2003 NIT 2003 NIT
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Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 11:28 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL PREVIEW
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UL Lafayette (20-9) at UAB (19-12)
LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE RAGIN CAJUNS
Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns
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UAB BLAZERS
UAB Blazers
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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Ticker) -- After just missing an NCAA Tournament berth, Alabama-Birmingham faces Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Wednesday.

The Blazers (19-12) were one win away from an automatic NCAA Tournament berth, but lost in the final of the Conference USA tournament, 83-78, to Louisville. They are making their eighth appearance in the NIT and have reached the semifinals twice, most recently in 1993.

UAB is trying to reach 20 wins for the 14th time in school history. Junior guard Mo Finley leads the team with 18.3 points per game, while three other players average at least nine points per game.

Louisiana-Lafayette (20-9) will participate in the NIT for the second straight season and the fifth time in school history.

The Ragin' Cajuns have lost their last two games. They dropped their regular-season finale, 69-66, to Western Kentucky and then became the first No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Conference since 1983 to lost in the first round of the conference tournament, enduring a 72-68 setback to Denver.

UAB has won both previous meetings with Louisiana-Lafayette, most recently posting a 75-67 victory on November 28, 1997.


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