NCAA Pants Party: Kentucky Vs. UAB

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Kentucky Wildcats (21-12) vs. Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (24-6).
When: Friday, 9:55 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia



1. Fill the Tubb. You already know that Kentucky coach Tubby Smith won a national championship in his first year at Kentucky, and you likely already know that he has been rewarded for that achievement with a constant stream of Kentucky fans who hope to have him fired. But you likely did not know that Tubby Smith was one of 17 children and got his name because his mother would put him in the bathtub and he did not ever want to leave ... thus "Tubby." Luckily for Smith, and the entire Kentucky program, his mother did not choose to call him "Bubbles" Smith.

2. Seven-Footers All Around. Tubby recently decided to change his recruiting program and go with a "only recruit seven-footers" strategy. This has led to the current Wildcat roster, which includes Jared Carter, a freshman seven-footer best known for averaging a grand total of 12 points a game in high school, "Woo" Obrzut, a seven-footer from Poland who the Wildcats stole from the grasp of that traditional powerhouse Fordham, and Shagari Alleyne, who, at 7-foot-6, is the tallest player in Kentucky history and is on an endless quest for a hat to fit his size 8 1/2 head in Lexington. The latter two behemoths are best known for their height, inability to catch entry passes and their collective nickname, "Shaggy and Scooby Woo."

3. Rah Rah Ree, Kick Em In The Knee. The only program at Kentucky that may be more successful than the basketball variety is its cheerleading team, which has won 11 of the last 12 national championships. The cheerleaders are an integral part of every game, with their unsafe four-level pyramid, spelling of the word "Kentucky" using just their perm-pressed hair and inventive use of the word "ain t" in their cheers. Their success has spawned imitators and is often blamed for the current rash of eating disorders amongst other SEC cheerleading squads. — Matthew Jones


1. Tom Penders Is Not Coming To Birmingham. When Arkansas gave Nolan Richardson the boot, his assistant coach Mike Anderson found his home at UAB. Fortunately for UAB, Anderson brought the up tempo offense used at Arkansas and not Richardson's "t-shirt under the blazer" wardrobe. Due to Anderson's success at UAB, he's regularly mentioned for other head coach openings including Missouri and Ole Miss. UAB fans can rest easy that if he leaves, Tom Penders won't apply for the job.


2. It's Not Called The "Magic City" For Nothing. Blazer fans — and Kentucky fans, for that matter — will never forget the magical no-look 3/4 court backwards pass from Ronell Taylor to twin brother Donell Taylor for the slam in the NCAA tourney in 2004 (UAB went on to defeat the No. 1 seed Wildcats.) Ronell made his first NBA start this week for the Wizards, while the guy who threw the ball away on that play, Antwain Barbour ... he's balling for the Yakama Sun Kings.


3. The UAB Mascot: Ironic In A Nasty Way. Federal agents arrested a UAB junior last week and charged him and two others in the Alabama church burnings. It wasn't hard to find the irony in this sad situation. Plenty of jokes about showing his school spirit as a Blazer. — Joseph Schell

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