Skip to content

NCAA Tournament Primer: Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Mar 15, 2014, 2:16 PM EDT

AP Photo AP Photo

Get to know all of the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids here.

Conference: Conference USA

Coach: Danny Manning

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

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 76
– RPI: 81
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: Louisiana Tech was a No. 12 seed in Dave Ommen’s latest bracket projection, and Tulsa should end up being somewhere in that No. 12-13 seed range as well.

Names you need to know: James Woodard (15.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Rashad Smith (12.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Shaquille Harrison (9.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg)

Stats you need to know: Conference USA isn’t a great league this season, but they do have a couple of really good defensive teams, and the Golden Hurricane are as good as anyone in the conference. In fact, they rank 36th nationally in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, which slots them in front of Michigan, Kansas, Wisconsin and Iowa State. The concern, however, is that Tulsa can’t shoot. They shot 30.0% from three in CUSA play and were 270th nationally from beyond the arc this season.

Tendencies: Tulsa doesn’t force a lot of turnovers and they’re not going to block a lot of shots, it’s just a fundamental, positional defense that forces tough shots and cleans the defensive glass. That’s promising, because smaller conference teams that rely on size and/or athleticism defensively are usually in for a rude awakening when they run into high-major athletes.

Offensively, Tulsa relies on their talented perimeter players to get to the rim and draw fouls. They have a high free throws rate and get a lot of clean looks around the rim despite not having great low-post scoring options. James Woodard, the older brother of Oklahoma point guard Jordan Woodard, is the best of the bunch, a 6-foot-3 lefty that as a knack for sliding through defenses.

Big wins, bad losses: The Golden Hurricane have five top 100 wins, including a top 50 win over Southern Miss, but they also have lost five games to teams with RPIs below 147, including a sweep at the hands of TCU.

How’d they get here?: Tulsa lost their first four games of the season, six of their first seven and entered the 2014 calendar year with a 4-9 record. But they ended the season winning their last 11 games.

Outlook: The Golden Hurricane are good enough defensively that they should be able to compete with any team on the No. 4 or No. 5 seed line. The issue will be whether or not they are able to score enough. If they can luck into a draw where they square off with someone like Duke or Creighton, a team not known for their defense, Tulsa might have a shot at pulling an upset.

The outlook for the program is terrific, however. Tulsa’s top six players right now are all sophomores.

How do I know you?: Tulsa was one of the best mid-major programs in the country a decade ago, making eight tournaments between 1994 and 2003, making it out of the first round seven times, three Sweet 16s and one Elite 8. But this will be their first trip to the Big Dance in 11 years.

Oh, and should I mention that their head coach just so happens to be Danny Manning? He may the next in a long line of coaches that springboarded their career with the program.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Mark Tollefs0n transfers to Arizona, eligible immediately

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:51 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Kaleb Tarczewski decided to return to Arizona earlier in the day.

  2. Duke raises 2015 national championship banner (VIDEO)

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 8.03.53 PM

    The fifth banner is now hanging in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

  3. DePaul loses junior guard, incoming recruit

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:56 PM EDT

    AP AP

    DePaul lost a junior guard and a three-star forward (for the second time) on Friday evening.

  4. Shannon Evans transfers to Arizona State, reunites with Bobby Hurley

    Apr 24, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The second team All-MAC guard will have two years of eligibility left.

  5. Florida forward Chris Walker officially entering NBA Draft

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:35 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Walker’s career didn’t pan out the way anyone expected, but he’s headed to the pro game after two seasons.

  6. 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Who’s going pro? Who’s returning to school? Who are we still waiting to hear from?

  7. Providence announces return of point guard Kris Dunn for 2015-16 season

    Apr 24, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    A roster that will be both young and talented returns its leader as Dunn will be back for another season.

  8. Five-star guard Malik Newman commits to Mississippi State

    Apr 24, 2015, 1:14 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    It was reported earlier this week that Newman would be headed to Starkville, and he made it official Friday afternoon.

  9. Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski announces return for senior season

    Apr 24, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The return of “Zeus” means that Arizona will have one returning starter from last year’s 34-4 team.

  10. UPDATED: 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings

    Apr 24, 2015, 12:16 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The return of Buddy Hield pushes previously unranked Oklahoma into our way too early rankings.

  11. Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield returning for senior season

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:34 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year has some unfinished business to attend to next season.

  12. Kentucky forward Alex Poythress returning for senior season

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Poythress played in eight games before suffering a torn ACL in practice.

  13. Former Coppin State guard headed to Pittsburgh for final season

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Sterling Smith averaged 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game at Coppin State last season.

  14. Louisiana forward Shawn Long to return for senior season

    Apr 23, 2015, 9:22 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Long averaged a double-double for the third consecutive season in 2014-15. He’ll hang around to make a run at a fourth.

  15. Arizona forward Stanley Johnson enters 2015 NBA Draft

    Apr 23, 2015, 8:01 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Johnson led the Wildcats in scoring last season while also averaging 6.5 rebounds per contest.

  16. Former George Mason signee becomes Minnesota’s sixth 2015 addition

    Apr 23, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Minnesota had a need for added depth on the wing, and the addition of Ahmad Gilbert helps in that regard.

  17. VCU lands former Oral Roberts guard Korey Billbury

    Apr 23, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    A second team All-Summit League selection last season, Billbury will be eligible immediately for VCU.

  18. California guard Tyrone Wallace to return for senior season

    Apr 23, 2015, 4:05 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Wallace led the Golden Bears in points, rebounds and assists last season.