As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 21-12, 13-3 in Conference-USA
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 105.2 (162nd) / 96.1 (26th)
Seed: No. 13 in South
Impact player: James Woodard: 15.7 PPG, 5.8 RBG, 1.8 APG, .389 3PT PCT
The Case For:
The Golden Hurricane ripped through the second half of their Conference USA schedule, ending the year on an 11-game win streak and with a league-tourney crown in hand. Much of Tulsa’s success comes courtesy of solid defense; it allowed teams to shoot only 40.3 percent from the field this year, second in C-USA. Overall, KenPom ranks Tulsa’s adjusted defensive efficiency (96.0) 26th in the country.
Despite its lengthy winning streak, the Hurricane's 100th-ranked strength of schedule raises the question of what types of teams they could beat on a big stage. Moreover, what happens if Tulsa faces off against a stellar rebounding squad? The Golden Hurricane boasted a mere +0.6 rebounding margin this season, and its offensive rebounding percentage is only .301. A physical post game could be a tough matchup for Tulsa.
SI Prediction: Lose to UCLA in second roundView complete bracket predictions from SI.com’s panel of experts