March 6, 2012
MEMPHIS - Looking to become the first No. 12 seed to win a first-round game in 10 years, the Tulane begins the 2012 Conference USA Men's Basketball Championships against No. 5 seed UAB on Wednesday at 9 p.m. CST in the FedEx Forum.
The Green Wave (15-15, 3-13 C-USA) has dropped seven straight games and closed out the regular season on Saturday with a, 66-49, loss to East Carolina at home.
UAB (14-15, 9-7 C-USA) saw their four game winning streak snapped by UCF on Saturday and dropped to the fifth seed.
"The great things about college basketball are the tournaments and the opportunities you have when you head into tournaments in March," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "I know our guys are looking forward to it. We have a chance to do something special like everybody else in the league does and go after the Conference USA title."
Ricky Tarrant, the C-USA Freshman of the Year and first-team all-conference selection, leads Tulane into their second meeting with the Blazers this season. Tarrant is averaging 15.2 points per game, including a 33-point performance at UAB back on Feb. 18.
UAB is led Cameron Moore, the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference selection, with 16.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Moore had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting against Tulane.
"We had a heck of a battle with UAB at their place," Conroy said. "It was a close game at halftime and we had a little lull to start the second half, but really finished the game in an aggressive mode with a lot of energy and attacking. We need to do that for 40 minutes, start the game and complete the game that way. They are a very talented team with one of the best players in the league with Cameron Moore. Really over the last nine or 10 games they have played really well."
UAB won the Feb. 18 meeting, 81-73, after leading by three at halftime and opening up a 17-point second half lead before Tulane battled back to pull within three.
This will be just the second meeting in the conference tournament between the two charter members on C-USA. UAB won the previous meeting, 72-70, in the quarterfinals on the 1997 tournament in St. Louis. Tulane owns a 7-16 record in the 16-year history of the championship and is 1-6 as the 12th seed, 5-7 in the first round and 4-5 in tournament games played in FedEx Forum. The Green Wave won the opening round game the last time Memphis hosted in 2009.
The winner of Wednesday's game will face No. 4 seed UCF in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 9 p.m. CT.
Tulane probable starters
G 2 Ricky Tarrant 6-1 180 Fr. 15.2 ppg 3.6 rpg 3.3 apg
G 3 Trent Rogers 6-3 170 Sr. 3.9 ppg 1.6 rpg 2.3 apg
G 5 Jordan Callahan 6-0 190 Jr. 11.8 ppg 3.0 rpg 2.2 apg
F 00 Josh Davis 6-8 215 So. 10.9 ppg 9.4 rpg 2.3 apg
F 20 Kevin Thomas 6-9 225 So. 2.4 ppg 1.8 rpg 57.1 FG%