Nov. 14, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane men's basketball team opens its 98th season this Saturday against a familiar name in the state of Louisiana, but not a familiar opponent for the Green Wave, as McNeese State makes the short journey from Lake Charles to Fogelman Arena for a 7 p.m. tip-off. Tickets to the Tulane-McNeese State game are available online at TulaneGreenWave.com, by calling (504) 861-WAVE (9283) or by visiting the ticket office located inside the James W. Wilson Center.
The Green Wave (0-0) was 10-6 overall on its home floor a year ago, including 7-1 in non-conference games, and has won its last four straight decisions at home against non-league opponents.
Tulane returns two of its top three scorers from last season in Kevin Sims and Robinson Louisme. Sims, who averaged 12.2 points and 3.8 assists per game, is the team's top returning scorer and assists leader, and also led the team in three-pointers (46), while Louisme, who averaged 9.8 points and 5.4 rebounds, is the Wave's top returning rebounding leader.
The Green Wave returns seven total letterwinners for the 2008-09 campaign, including three starters (Sims, Louisme, Daniel Puckett) and will feature two players who sat out last season and four newcomers. TU's roster breakdown includes three seniors, three juniors, four sophomores, one redshirt freshman and two true freshmen.
McNeese State (0-0) dropped its lone exhibition game at home to Ouchita Baptist, 65-61, last Sunday. The Cowboys return eight letterwinners, including two starters (John Pichon, Kleon Penn) from last season's 13-16 squad. Pichon is the team's top returning scorer with 9.6 points per game a year ago, while Penn is the top returning rebounder with 6.3 boards per game last season.
McNeese State was 5-11 overall away from home last season, including just 3-5 in non-conference road games. The Cowboys begin their third season under head coach Dave Simmons, who has a two-year mark of 55-63. Saturday's game marks the first-ever meeting between Tulane and McNeese State.
Tulane will face a modern in-state school for the 372nd time this Saturday when it hosts McNeese State. The Green Wave has a record of 204-167 against in-state schools in Louisiana, which includes Dillard, Loyola, LSU, Nicholls State, Southern (N.O.), Southern (B.R.), Centenary, Louisiana College, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, New Orleans, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana and Xavier (La.).
The 2008 opener against McNeese State marks the 71st time in school history the Green Wave has opened a season at home and Tulane has an all-time record of 59-12 in those games. The Wave downed Auburn, 77-62, in the 2007-08 season opener at Fogelman Arena. The last time TU opened the season on its home floor against an in-state opponent was in 2003-04 against Southern (W, 78-72).
Tulane has an all-time record of 33-5 against teams from the Southland Conference. The Wave's last contest against an SLC squad was a 73-51 victory over Nicholls State a year ago at Fogelman Arena.
McNeese State has an all-time record of 2-8 against Conference USA schools, but did register as win over Southern Miss last season on the road, 63-57.