Conference USA Tournament: Finals Preview & Comment Thread

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sp

The top four seeds made the final four, now the top two battle for the crown, Tulsa versus La. Tech gets under 9:30 am Mountain Time on Glory Road.

With their win last night, Tulsa has now won ten straight, but who was their last loss? The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

After a wild, vacuum sealed race for the top four seeds of a regular season, Saturday morning's tournament final will cap off a solid season, and underrated of Conference USA Basketball.

James Woodard scored 19 points in the semi-final win against Middle Tennessee, making it 25 straight games he has scored in double figures. Woodard is averaging 20 points in his last four games.

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane improved to 20-12 on the season, after a 1-6 start, marking their first 20 win season since the 2009-10 campaign, and the 19th time since the 1980-81 season.

The last time Tulsa won a conference tournament was in the WAC in 2003, today marks the third appearance in C-USA tournament final, first since losing in back-to-back season in 2008, and 2009 to Memphis.

Kenneth Smith was huge against Southern Miss., recording a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists, making 15 out of his last 15 games he has had at least 8 assists.

Alex Hamilton continues to fill the hole missing by the rehabbing Raheem Appleby, canning a career high four three pointers and leading La. Tech in scoring once again, making nine wins in their last games.

La. Tech has scored 50 second half points for the second straight night, and are 24-0 when leading after halftime.

Defense has been the forte for most of the year, everybody has great hands 1-5, and are 22-0 when they force 15 turnovers or more.

The Bulldogs can also shoot the three, though take very smart tries, and have hit 10 three pointers seven times this season.

People in Ruston are rooting for their first conference tournament title since 1991, last time the Bulldogs were in a tournament final, NMSU knocked them off 82-57 in Michael White's first year at Tech.

La Tech's stats just jump right at you with production, but so does Tulsa's defense.

Hot meets, hottest, should be an epic battle.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Current Record: 20-12, 13-3

Projected Starters:

James Woodard,So, G, 15.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Shaquille Harrison, So, G, 10.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg

Tim Peete, Sr, G., 6.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg

D'Andre Wright, So, F, 7.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg

Rashad Smith, So, F, 11.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg

Team Stats

Points Per Game 73.2
Opponents 67.6
FG% .442
Opponents% .405
3-point% .322
Opponents% .349
Free Throw% .674
Rebounds Per Game 36.2
Rebounding Margin +1.5
Assists Per Game 13.4
Steals Per Game

7.4

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Current Record: 27-6, 13-3

Projected Starters:

Kenneth Smith G, Jr, 7.2 ppg, 7.7 apg

Alex Hamilton, G, So, 14.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Jaron Johnson G, Sr, 9.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Chris Anderson, F, Sr, 12.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg

Michale Kyser, F, Jr, 7.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg

Team Stats
Points Per Game 81.7
Opponents 65.3
FG% .459
Opponents% .409
3-point% .326
Opponents% .295
Free Throw% .675
Rebounds Per Game 39.5
Rebounding Margin +3.3
Assists Per Game 16.2
Steals Per Game

9.3


Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for in depth coverage of the Conference USA tournament, as well as all things UTEP sports. Also, make sure to on Twitter for live updates from the Haskins Center and as always don't forget to like our Facebook Page.

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