#44 Tulsa Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #44
Conference Rank: #3 American

Tulsa Team Page#44 Tulsa Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Tulsa Basketball Tickets

Tulsa just keeps on winning. After losing Coach Danny Manning and moving to the American Athletic Conference, the expectations for the Golden Hurricane were quite low last season. But Coach Frank Haith had his new team ready to play. They started AAC play 10-0 and had a shot at winning the regular season title heading into the final game of the regular season. Even when all was said and done, the NCAA Tournament seemed like a longshot, but Tulsa went to the NIT as a two seed and made it to the second round. Even if last year was the high water mark for Tulsa, this team will be shooting for the NCAA Tournament in 2016. With just about everybody back, including the top eight scorers, Coach Haith is poised to compete for an AAC title once again.

2014-15 Record: 24-11, 14-4
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Frank Haith
Coach Record: 23-11 at Tulsa, 228-140 overall

Who’s Out:
Stevie Repichowski is the lone player lost. In 22 games as a sophomore, he averaged just 4.5 minutes per game. Repichowski could have emerged as a solid shooter off of the bench, but he will get more playing time at Nicholls State.

Who’s In:
Transfers Corey Haith and Pat Birt add more experience to an already experienced team. Birt, a 6-5 wing, has a shot at cracking the regular rotation. He spent one season at Illinois-Chicago where he averaged 6.3 points per game as a freshman. After another season at the junior college ranks, Birt has the experience to be an impact player. Kajon Brown and Sterling Tapin are the only incoming freshmen. Both have a great future at Tulsa, but there is not much need for either in 2015-2016. Tapin, a 6-1 point guard, will be a dangerous scorer sooner or later, but for now his defense could earn him minutes.

Who to Watch:
Tulsa had seven players who averaged at least 16 minutes per game last season and all are back. James Woodard will lead the way once again after averaging 14.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. The senior guard has been underrated for years, but did earn first-team all-AAC honors last year. This year he will get some national recognition. The story could be the same for Shaquille Harrison. The point guard is not a shooter like Woodard, but he attacks the basket with ease and can set up his teammates extremely effectively. Harrison averaged 13.1 points and 3.7 assists last season and a lot of those points will come from the charity stripe. Marquel Curtis has been a reliable guard, but his shot was just not falling last season. Rashad Ray is a dangerous scorer off of the bench. Along with Woodard, he was the only player on the team to shoot consistently from long range. Wing Rashad Smith saw his scoring production drop last season, but he still averaged 8.4 points and 6.0 rebounds. D’Andre Wright is the traditional big man in the starting five and he is a decent scorer, but reserve forward Brandon Swannegan is the defensive presence in the paint.

Final Projection:
If Tulsa is going to make the NCAA Tournament any time soon, this will be the year. The entire rotation, whether it be eight players with TK Edogi joining the mix or nine with Birt, are upperclassmen. The entire starting five are seniors. This is a team that was learning a new system last season and did extremely well despite that fact. With a year of getting used to the system, Tulsa will be in the NCAA Tournament picture come March.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Shaquille Harrison, Senior, Guard, 13.1 points per game
James Woodard, Senior, Guard, 14.5 points per game
Marquel Curtis, Senior, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Rashad Smith, Senior, Forward, 8.4 points per game
D’Andre Wright, Senior, Forward, 7.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.4 (251st in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.7 (39, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.6 (267, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.3 (26, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (253, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (266, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.9 (311, 9)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (105, 4)
Assists Per Game: 11.0 (279, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (70, 2)


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