Tulsa 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes -Conference USA (24-10, 12-4)
Seed: #4 - Auburn Region
Big Wins: 11/28 vs Texas A&M (67-56), 1/24 at UTEP (78-70), 3/13 UAB (70-67)
Bad Losses: 12/3 at Ohio (63-75), 1/21 at Tulane (75-76), 2/14 at UCF (72-74)
Coach: Doug Wojcik
Probable Tulsa Starters:
Ben Uzoh, Junior, Guard, 14.0 ppg, 3.6 apg, 4.7 rpg
Justin Hurtt, Sophomore, Guard, 9.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Ray Reese, Senior, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.4 apg
Bishop Wheatley, Junior, Forward, 4.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Jerome Jordan, Junior, Center, 14.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.6 bpg
Key Tulsa Roleplayers:
Glenn Andrews, Sophomore, Guard, 7.1 ppg, 1.4 apg
Steven Idlet, Freshman, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Sam Mitchell, Senior, Center, 2.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Joe Richard, Freshman, Forward, 1.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Why The Golden Hurricanes Can Surprise:
Tulsa has been winning games this year with their defense. The group on the perimeter deserves plenty of credit since the opposition shoots a measly 26.9 percent from three-point territory, but it is the players in the frontcourt that make this defense so stingy. Jerome Jordan, a 7-0 center, is a superb shot blocker and just about everybody should be afraid to drive the lane when Jordan is waiting there. Jordan is more than simply a shot blocker, he has developed into a superb scorer in the paint and spearheads Tulsa’s superb rebounding effort.
Jordan is not the only frontcourt player who is having a productive campaign. Ray Reese and Bishop Wheatley do not have the size of Jordan, but they are productive players. Reese, a 6-5 senior, does not hang out in the paint too often, but he will knock down some long balls and hit the glass. With Steven Idlet and Sam Mitchell, who are 6-10 and 6-9, ready to come in off the bench, the Golden Hurricane have plenty of depth and talent in the paint.
Why The Golden Hurricanes Can Disappoint:
Because they have to wait for their big men to get down the floor, Tulsa does not push the tempo. And for a team that does not run, they do commit too many turnovers. Ben Uzoh is a terrific scorer, a solid rebounding guard, a great defender and solid passer. However, the turnover numbers are a little high. Uzoh is not the only one who turns the ball over, but it is his job to keep the offense moving efficiently.
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Who To Watch:
Uzoh and Jordan will do most of the scoring, but the Golden Hurricane need some production from guards Justin Hurtt and Glenn Andrews. Hurtt has worked his way into the starting lineup and has emerged as the team’s third best scoring option. He is the team’s most efficient shooter from beyond the arc and has come on strong late in the year. Even if he is not starting, Hurtt will give Coach Doug Wojcik an offensive spark off of the bench. As Hurtt has been more productive, Andrews numbers have gotten worse. Andrews will depend on his outside shooting a little too much and he has been very inconsistent with his jump shot this season. However, the 6-3 sophomore can use his size and speed to finish around the basket when he is not forcing up three-pointers.
Tulsa By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.7 (169th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.1 (34, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.6 (85, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.9 (13, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (247, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.0 (164, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.4 (146, 8)
Rebound Margin: 6.3 (19, 1)
Assists Per Game: 11.0 (292, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.9 (172, 10)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Northwestern
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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