Rice (57) vs. University of Alabama – Birmingham (85) 02/23/2023

Game #117 of 362 32% complete

This is the first game of a three-game trip to sunny Alabama. The Bartow Arena was named after legendary UAB coach Gene Bartow. He left UCLA in 1977 to start the athletic program at UAB becoming its first athletic director and coach staying on for 18 years before retiring in 1986.

It is rare that I see a coach twice in my travels leading different teams. This is the case with UAB coach Andy Kennedy who I saw coach at Ole Miss in 2017. Kennedy had a good run at Ole Miss in 12 seasons and became the schools’ all-time leader in wins. He resigned in 2018 when Old Miss refused to give him a contract extension; he took the UAB job 2 years later.

I cringe when I see a buffet for what I assume are donors or season ticket holders set up in the main concourse smack in the middle of fans heading towards their seats. I would feel foolish sitting there in an open space having fans look at us eat like we are somebody important.

This game on senior night was over at halftime with UAB leading with a score 55 -24. The press put on by UAB was stifling to Rice.

I was very impressed with UAB guard Jordan “Jelly” Walker who scored 32 points. Having previously played for Seton Hall and Tulane, Walker was named the Conference USA player of the year in 2022. Standing only 5’11”, his shifty moves and propensity to shoot gives him the look of a scorer. No one on Rice could guard him. Ironically, his 30 plus total broke the record for most 30-point games by a UAB player previously held by Coach Kennedy’s scoring record when Kennedy played at UAB in the early 90’s.

My nightmare parking scenario came through tonight. I parked in an outdoor lot when you had to pay upon exiting the lot. The line and wait were so long that I pulled over and listened to Jimmy Bufffet for a half hour before leaving. I was lucky that there was not a second game afterwards. I know better but I could not back out once I saw the ticket machine.

Here are some obligatory pictures of some Birmingham Zoo animals. I always visit zoos on my travels.

Finally check out the rental car – A GTO sitting very low to the ground. I am more of an SUV guy but this GTO was very cool to drive.