When the Badgers take the floor Saturday afternoon in Spokane, Wash., they will be faced with a very stiff challenge in WAC-Champion Tulsa. Like Wisconsin, few "experts" expected much out of the Golden Hurricane during the tournament. This game will be a battle of two underappreciated teams hoping for a bid to the Sweet 16 in Minneapolis.
Here are a few notes to keep in mind about Tulsa, on the eve of Wisconsin's second round game. We will have more in an official game preview later this evening:
- Like Weber State, Tulsa is a team on a major role heading into this game. The Golden Hurricane won the WAC Tournament, after losing in the title game the previous three years. Tulsa has now won eight consecutive games and 11 of its last 12.
- While the WAC doesn't produce teams as tournament-tested as the Big Ten, Tulsa is one team that's proven itself year in and year out in the postseason. The Golden Hurricane has made the Big Dance eight of the last 10 years, 14 times in program history. While the Hurricane didn't make the cut in 2001, they defeated Cal-Irvine, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Memphis and Alabama en route to the NIT Championship.
Tulsa is 9-2 in postseason play over the last three seasons. In 2002, Tulsa knocked off fifth-seeded Marquette before falling to Kentucky in the next round.
- While remaining somewhat under the national radar, Tulsa has developed one of the country's most successful perennial programs. The Golden Hurricane have produced five consecutive 20-win seasons, and they've reached the 20-win plateau 15 of the last 23 years.
- The Golden Hurricane is coached by second-year head man John Phillips, who is 50-16 in his two seasons with Tulsa. Phillips was born and bred in Tulsa, and has already cracked the top 10 list for all-time program wins. Before he was hired in 2001, Phillips spent four seasons as a Hurricane assistant.
- Tulsa starts three seniors, and has one of the msot successful senior classes in school history. The seniors have produced 107 victories for an average of 26.8 wins per season (.769 winning percentage).
- While Tulsa has been a streaky team this season, the current starting lineup of Charlie Davis, Kevin Johnson, Dante Swanson, Jarius Glenn and Jason Parker are 14-2.
- Devin Harris won't be the only guard that likes to attack the boards Saturday afternoon. Senior guard Dante Swanson has nearly 450 career rebounds, averaging about 3.2 per game over his career.
- Swanson and Kevin Johnson are both ranked among Tulsa's top 10 scorers and top 20 rebounders of all time, while Johnson has recorded seven double-doubles this year, giving him 18 for his career.
Up Next: Tulsa Golden Hurricane
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