March 1, 1999
Game Data: Tulane (12-14, 6-10 C-USA) opens the 1999 Ohio Casualty Group Conference USA Championship as the tournament's No. 11 seed . . . The Green Wave enters the postseason riding a two-game win streak, its longest of the season since a three-game streak on Jan. 16-23 . . . Tulane is looking for its first ever C-USA postseason tournament win. The team is 0-3 in three previous appearances.
The Schedule: Here is the schedule of play for the first two rounds of the 1999 Ohio Casualty Group Conference USA Championship in Birmingham, Ala. (All Times CST):
Wednesday, March 3
Game 1: No. 8 Memphis (13-14) vs. No. 9 South Florida (13-13), Noon
Game 2: No. 5 UNC Charlotte (18-10) vs. No. 12 Houston (10-16), 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 6 DePaul (16-11) vs. No. 11 Tulane (12-14), 6 p.m.
Game 4: No. 7 Saint Louis (14-15) vs. No. 10 Marquette (14-14), 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 4
Game 5: No. 1 Cincinnati (25-4) vs. Game 1 Winner, Noon
Game 6: No. 4 Southern Miss (14-15) vs. Game 2 Winner, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7: No. 3 UAB (19-10) vs. Game 3 Winner, 6 p.m.
Game 8: No. 2 Louisville (17-9) vs. Game 4 Winner, 8:30 p.m.
Tulane Head Coach Perry Clark: Perry Clark is in his tenth year as the Green Wave head coach with a record of 165-133 (.554). Clark has guided Tulane to five 20-win seasons, six postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 3 NIT) and the Metro Conference championship in 1992. He was the 1992 National Coach of the Year and a two time Metro Conference Coach of the Year (1991, 1992). Only one other coach in school history has more wins or a longer tenure. He is assisted by Julius Smith, Greg Gary and Kim Lewis. Clark is 2-9 in postseason conference tournaments and 3-1 against first round opponent DePaul.
The DePaul Series: The first round match-up between Tulane and DePaul is the fifth meeting of the series with Tulane holding a 3-1 advantage. The Blue Demons won the only meeting this season, 87-79, on Jan. 30 in Fogelman Arena. Tulane is 1-1 in series games in New Orleans, 2-0 in Chicago and 0-0 in neutral-site games. See page 87 in the Tulane media guide for more series information.
The 80-Point Plateau: Through 26 games of the regular season, no trend is a better indicator of Green Wave success than the 80-point plateau. When scoring at least 80 points, Tulane is a perfect 7-0 on the season.
Finishing Strong: Sophomore Ledaryl Billingsley continues to put up impressive numbers as the season comes to a close. In his last 14 games, Billingsley is averaging 14.1 points and 9.1 rebounds. Those numbers improve to 16.1 points and 10.6 rebounds over his last seven contests. Included in that span are four 20-point games and four double-figure rebounding games. He leads the team with five double-doubles this season. His strong push has propelled him into the top 15 in scoring and the top five in rebounding in league play.
Coming From Behind: For the fourth time this season, Tulane was able to erase a halftime deficit and pick up a win. Last Saturday, Tulane held South Florida to just eight second-half field goals in regulation to wipe out an 11-point halftime deficit. It was the Wave's second straight win when trailing at the break.
Passing It Around: Waitari Marsh currently leads the team with a 3.5 assists per game average. In the win over USF last Saturday, the freshman guard from Chicago tallied eight assists, marking the eighth time this season he has totaled at least five assists in a game. Earlier this season, Marsh set a C-USA freshman record with 11 assists against DePaul.
Balanced Attack: The Tulane attack has been a balanced one this season, as eight players have scored at least 100 points. Additionally, seven of the 12 players on the roster are averaging at least 20 minutes per game. Only one other C-USA team (Southern Miss) has more players averaging 20 minutes per game. Incidentally, the eight players with at least 100 points this season is the third-most in school history. Last season's team set the record with 11.
Nearing the Century Mark: Sophomore Byron Mouton is just three treys shy of reaching 100 for his career. If he sinks three during the tournament, he would become only the fifth player in Tulane history to do so. Incidentally, his first three-point attempt in the championship will be the 300th of his career.
Chart Toppers: Heading into the C-USA Championship, Tulane leads the league with a 10.5 steals per game average. Tulane has collected at least 10 steals in a game 13 times this season. Individually, Waitari Marsh's 2.2 steals per game average leads the club and ranks third in the league.
300 Games: If Tulane wins its opening game vs. DePaul, the quarterfinal match-up with No. 3 seed UAB would be the 300th game for Perry Clark as the Tulane head coach.
Opening Night Jitters: Tulane is looking for its first Conference USA tournament win in its fourth appearance. Such a win would buck a trend of first game defeats for the Wave. In the nine previous conference tournament appearances under Perry Clark, the team has won its opening game just twice (1992, 1995). In 40 previous tournament appearances, Tulane has lost its first game 28 times.
Toeing the Line: Tulane has done a good job of getting to the line this season, averaging 24.5 free throw attempts per game. The Wave has made at least 20 charity tosses in a game seven times this season and posted at least a 10-point scoring advantage from the line on five occasions this year.
Four In Wins: Although it took two overtime periods, Tulane was able to place four players in double figures for the second consecutive game in the win at USF. The Green Wave is 7-1 this season when at least four players finish in double digits.
It's Good to Have Him Back: The Tulane backcourt got a much needed boost when point guard Marlo Miles was reinstated to the team prior to its Feb. 21 game at N.C. State. On academic probation since Jan. 7, Miles was averaging 6.1 points and 2.5 assists in the first 10 games of the season. Miles made his presence known in the USF game when his trey at the buzzer in regulation sent the game into overtime. It was his only field goal of the game.
In Double Figures: Led by Ledaryl Billingsley, 10 of the 12 players on the Tulane roster have at least one double-figure scoring game this season. Billingsley leads the team with 15, while Sterling Davis (14), Byron Mouton (14) and Dylan Osean (11) all have at least 11. On the rebounding side, the Wave has six double-figure efforts. Billingsley has five, while Davis has the other.
Getting Offensive: Tulane has excelled on the offensive glass this season. The Wave held a 16-5 advantage on the offensive boards in Saturday's win, the fifth time this season that the team has posted +10 rebounding margin on the offensive end. Tulane is averaging 16.3 offensive boards in conference play and has grabbed at least 20 offensive rebounds in a game six times this season.
A Positive Ratio: As another measuring stick for improved play, four Tulane players have a positive assist-turnover ratio this season (Marsh, Mason, Miles, Osean), as compared to just one last year. Incidentally, no Wave player last year compiled as many assists as Marsh's 90 or Mason's 66 this season.
Reaching 90: It's been 52 games since Tulane last scored at least 90 points, dating back to Nov. 29, 1997. If the Green Wave fails to reach 90 points this season, it would mark the first time since 1984-85 that the team failed to accomplish the feat.
On the Glass:
Bolstered by a season-high 36 defensive rebounds in last Saturday's double overtime win at South Florida, Tulane was able to outrebound the Bulls, 52-34. The +18 rebound margin was the largest of the season and was the fourth time this year Tulane grabbed at least 10 more boards than the opposition. It was also the Green Wave's second 50+ rebound effort of the season.