It didn't take long for the NCAA tournament to deliver its first feel-good story of 2015.
UAB, a team that was just 16-15 before going on a run to the Conference USA tournament title, pulled off a 60-59 win over third-seeded Iowa State on Thursday afternoon -- providing quite a moment for a fan base that's had to deal with the recent shuttering of its football program.
If you were watching the upset of the Cyclones, surely you noticed UAB's team was wearing mismatched shoes. One foot green, the other foot white.
Why? It's their way of honoring pediatric cancer patients and hopefully raising awareness and money along the way.
Pediatric cancer is a cause close to the Blazers' collective heart.
Two years ago, during [head coach Jerod] Haase's first season at the helm, the Blazers adopted a young cancer patient named Elijah Seritt. Seritt and his family have been a source of encouragement to the team since.
Just 19 months old when he was first taken to the emergency room, Seritt has has undergone 17 surgeries, including two brain surgeries as well as chemotherapy and two stem-cell transplants since being diagnosed with medulloblastoma -- a particularly aggressive form of cancer.
"Henry Ford talked about, 'A business that only makes money is a poor business' if that's its sole purpose," Haase said. "And I think if you're a basketball program and your sole purpose is just to win games, you're running a poor program. I think our guys are really bought in."
Haase continued, "They want to reach out to the community and this is something that does touch their heart with our relationship with Elijah. Obviously with the Children's Hospital, we feel like it's a win-win situation."
It all started this past summer during the Blazers' offseason trip to Spain. During an exhibition game, they noticed an opponent wearing different colored shoes and "one idea led to another," Haase told Al.com.
The players decided that would be their way to honor their buddy Elijah and hopefully raise awareness to the cause, through a school partnership with the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Hospital of Alabama.
One way to help spread the word? Pull off an epic NCAA tournament upset on national television that has everyone talking and noticing.
Well done on both accounts, UAB.