The No. 2 seed Tulsa men's basketball team opens the American Athletic Conference Championship at 6 p.m. CT Friday with a quarterfinal matchup against the Tulane-Houston winner. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
The Golden Hurricane (21-9, 14-4 American) enters the conference tournament as winners of 16 of its last 20 games, but will look to get back on the winning track after dropping two in a row, including a 67-62 defeat at SMU Sunday. The Hurricane swept the season series against both Tulane and Houston. The No. 7 seed Green Wave is 14-15 overall and went 5-11 in league play, while the No. 10 seed Cougars are 12-18, 4-14 entering the postseason.
NO. 2 TULSA (21-9, 14-4 American) vs. NO. 7 TULANE (14-15, 5-11)/NO. 10 HOUSTON (12-18, 4-14)
Friday, March 13, 2015 • 6:01 p.m. • XL Center (16,294)
TV: ESPNU (Mike Patrick and Len Elmore)
Radio: News 102.3 and AM 740 KRMG and the Golden Hurricane Radio Network (Bruce Howard and Rick Couri)
Tulsa: Frank Haith (Elon '88)
Career Record: 226-138 (11th year) Record at Tulsa: 21-9 (first year)
Tulane: Ed Conroy (The Citadel, '89)
Career Record: 169-213 (12th year) Record at Tulane: 79-80 (fifth yesr)
Houston: Kelvin Sampson (UNC Pembroke, '78)
Career Record: 512-288 (26th year) Record at Houston: 12-18 (first yesr)
VS. TULANE: This would be the 20th meeting between Tulsa and Tulane. Tulsa leads the series, 14-5. The Golden Hurricane has won five in a row, and 10 of the last 11 meetings, dating back to 2010. Tulsa won twice earlier this season, 62-55 in New Orleans on Jan. 27, and 76-55 in Tulsa on Feb. 25. The Hurricane won twice last year, 97-71 in Tulsa, and 70-49 at the Conference USA Tournament in El Paso, and also won 78-66 in Tulsa in 2013, after the Green Wave won 75-72 in New Orleans earlier that season. Tulane won three in a row from 2007-09. The teams have split two meetings in conference tournaments: Tulane won 58-56 in 2007 in Memphis, and the Hurricane won last season in El Paso.
VS. HOUSTON: This would be the 47th meeting between Tulsa and Houston. Tulsa leads the series, 25-21. The Golden Hurricane has won the last five meetings in the series, including a 72-54 victory in Tulsa on Jan. 4, and a 57-44 win in Houston on Feb. 5. TU won twice in 2012-13 – 87-72 in Houston and 101-92 in triple overtime in Tulsa. The Hurricane also won 72-48 in Tulsa in 2012 after Houston took a 70-69 overtime win in Houston that year, the Cougars' last victory in the series. The teams alternated wins over four games prior to Tulsa's three-game win streak in the series. The schools played 12 times from 2006-13 as members of Conference USA, and the Hurricane won seven of those meetings. The series dates back to 1951 when the Golden Hurricane won 50-45 in Houston and 60-44 in Tulsa. The teams have never met in a conference tournament.
• Tulsa averages 65.2 points and 36.4 rebounds, and a .421 field goal percentage and .331 3-point percentage. TU allows opponents 60.5 points and 34.6 rebounds per game, and a .395 field goal percentage and a .328 3-point shooting percentage.
• Tulsa fell to SMU, 67-62, on Sunday. James Woodard led the Golden Hurricane with 30 points on a school-record 3-pointers. Shaquille Harrison tallied 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
• In conference play, Tulsa outscored opponents by an average of 64.1-58.6. The Hurricane has shot .418 from the field, while holding opponents to a .392 field goal percentage, and has outrebounded opponents by a 35.8-35.3 margin.
• Tulsa has dropped two straight games four times this season. On the three previous occasions, the Hurricane bounced back each time with winning streaks of two games, 12 games and four games.
• Woodard is ranked 18th in Tulsa career scoring with 1,359 points in 96 career games (14.1 average). He also ranks sixth with 178 career 3-pointers.
• Shaquille Harrison ranks seventh with 174 career steals and 11th with 316 assists, and Brandon Swannegan is sixth at TU with 113 career blocks.
• Tulsa has won 20 games for the second straight season, and the 22nd time in program history.
• This is the fourth time Tulsa has won at least 14 conference games. The Hurricane was 15-3 on three previous occasions – 1993-94 and 1994-95 in the Missouri Valley, and 2001-02 in the WAC.
• Tulsa's 21-9 record under first-year head coach Frank Haith is the program's best record through 30 games in a head coach's first season since 2001-02 when TU started 25-5 in John Phillips' first year.
• The Hurricane is 16-0 when leading at halftime, 18-0 when it out-shoots its opponent, and 17-1 when it holds opponents to fewer than 65 points.
• Tulsa is 8-4 on the road this season, including 7-2 in conference play. TU won seven consecutive road games from Dec. 7-Feb. 5.
• TU is 5-2 this season in games decided by five or fewer points.
• Tulsa has held 27 of its 30 opponents this season under 50 percent shooting from the field, and 59 of its last 64 opponents, dating back to last year. TU has also held 14 opponents below 40 percent shooting this season, and three opponents under 40 points in a game.
• As of March 6, Tulsa was ranked No. 47 in the official NCAA RPI. TU holds five top-100 wins – over RPI No. 31 Temple (twice), No. 80 UConn, and No. 81 Memphis (twice). The Hurricane is 5-7 against the RPI top-100 and 2-6 against the RPI top-50.