Former Kansas University basketball standout and assistant coach Danny Manning has led the Tulsa Golden Hurricane back to the NCAA Tournament in just his second year in charge of the program.
Manning and Tulsa, which punched their ticket to the Big Dance with a 69-60 victory over Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA title game in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, followed up their regular season C-USA title with the conference title to earn the tournament berth.
Building a program
In 2013, the Journal-World's Matt Tait went down to Tulsa, Okla., to get an inside look at the approach Danny Manning was taking to rebuild the Tulsa program. Here's a look back at that story...
Manning, who also has former Jayhawks Brett Ballard and Steve Woodberry on his coaching staff, guided the Golden Hurricane to a 21-12 season, which included a 13-3 mark in conference play, which earned them a share of the regular season title.
Tulsa prevailed in Saturday's title game with a dominating defensive performance in the second half. After leading by a point at halftime, LA Tech was outscored 35-25 in the second half, when the Golden Hurricane held the Bulldogs to just 31 percent shooting.
The victory was the 11th straight for Tulsa, which has not lost since falling to LA Tech, 66-61, at home on Feb. 6.
Five of the key players in Tulsa's rotation are sophomores and the roster includes just four players who are either seniors or juniors. This season, Tulsa ranked 108th in the NCAA in scoring (72.3 ppg), 99th in rebounding (36.3 rpg), 161st in assists (12.8 apg) and 177th in field goal percentage (44.2).
As of Saturday morning, ESPN.com Bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Louisiana Tech in the field as a projected 12 seed. Tech will not make it, so it's likely that Tulsa will slide into that spot in Lunardi's next update.
Tulsa will find out its seeding and NCAA Tourney match-up on Sunday along with the rest of the country, but Manning and crew can rest easy tonight knowing they'll be one of the 68 teams included in this year's field.