Tulane (8-7) at Tulsa (5-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reynolds Center (8,355) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: CSS. Home Record: Tulane 7-3, Tulsa 4-2. Away Record: Tulane 1-1, Tulsa 0-5. Neutral Record: Tulane 0-3, Tulsa 1-2. Conference Record: Tulane 0-0, Tulsa 0-0. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 10-5.
GAME NOTES: Conference USA action will tip off at the Reynolds Center on Thursday night, as the Tulsa Golden Hurricane play host to the Tulane Green Wave.
Tulane experienced an up-and-down non-conference schedule, resulting in an 8-7 record. Things have been looking up for the Green Wave in recent weeks, however, as they have won three of their last four, including a 61-58 home victory over Hofstra last Thursday.
Tulsa, on the other hand, has struggled for the most part, winning just five of its first 14 matchups, but it has performed admirably on its home floor, going 4-2 at the Reynolds Center. The Golden Hurricane snapped a two-game losing skid on Saturday with a 73-57 triumph over Cal State Fullerton to open up a three-game homestand.
Each team won at home in the 2012-13 season series. Tulsa has the upper hand on Tulane all-time, 10-5.
In a game that consisted of four ties and 10 lead changes, Tulane trailed Hofstra by two with 1:18 left before Cameron Reynolds drilled what proved to be the game-winning 3-pointer. It was far from an impressive offensive performance, as it shot just 35.3 percent from the field and 67.9 percent from the free-throw line, but it stepped up on the defensive end of the court by holding Hofstra to just 17-of-46 from the floor (.370). Jay Hook struggled with his shot from the floor (3-of-11) but drained all six attempts at the stripe for 15 points. Jonathan Stark netted 12 points and Kevin Thomas came off the bench to tally 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
The Green Wave have struggled offensively all season long (.423 FG percentage, 68.2 ppg), and they usually don't have the defensive pressure to make up for it (.464, 72.2 ppg). Louis Dabney is the catalyst with 18.3 ppg and helps out on defense too with more than a steal per contest. Stark brings 16.7 ppg to the table and Hook (15.4 ppg) has connected on 34-of-69 from 3-point range (.493).
The Golden Hurricane enjoyed perhaps their most dominant performance of the season in their win over the weekend versus Fullerton, as they shot 50 percent from the floor, held the Titans to just 37.3 percent shooting and claimed a 16-8 advantage in the takeaway battle. The balanced effort was spearheaded by a trio of 12-point efforts from Rashad Smith, James Woodard and D'Andre Wright. Shaquille Harrison was also effective with 11 points and was a major factor in the passing lanes with five steals.
Tulsa boasts a moderate offensive attack this season, as it scores 72.3 ppg on 43.1 percent from the field (including 35.2 percent from beyond the arc), but its porous effort on the defensive end of the floor (74.5 ppg) has led it to its disappointing record. Its lackluster free-throw percentage (.634) also comes back to haunt it during close games. Woodard is the both the team-leader in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg) and has been effective from 3- point territory (31-of-72). Smith (12.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) makes up for his poor showing from the stripe (.557) by draining 51.5 percent of his field goal tries. Harrison registers 9.5 ppg, 3.4 apg and 1.9 spg.
Records aside, Tulane and Tulsa are similarly constructed squads, and with the Golden Hurricane owning the homecourt advantage, expect them to get off to a 1-0 start in C-USA against the inconsistent Green Wave.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 74, Tulane 72
01/09 10:32:32 ET