Tulane (20-10) at N.C. State (17-12)
Tue., March 14, 2000, 6:30 p.m. CST
Entertainment & Sports Arena (19,722)
National Invitation Tournament - First Round
Game Data: Tulane (20-10, 8-8 C-USA) makes its sixth appearance in the National Invitation Tournament tonight against North Carolina State (17-12, 6-10 ACC) at the Entertainment and Sports Arena (19,722) ... The Green Wave has an all-time record of 7-5 in NIT play with a third-place finish to its credit in 1996 ... Tulane lost in the first round of the 1997 NIT, a 79-72 decision at Oklahoma State on March 13, its last postseason appearance ... It is also the ninth postseason appearance in school history, seven of those coming under Perry Clark ... Tulane is 3-2 in NIT first round games ... Tonight's game marks the second time in school history that Tulane has played an opponent in the postseason that it also faced during the regular season (Alabama, 1996).
On the Air: The Tulane Basketball Network will broadcast every Green Wave postseason game. The flagship station is 50,000-watt WWL-AM 870 in New Orleans. "Voice of the Green Wave" Ken Berthelot is in his 11th year of calling the action. Tonight's game will also be televised nationally by ESPN.
Tulane Head Coach Perry Clark: Perry Clark is in his 11th year as the Green Wave head coach with a record of 185-144 (.562). Clark has guided Tulane to six 20-win seasons, six postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 4 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 Anthony Anderson, Greg Gary and Brock Kantrow. Clark is 8-6 in postseason games, including 5-3 in the NIT, and is 1-1 against N.C State.
The Series: Tonight's game is the ninth meeting of the two schools with N.C. State holding a 6-2 series advantage. The Wolfpack had won six straight in the series prior to the Wave's 73-62 win in New Orleans on Dec. 22. Incidentally, Tulane and N.C. State have met in the postseason once before, a 41-24 Tulane win on Feb. 28, 1925, in the Southern Conference Tournament in Atlanta. Tulane is 1-1 in series games played in New Orleans, 0-4 in Raleigh and 1-1 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 75 in the Tulane basketball media guide.
Last Time Out: Cold shooting hurt Tulane once again as the team shot just 32 percent for the game and scored a season-low 46 points in the 64-46 loss to Saint Louis in the C-USA Tournament semifinals. Led by Justin Love's 20 first half points, Saint Louis outscored Tulane 23-6 in the first 11:40 and led 35-18 at the half. Sterling Davis was the only player to finish in double figures with 16 points.
Scouting N.C. State: The Wolfpack (17-12) makes its fourth consecutive NIT appearance this evening after advancing to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. NCSU finished seventh in the ACC with a 6-10 league mark. The `Pack outscores (+5.6) and outrebounds (+1.6) the opposition, while shooting 43.2 percent from the floor. Anthony Grundy leads the team with a 13.4 ppg average.
Elite Company: By picking up a win in the Conference USA Tournament, the Green Wave clinched its first 20-win season since 1996-97. It is the ninth 20-win campaign in the 90-season history of Tulane basketball, and the sixth for head coach Perry Clark. The Wave's win total is an eight-game improvement over last season and a 13-game improvement over 1997-98.
Key To Victory: One factor stands out in each of Tulane's last five games...shooting percentage. In leading the Wave to two wins, the starters have combined to shoot 56.6 percent (43-of-76) from the floor. In the three loses, the starters have shot a collective 31.0 percent (35-113). On the year, Tulane is 16-1 when outshooting the opposition.
The 70-point Plateau: With a 68.1 points per game average, it's not surprising that the 70-point barrier is a good indicator of Tulane success. This year the Wave is 14-4 when scoring at least 70 points and 6-6 when it doesn't. Twenty-four of the Wave's 32 wins over the past two years have come when scoring at least 70 points.
Playing Unselfishly: There is no question that sophomore point guard Waitari Marsh makes this team successful. The Chicago native has tallied at least five assists in 14 games this season, and the Wave is 13-1 in those contests.
Second Half Surges: Tulane used a 26-15 run to open the second half and pick up a win over Houston in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament. It marked the eighth time this season that Tulane has used such a run to secure a win. The Wave used a 20-10 run vs. Texas A&M (Dec. 8), 17-3 at Lamar (Dec. 11), 19-6 vs. N.C. State (Dec. 22), 37-14 vs. Howard (Dec. 29), 26-11 at Southern Miss (Jan. 15), 15-3 vs. Saint Louis (Feb. 19) and 32-14 vs. Marquette (March 4).
Tight Games: The Green Wave has done a good job of winning the tight ball games this season. Tulane has won eight of 10 games this year decided by five points or less. Four of the team's last six wins have been by five points or less.
Mr. Consistency: Senior Sterling Davis continues to be Tulane's most consistent player. Not only is he averaging 16.0 points and shooting 52.6 percent from the field in the postseason, but he leads the team with 21 double-figure scoring games and has been the team's scoring leader in 15 of 30 games. His season total of 403 points is the best of his career.
Tonight's Tulane-N.C. State winner will meet the winner of the New Mexico
State-Arizona State matchup.