March 8, 2011
EL PASO - Looking to become the first No. 12 seed to win a first-round game since 2002, the Tulane begins the 2011 Buick Conference USA Men's Basketball Championships against No. 5 seed Southern Miss on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. CST in the Don Haskins Center on the campus of UTEP.
The Green Wave (13-16, 3-13 C-USA) enters the tournament after splitting a pair of conference games last week. Tulane defeated Houston, 80-77, for senior night on Wednesday, but fell in Memphis, 66-61, on Saturday to close out the regular season.
Southern Miss (21-9, 9-7 C-USA) is riding a three-game losing streak entering the tournament and closed out the regular season with a loss at Tulsa on Saturday.
This will be just the second meeting between the two rivals in the C-USA Tournament. The Golden Eagles defeated Tulane, 57-47, in the opening round last season in Tulsa. Overall, this will be the 73rd meeting and the Green Wave holds a 40-32 series lead. USM has won seven of the last eight meetings, including a 67-54 victory in the only meeting this season on Jan. 29 in Hattiesburg.
"Our guys are confidence that we can come in here and make a lot of noise in this tournament," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "All 16 league games for us were tightly contested anyway you look at it. We had a chance in all of them so our guys' have confidence against any opponent we face."
Tulane lost its 13 conference games by an average of 7.2 points, including five games of six points of fewer.
"Hopefully we can come in here and play well," Conroy added. "You are always anxious to get off to a good start in tournament play and if you do anything can happen and you can get on a roll and play with a lot of confidence and be aggressive and that is what we are looking to do."
Kendall Timmons, a second-team All-Conference USA selection, leads Tulane into the tournament. The sophomore forward is posting 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Jordan Callahan is scoring 13.9 points and dishing out 4.1 assists per outing.
The winner of Wednesday's first-round game will face No. 4 seed Memphis on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. CST in the Don Haskins Center.
GREEN WAVE PROBABLE STARTERS
G 5 Jordan Callahan 6-0 184 So. 13.9 ppg 2.6 rpg 4.1 apg
G 0 Kris Richard 6-5 178 Sr. 11.2 ppg 6.1 rpg 1.7 spg
G 23 Johnny Mayhane 6-5 193 Sr. 6.6 ppg 1.9 rpg 81.0 FT%
F 22 Kendall Timmons 6-5 200 So. 17.0 ppg 8.5 rpg 3.2 apg
F 2 David Booker 6-7 239 Sr. 7.8 ppg 3.9 rpg 52.7 FG%