Looking at the game with a short Tulsa squad and it seems like a good match-up for us, particularly because Tulsa can't exploit our lack of height at the 4 position. Zak Irvin is a stocky 6'6" but is usually forced to guard guys a fair bit bigger than himself.
That got me wondering if being undersized at the 4 is something Beilein teams will always struggle with on the defensive end. Given that our main sets are four out one in, Beilein ideally wants a player that's 6'7"+ who can put the ball on the floor and shoot well from outside. However, any player like that is going to be a hot commodity. Project-type guys like Uthoff are tough to predict and the ones that obviously fit the mold (TJ Leaf) make for a tough recruiting pull. Given the rarity of the ideal 4, it seems likely that Beilein will frequently be forced to roll with the less rare 6'5"-6'6" guy who can do the things on offense that his system requires and we'll end up having to pay the price on the defensive end.
Think this will continue to be an issue down the line? Mo Wagner may fit the bill but I'm not seeing anyone else on the squad who has the 4 skills and size to fix the problem once Zak leaves.
- Lost to 5 West Virginia, 84-76
- Beat 6 Georgetown, 74-56
- Beat 3 Purdue, 94-76
- Beat 10 Florida State, 72-71
- Beat 1 Kansas, 71-61
- Lost to 8 Butler, 70-62 (Final Four)
- Lost to 3 Marquette, 88-68
- Beat 5 Temple, 58-44
- Lost to 13 Ohio, 62-56
- Beat 4 Kansas State, 63-61
- Beat 6 Arizona, 76-74
- Lost to 9 Wichita State, 72-58 (Sweet 16)
- Lost to 6 Memphis, 54-52
- Beat 6 UMass, 86-67
- Beat 14 Mercer, 83-63
- Lost to 2 Michigan, 73-71 (Sweet 16)
- Lost to 5 St. Louis, 83-80
- Beat 6 Providence, 66-53
- Lost to 3 Oklahoma, 72-66
- Lost to 6 Xavier, 76-57
Who: Tulsa Golden Hurricane: 20-11 (12-6)
When: Wednesday at 9:10 PM on TruTV
Where: Dayton, OH
RPI Ranking: 61
KenPom Ranking: 58
Neutral Record: 2-3
Road Record: 6-5
Tulsa is coached by former Miami (YTM) and Missouri coach Frank Haith. Haith is in his second year at Tulsa and took the Golden Hurricane to the second round of the NIT. They last made the tournament 2 years ago as 13 seed, losing their first game to UCLA. Haith has made the tourney twice as a coach, which occured in his first two years as Missouri's head coach. Both years Missouri lost in the first round, including as a 2 seed in 2012.
Year in Review
This was Tulsa's second year in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), previously being in the Conference USA. They went 20-11 overall, finishing 5th in the AAC with a 12-6 conference record. Tulsa averages 74 PPG and allows 69.7, both very middling marks nationally.
Tulsa went 8-4 in the non-conference. They had a bad loss to Oral Roberts, who finished 14-17 this year and 7th in the Summit, and beyond that lost to tourney teams Oregon State and Arkansas-Little Rock as well as borderline tourney team South Carolina. Their key non-conference wins were over tourney teams Wichita State and Iona.
In conference, Tulsa split the season series with tourney teams UConn, Cincinnati and Temple, as well as SMU who was ineligible for post-season play. They also lost to Houston and twice to Memphis, including by 22 points in the first round of the AAC tourney.
Tulsa's RPI splits:
vs. RPI Top 25: 1-1 (Both vs SMU)
vs. RPI Top 50: 3-5 (Wins vs UConn, Cinci, @SMU)
vs. RPI Top 100: 8-8
vs. RPI Top 150: 8-11 (Loses to Oral Roberts and Memphis x2 between RPI 100 and 150)
vs. RPI Sub 150: 12-0
Against tournament teams:
Wins: 6 (Wichita State, Iona, UConn, Cinci, Temple, SMU)
Losses: 6 (Oregon State, Arkansas-Lttle Rock, UConn, Cinci, Temple, SMU)
Tulsa has 9 players that average at least 10 MPG (Michigan has 8, with Wagner, Chatman and Wilson all missing this mark) and play generally 10 players a game.
Tulsa's starting 5:
James Woodard: 6'3" SR G, Tulsa's leading scorer at 15.6 PPG, second leading rebounder at 5.2 RPG and second leading assister at 2.4 APG. Woodard has a 42/36/78 FG/3P/FT shooting split.
Shaquille Harrison: 6'4" SR G, Tulsa's second leading scorer (14.8 PPG), leading rebounder (5.5 RPG), leading assist man (4.1 APG), second on team in steals (1.9 SPG), has 46/18/64 shooting split.
Pat Birt: 6'5" JR G, Tulsa's third leading scorer (12.4 PPG), 3.4 RPG and .8 APG, 38/37/74 shooting split.
Brandon Swannegan: 6'9" SR F, 6.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, leading shot blocker at .9 BPG, 58/0/61 shooting split
*Rashad Smith: 6'7" SR F/G, 7.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, .7 SPG, .6 BPG, 53/25/56 shooting split
*Smith started Tulsa's tourney game against Memphis but not the previous 4 games, and missed 3 of them. Info on Tulsa online is light, but it seems like Smith was hurt and just got back healthy for the conference tourney. Starting in his place:
Marquel Curtis: 6'3" SR G, 6.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, .8 SPG, 43/29/67 shooting split (Curtis will probably come off the bench but averages the 4th most minutes on the team, ahead of Swannegan and Smith)
The remaining contributors:
D'Andre Wright: 6'9" SR F, 5.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 48/0/70 shooting split
Rashad Ray: 5'10" SR G, 4.7 PPG, 1.9 APG, leads team in steals at 1 SPG, 36/32/60 shooting split
Sterling Taplin: 6'1" FR G, 2.7 PPG, 41/27/79 shooting split
Tulsa seems to be a very guard oriented team like Michigan, starting 4 guards and 8 of their 10 contributors are guards. They are actually smaller than Michigan, with two 6'9" F's as their tallest regulars and all their guards being 6'5" or smaller.
Unlike Michigan they can't shoot at all. They have only three players shooting above 30% from 3 and no one higher than 37%, compared to 7 for Michigan with 4 above 37%.
Tulsa also seems to be a very senior heavy team, so they will definitely have a lot of experience on the court. Overall I think this matchup bodes well for Michigan, and we should definitely be the favorite to win this game, especially once you consider how bad of a coach Frank Haith really is.
Not sure what the other early lines say, but this one has us -1.5 vs. Tulsa. I also saw on VegasInsider.com that we're a 150-to-1 bet to win it all.
Thinking of making the drive down Wednesday, does anyone have any experience/idea of when tickets are gonna be cheapest? At the moment, all of the reseller sites (stubhub, etc.) have just a few ridiculously priced tickets. Face value is $30 if you buy nosebleeds from the NCAA, but with a probably pretty low demand, anyone know if there's anywhere cheaper to buy them?
Make your bold, terrible predictions here. Think this will be the first year a 16 seed wins? Have a 9-seed in the final four? Have Michigan winning it all?
Sadly, I picked MSU to win it all in a few brackets already. I'm also jumping on the UConn momentum bandwagon and have them going to the final four.