March Madness Bracket 2011: UAB Blazers Selected As an At-Large Team

Stephen IgoeContributor IMarch 14, 2011

The Birmingham News
The Birmingham News

Despite not being projected to get into the field of 68 by various media outlets around the nation, UAB found themselves as an at-large team in the NCAA tournament on Sunday evening.

The Blazers were one of the first teams announced on national television, as the CBS Selection Show unveiled them to be in the play-in game for the No. 12 seed in the East Region against the Clemson Tigers.

That game will be played Tuesday night at 9:00 PM (EST) on truTV. The winner moves on to meet No. 5 seed West Virginia on Thursday.

After the selection show was complete, a few media sources (mainly ESPN) continually ripped UAB and its apparently weak resume, saying that the Blazers had no business being in the tournament over the likes of Virginia Tech and Colorado.

While everyone has an opinion, these "analysts" failed to mention UAB's good numbers, and instead just looked at the few categories where the Blazers were lacking compared to other bubble teams.

What they did not show was that UAB's RPI, which was 31 as of Monday, was much higher than that of any team left out of the field. They also failed to realize that the Blazers were the regular season champions of an extremely tough conference.

Conference USA is rated eighth overall in the conference RPI rankings, ahead of both the Atlantic 10 and CAA, which each got three teams in compared to CUSA's two.

Although some people believe the Blazers did not deserve the bid, it was obvious as to why they got in.

Now, they have to go out and prove the doubters wrong.