Tulsa University Golden Hurricane: NCAA Tournament Preview

Golden Hurricane NCAA

A bid to the NCAA tournament looks like a minor miracle for the University of Tulsa when it is taken into account that the team was 1-6 after their first seven games of the season. It seems more logical now after the Golden Hurricane finished up the season on an 11-game winning streak and went 14-2 in their last 16 games. That streak includes three wins in the Conference USA post-season tournament—the semi-finals and finals over two of the top seeds in the tournament, Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. Second-year coach and former Kansas University star Danny Manning is taking the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003.  This team has promise for the future, as the starting five features only one senior and four sophomores.

University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane(13 Seed, South Bracket)

Record: 21-12 (13-3 C-USA)

Coach: Danny Manning

Tournament Berth:  Conference USA automatic bid

Big Wins:  Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Texas Southern

Big Loses:  Wichita State, Creighton, Oklahoma, Maryland

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

James Woodard

15.7

.442

.782

.389

Rashad Smith

12.1

.549

.561

.200

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

James Woodard

5.8

1.5

4.3

0.2

Rashad Smith

4.9

1.9

3.0

0.9

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

Shaquille Harrison

3.2

1.8

2.2

1.5

Rashad Ray

2.4

1.0

1.2

2.1

Starting Five

F – Rashad Smith

F – D’Andre Wright

G – Shaquille Harrison

G – Tim Peete

G – James Woodard

Who’s Hot:  James Woodard, who averaged 15.7 points per game on the season, scored over 23 points per game in the C-USA tournament. As a team, the Golden Hurricane thrives on steals, taking the ball away 7 times per game. They are a good rebounding team, ranked no. 63 at 25.5 per game.

Who’s Not:  The weak points for this Tulsa team are Assists (12.5 per game) and Field Goal Percentage (.442) but they are still not horrible, ranking in the 180s nationally on each.

Outlook:  20 years ago, Tulsa upset UCLA in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and now the two teams square off again. If nothing else, the game will be interesting for the matchup of coaches, with former Kansas star Danny Manning going against former Indiana standout Steve Alford. For the Golden Hurricane, Manning shows signs of returning them to their golden years. The team made the NCAA tournament eight times between 1994 and 2003, but has not been back since. That run included a run to the Elite 8 and two appearances in the Sweet 16. The Golden Hurricane won the Conference USA tournament that included four teams that combined to win over 100 games—Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, UTEP and Middle Tennessee State. This was the last chance for Tulsa in C-USA, as they are committed to play in the American Athletic Conference next year. One of the things that are considered a big factor in being successful in the NCAA tournament is a team’s level of guard play, and that is certainly one of Tulsa’s strengths. James Woodard leads the team in scoring and Shaquille Harrison leads the team in assists.  The Golden Hurricane is the no. 13 seed in the East Region and UCLA is seeded no. 4.  The top three seeds in the region are Florida, Kansas and Syracuse.

Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
@Chuck_pod

Sources:
ESPN
CBS
Yahoo

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