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How and what to watch for UAB vs. North Texas in 2023 NIT Championship

We break down everything you need to know for Thursday’s NIT Championship matchup from Las Vegas between the Blazers and Mean Green.

NCAA Basketball: NIT Semifinals-North Texas vs Wisconsin Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The NIT Championship Game tips off on Thursday, March 31 as the UAB Blazers and the North Texas Mean Green wrap up their seasons. UAB defeated Utah Valley in overtime in their semifinal game to advance, while UNT overcame Wisconsin in a nail-biter.

These two teams both hail from Conference USA and have already met multiple times this season. In the C-USA tournament, UAB beat North Texas 76-69. In the regular season, North Texas beat UAB 82-79 and 63-52. This will mark the fourth and perhaps most significant meeting this season between these two teams.

Game date: Thursday, March 31
Game time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN2
Location: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: UAB -2
Total: 128
Moneyline: UAB -130, North Texas +110

No. 4 UAB (29-9, 14-6 CUSA)

First Round: Defeated Southern Miss 88-60
Second Round: Defeated Morehead State 79-59
Quarterfinals: Defeated No. 3 Vanderbilt 67-59
Semifinals: Defeated Utah Valley 88-86 (OT)
KenPom rating: 44 Overall, 52 Offense, 32 Defense
Leading scorer: Jordan Walker, 22.5 ppg
Key stat of tournament: Rank 5th nationally in offensive rebounds per game

UAB went down to the wire against Utah Valley in an overtime thriller, by far their closest game of the tournament. The Blazers were led by Ty Brewer in a career-defining 30-point game. Brewer also added 12 rebounds for a double-double. The Blazers grabbed a big win over North Texas the last time the two teams matched up, though the stat lines for each team were nearly identical that game. UAB ranks 32nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency, and we can expect them to step up against UNT’s shooters.

No. 3 North Texas (30-7, 16-4 CUSA)

First Round: Defeated Alcorn State 69-53
Second Round: Defeated No. 2 Sam Houston 75-55
Quarterfinals: Defeated No. 1 Oklahoma State 65-59
Semifinals: Defeated No. 2 Wisconsin 56-54
KenPom rating: 33 Overall, 70 Offense, 22 Defense
Leading scorer: Tylor Perry, 17.3 ppg
Key stat of tournament: No opposing team has scored 60 points

North Texas also went down to the line against Wisconsin, pulling off a comeback to advance to the NIT final in a one-score game. Down 12 points at halftime, UNT’s defense limited Wisconsin’s offense to 13 (you read that right — THIRTEEN) points in the entire second half. The nation’s leader in scoring defense lived up to that title. The Mean Green were led by Tylor Perry with 16 points. Moulaye Sissoko grabbed six rebounds. They were able to beat UAB twice in the regular season by a combined 14 points. Jordan Walker missed one of those games.