North Texas (11-9, 2-4 C-USA) vs. Tulsa (9-11, 4-2 C-USA)
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 • 3 p.m.
Tulsa, Okla. • Reynolds Center (8,355)
Radio: MGRN - 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM
TV: None • Webcast: MeanGreenSports.com/AllAccess ($)
NCAA RPI (1/27): NT - 171, Tulsa - 130
Series: Tulsa leads 36-14 • Streak: NT won last two games
Game 21 - Tulsa
TULSA, Okla. – January, February and March are when college basketball teams are forged. It’s also when go-to players step into the spotlight. No one knows this better than North Texas shooting guard Jordan Williams, who has a history of stepping up his game after the turn of the New Year.
The junior is averaging 11.1 points per game in 42 career games in November and December, but that figure vaults up to 15.1 in 29 career games after Jan. 1.
Williams has scored at least 12 points in every C-USA game, and is averaging a hefty 15.8 points per game in league play, which ranks fifth. In a 16-point effort against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Williams crossed the 900-point plateau and sits in 30th place in school history in career points.
Players like Williams, who also leads NT in rebounding, are what drive the guard-heavy C-USA. Seven of the top 10 scorers in league play are guards, and two of the three forwards are listed at 6-5.
“Night in and night out, every team in Conference USA fields a lineup of great guards,” said North Texas head coach Tony Benford.
The Mean Green will face another great guard in Tulsa’s James Woodard on Saturday. The sophomore is averaging 14.5 points in conference games, and drives a Golden Hurricane offense that has been potent from the 3-point line. Only four squads in C-USA have attempted and made more 3-pointers than Tulsa, which is 133-of-384 (34.6 percent - 4th in C-USA).
Tulsa commits just 11.0 turnovers per game, which leads C-USA and ranks 54th nationally. The Golden Hurricane ranks 56th in the NCAA with a +2.3 turnover margin, and their assist/turnover ratio of 1.23 is 55th in the country.
Tulsa head coach Danny Manning brings a hefty resume to Tulsa as both a player and coach. Kansas’ all-time leading scorer (2,951 points) and rebounder (1,187 boards), Manning was named the national player of the year after leading the Jayhawks to the 1988 championship. As an assistant coach at Kansas, Manning was apart of one NCAA title, two Final Fours, five Elite Eight trips, and 13 combined Big 12 regular season and tournament titles.