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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 13, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Don Haskins Center (12,222) -- El Paso, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Tulane 12-6, Tulsa 11-3. Away Record: Tulane 4-6, Tulsa 6-7. Neutral Record: Tulane 1-3, Tulsa 1-2. Conference Record: Tulane 8-8, Tulsa 13-3. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 11-5.
GAME NOTES: The seventh-seeded Tulane Green Wave will try to continue their momentum into the quarterfinals as they take on the No. 2 Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the Conference USA Tournament at the Don Haskins Center.
The winner of this game will advance to take on the victor of the matchup between Old Dominion and Middle Tennessee.
After earning a bye into the second round, Tulane was tested on Wednesday by the 10th-seeded North Texas Mean Green. The Green Wave trailed, 32-21, at halftime and faced a 13-point deficit in the second half, but rallied to down North Texas, 66-61, behind a 21-point effort from Jonathan Stark. Coach Ed Conroy's team will now try to pull off its first upset in conference play of the campaign having gone 0-7 versus the six schools ahead of it in the final standings during the regular season. The Green Wave will have a great chance of advancing if they manage to stay hot offensively. Tulane shot 48.9 percent from the floor, including a 9-of-17 clip from 3-point range versus the Mean Green, who were held just under 40 percent from the field.
Coach Danny Manning's Golden Hurricane will be the first of the four co- regular season league champions to take the floor of the Don Haskins Center for the C-USA Tournament. Tulsa has come a long way since its 4-9 start to the season. It is the hottest team in the C-USA entering the postseason with eight consecutive victories, five of which came on the road. As a result, the second-year head coach and Kansas Jayhawk legend was named the C-USA Coach of the Year. The Golden Hurricane are very balanced, ranking third in the league in scoring offense (73.2 ppg) along with sixth in scoring defense (68.2 ppg). Tulsa drastically improved on the defensive end as it allowed 75 ppg on 43.7 percent efficiency from the floor in its first 17 games compared to only 59.2 ppg on 37 percent shooting from the field over its last 13.
This is the 17th meeting between Tulsa and Tulane. Tulsa leads the series, 11-5. The Golden Hurricane has won seven of the last eight meetings, including the 97-71 rout of the Green Wave on Jan. 9 in Tulsa.
Although Stark, who was an C-USA All Freshman team selection, led the way on Wednesday, sophomore guard Louis Dabney is normally the first option for Tulane on the offensive end with an average of 15.5 ppg. Dabney's post-season debut was forgettable as he finished 2-of-6 from the field for six points, which he accompanied with five of the team's 14 turnovers. Junior guard Jay Hook added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Trey Drye pulled down 11 boards and finished one point shy of a double-double. Stark and Hook check in with 14.4 and 13.8 ppg, respectively, but the Green Wave clearly lack a reliable low-post presence. Stark also hands out a team-high 4.3 apg and the 6-foot-6 Drye (6.7 ppg) leads the squad on the glass with 7.5 rpg.
Despite being one of the four C-USA regular season champions, sophomore guard James Woodard was the only member of Tulsa's roster to receive all-conference accolades. Woodard, who was a second-team selection, spearheads the charge for the Golden Hurricane with 14.9 ppg and six rpg, while sophomore forward Rashad Smith adds 12 points and five rebounds per tilt. Although sophomore guard Shaquille Harrison is clearly not a dangerous threat from 3-point range (8- of-28), he has managed to contribute 10.1 ppg and a team-best 3.5 apg. Tulsa will be without Pat Swilling Jr. (8.6 ppg) the rest of the way, leaving Tim Peete (5.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg) as the only senior in the rotation.
Tulsa's sophomore trio may not be ready to lead the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA Tournament, but they should have no trouble powering past the Green Wave, who are playing their second game in as many days. Manning's squad has done an excellent job of frustrating its opposition's attack in recent action. Tulane will have to overcome fatigue and continue to knock down shots from behind the 3-point line to have a chance of an upset.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 72, Tulane 57
03/13 10:34:26 ET
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