#48 Tulsa Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #48
Conference Rank: #4 American

Tulsa Team Page#48 Tulsa Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Tulsa Basketball Tickets

Tulsa won 11 straight games heading into the NCAA Tournament. Of course that included a Conference USA tournament title and an automatic bid to the tournament, where the Golden Hurricane fell in the Round of 64 to UCLA. On the court, Tulsa returns a lot of talent, but there are major changes around the program. Danny Manning left after just two years to take the Wake Forest job and Coach Frank Haith is taking over the program. The former Mizzou head man likes to run small teams and play tough defense. This program and this team are a great fit for that. Tulsa is also moving to the AAC, where the competition will be much tougher with the likes of Cincinnati, Connecticut and Memphis coming to town.

2013-14 Record: 21-13, 13-3
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Frank Haith
Coach Record: 0-0 at Tulsa, 205-129 overall

Who’s Out:
Tim Peete is the only full-time starter lost. The versatile wing was never much of a scorer, but he did much of the dirty work and averaged 5.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals. Pat Swilling was a good scorer at times, but the Golden Hurricanes played without him throughout their impressive February and March run. The other departure is Lew Evans, a talented big man who opted to transfer to Utah State. He had his moments scoring the basketball and was always a tough rebounder.

Who’s In:
Not surprisingly, Coach Haith added some size on the wing. That is his style, and depth at those spots is huge. Micah Littlejohn is a 6-6 wing and Keondre Dew is 6-8. Littlejohn and Dew will not be needed to make major contributions as freshman, but both are long and lanky wings who can use their length to play good defense. And if they are playing good defense, Coach Haith will find minutes for them. Redshirt freshman Emmanuel Ezechinoso will add depth in the paint after sitting on the sidelines last year. At 6-11 and 267 pounds, he is by far the biggest guy on the roster and there should be a few minutes for Ezechinoso if he is ready.

Who to Watch:
Eight players are back with some experience though and Coach Haith will look to his experienced players first. It starts with James Woodard, a 6-3 junior who led the team with 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds during the 2013-2014 campaign. The new feel of this team will need guards who can rebound and Woodard certainly fits the bill. There are not many shooting options on this team so Woodard will have to carry the load in that department. Shaquille Harrison will again join Woodard in the backcourt. Harris is not much of a shooter, but he still averaged 9.6 points per game and led Tulsa with 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals. Other options in the backcourt include Rashad Ray, Stevie Repichowski and Marquel Curtis. Ray is a little guy who provides a nice spark off of the bench. Repichowski is a decent outside shooter and could see a big boost in production during his sophomore season if his shot is falling consistently. Curtis played in just nine games last season before an injury ended his year. The transfer from Williston State College did show plenty of promise though and earned Second-Team NJCAA All-America honors back 2011-2012. The returning options in the frontcourt are Rashad Smith, D’Andre Wright and Brandon Swannegan. Smith, a 6-7 junior, ranked second on the team with 12.0 points per game and is a very tough interior scorer. D’Andre Wright had a bit of sophomore slump, but is a tough interior player. Swannegan, a 6-9, 209 pound junior, will not do much scoring, but is a good shot blocker who can eat up some minutes as needed.

Final Projection:
Coach Haith is a great fit for this program and a great choice to lead this team into the American Athletic Conference. This team already has the athletic wings he needs to compete at that level of competition and Coach Haith knows how to get the best out of his team. Having all of that talent back from a team that finished very strong certainly does not hurt either. As long as the defense can keep up the intensity that the new staff wants, this group can compete in their new conference and battle for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Shaquille Harrison, Junior, Guard, 9.6 points per game
James Woodard, Junior, Guard, 15.5 points per game
Marquel Curtis, Junior, Guard, 2.9 points per game
Rashad Smith, Junior, Forward, 12.0 points per game
D’Andre Wright, Junior, Forward, 7.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.7 (115th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.6 (108, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (187, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.5 (37, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (207, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.7 (236, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.6 (250, 8)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (174, 11)
Assists Per Game: 12.6 (178, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.6 (105, 2)


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