2023 NIT Championship Preview

The North Texas Mean Green fans love to get rowdy. Tonight will be no different.
Photo Courtesy: Joe Lorenzini

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

Game Info
UNT Mean Green vs UAB Blazers
Thursday – March 30 – 8:30 p.m.
Orleans Arena – Las Vegas, NV

University of Alabama – Birmingham Blazers (29-9)
University of North Texas Mean Green (30-7)

Here’s something strange… Both of these teams play in the same conference, Conference USA. North Texas finished second in conference play right behind Florida Atlantic (still in the running for a national championship at the “Big Dance”) while UAB finished in 3rd place in the conference this season. Conference USA isn’t one of those glamorous conferences that has multiple national champions leading the way for well-known schools.
Let’s take a look at this year’s NIT Championship game between UNT and UAB in the middle of the desert!

UNT Mean Green 
North Texas is lead by a 5’11, 182-pound senior guard Tylor Perry. He is this year’s Conference USA player of the year. He averages 17.2 points per game and leads this team in steals. His tough play lifts the team on the defensive end of the floor. Junior forward Abou Ousman is key in the paint. He averages 6.0 rebounds with 3.5 on the defensive side while grabbing 2.5 on the offensive boards. UNT is only giving up 55.3 points per game to opponents. Someone else besides Perry will need to give the Mean Green at least 20 points to bring North Texas the NIT basketball championship this season.

UAB Blazers
Jordan Walker will be the one to watch for Alabama-Birmingham. He averages 22.3 points per game and is a dynamo to watch. He’s from New York and his style of play reminds me of a young Kenny Anderson. He’s smooth taking the ball to the rim and finished well. Sophomore guard Eric Gaines will be the facilitator on the offensive end. The Blazers averages 81.3 points per game while giving up 66 points to opposition. The Blazers have beaten the Mean Green twice this year and is looking to close them out for a title.

ESPN has this game pretty close. They have the Mean Green with a 50.7% while listing the Blazers at 49.3%. The over/under is 128, so take the over it’s the safe bet. My heart is saying take UNT by 8, but watching these teams play I know how strong UAB is. I’m taking UNT for this one! Bring us a championship kids!

Final Score
Mean Green – 81
Blazers – 73