Team: Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Conference: American Athletic Conference
Coach: Frank Haith
Record: 20-11, 12-6 in conference
KenPom Rank: 58
Good wins: Over Wichita State, Connecticut, and Cincinnati - all at home. Over SMU on the road.
Impact Players: Senior Shaq Harrison (15 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals/ game) forces turnovers and draws fouls as the Tulsa lead guard. James Woodard averages 16 points and five rebounds per game. The Hurricane are the nation's most experienced squad by weighted minutes, returning almost everyone from last season. That experience showed as they did not turn the ball over often.
How did they get in?: That's what many people are asking, as the Golden Hurricane were expected to get an NIT berth after last week's meltdown against Memphis instead of the play-in game as an 11-seed. Andy Glockner breaks down the math that likely favored Tulsa - winning against highly rated teams at home negated their bad losses. But they do score well inside the arc and defend well inside; and they force turnovers while protecting the ball.
Outside of some bad results in defending the three-pointer - which First Four opponent Michigan is very good at - it's a pretty good defense. Additionally, opponents have shot 75% on free throws against them, which lends credence to the idea that some luck is involved in their record - that's not a problem in their defense.
How far can this team go in the NCAA Tournament?: Second round. They are experienced and have solid guards so nothing can be ruled out, now that they have been given a second life and a shot at the biggest stage.
Bonus Note: Frank Haith's former team, Missouri, is suffering under NCAA restrictions after violations committed on his watch. Haith left the University of Miami in the same situation, falling into a Mizzou team that went to the Tournament in his first year. Well done, always a step ahead of the posse, Frank Haith.
Last time in the NCAA Tournament: 2014.