to many around the sport to think that a UAB upset is very possible.
“I think UAB can do it,” Fox Sports bracketologist Mike DeCourcy told PSN. “I don’t think Houston will be in this tournament long. It’s just simple. You lose two of your top five scorers, and it’s a miracle to do what they did. To win the regular season in the American, to win the conference tournament when Memphis had been playing so well as of late, I think that Kelvin has done an amazing job under those circumstances, but I don’t think they last long here.”
UAB comes in at 27-7 on the year, led by a player that has taken the nation by storm in the past few weeks: Jordan “Jelly” Walker.
Walker is a 5-foot-11 guard who is the team’s leading scorer at 20.4 points per game. His play style, his personality, and his nickname have all sent the UAB program into a viral state on social media as of late and have many fans ready to root for them throughout this tournament.
If you’re not a fan of Jelly Walker I’m not a fan of you pic.twitter.com/hixO5UGgsT
— Kyle Nap (@KyleNaps) March 13, 2022
Behind Walker, Quan Jackson, Michael Ertel, and KJ Buffen each average more than ten points per game.
The game will tip off at 9:20 p.m., and will be televised on TNT.
According to Draft Kings, the spread is currently set at Houston (-8.5), and the moneyline is at Houston (-400). The over/under is set at 136 total points.