#140 Tulsa Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricane
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #140
Conference Rank: #8 American
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Before the season was cut short, Tulsa looked like they had an outside shot at making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid. The Golden Hurricane had wins over Houston, Wichita State and Memphis, though they would have needed a deep AAC Tournament run to have a realistic chance at earning a bid. In any event, Tulsa ultimately exceeded expectations last season and will look to do the same in 2020-21. Two of their top three scorers have departed though, so duplicating last season’s success won’t be easy. 

2019-20 Record: 21-10, 13-5
Coach: Frank Haith
Coach Record: 116-76 at Tulsa, 321-205 overall
Key Departed Players:
Martins Igbanu, Forward, 13.6 ppg
Jeriah Horne, Forward, 11.1 ppg
Lawson Korita, Guard, 7.0 ppg
Isaiah Hill, Guard, 4.2 ppg
Reggie Jones, Forward, 3.8 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Brandon Rachal, Senior, Forward, 12.1 ppg

Darien Jackson, Senior, Guard, 7.9 ppg
Elijah Joiner, Senior, Guard, 7.3 ppg
Emmanuel Ugboh, Senior, Center, 1.7 ppg
Josh Earley, Sophomore, Forward, 1.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Keyshawn Embery-Simpson, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Arkansas
Curtis Haywood, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Georgia Tech
Austin Richie, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Junior College
Christian Shumate, Freshman, Forward
Peyton Urbancic, Freshman, Guard
Keshawn Williams, Freshman, Guard
Senior forward Brandon Rachal is the lone returning double-digit scorer from last season. Rachal averaged 12.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.5 steals as a junior. With Martins Igbanu and Jeriah Horne gone, Rachal could have an all-conference season as a senior. Senior guards Darien Jackson and Elijah Joiner are the only other two major contributors returning from last season. The backcourt will be in solid hands as both players averaged 7+ points, 3+ rebounds and 2+ assists per game last year. The Golden Hurricane’s depth will be the biggest concern heading into this season. Emmanuel Ugboh and Josh Earley are the only other returners from last season and neither played more than eight minutes per contest. Tulsa will need redshirt transfers Curtis Haywood and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson to make immediate impacts. Haywood played two seasons at Georgia Tech and averaged 5.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals as a sophomore. Embery-Simpson, a former four-star recruit, played one season at Arkansas where he averaged 4.1 points per game. Austin Richie should also be relied upon as a junior college transfer. Richie was an NJCAA Third-Team All-American who averaged 16.4 points and 4.5 rebounds at Triton College last season. Tulsa also brings in three true freshmen, though none of them have strong recruiting profiles. Tulsa became a dark horse contender in the AAC last season behind their smothering defense and that will likely be their recipe again in 2020-21 as the roster appears to be lacking in reliable scoring options.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.8 (273rd in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.5 (29, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (164, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (27, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (293, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.2 (237, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.8 (182, 7)
Rebound Margin: 0.2 (176, 9)
Assists Per Game: 12.6 (219, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (204, 6)