New Orleans vs Tulsa Preview and Prediction
New Orleans vs Tulsa Preview
TU will play its final home non-conference game at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, when it hosts New Orleans. Tulsa won the only previous meeting with the Privateers, 77-68, back on Nov. 16, 2016, at the Reynolds Center. Tulsa has won 13 consecutive home games and 22 of its last 24 contests at the Reynolds Center dating back to last season. The winning streak is tied for the second-longest streak since the Reynolds Center opened in 1998.
Tulsa (7-3) returns eight letter winners, including three starters, from last year’s team, which went 19-12 and finished fourth in The American with a 12-6 league mark.
TU is coming off a 47-46 win over then-No. 15 Kansas State on Saturday. Curran Scott scored a game-high 14 points as Tulsa notched the program’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2016.
DaQuan Jeffries was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week after he helped lead the team to wins over Oklahoma State and KSU. Tulsa is undefeated (5-0) when Jeffries scores in double-figures. The squad is 2-3 when he does not.
At 7-3, Tulsa has tied the best 10-game start under head coach Frank Haith. The 2015-16 team also started 7-3 and would go on to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tulsa was picked to finish ninth in The American Preseason Poll. TU has finished better than its preseason prediction in all four seasons under Haith.
Senior point guard Sterling Taplin is climbing the career assists charts at TU and he entered the program’s all-time top 10 with three assists against Utah on Dec. 1. He currently ranks ninth with 330 assists and needs six assists to pass Eric Coley (1996-2000) and move to eighth place. Taplin, is from my hometown of Buffalo, NY and had a remarkable high school career in Western New York. With 822 points, Taplin needs 178 points to become the 38th player in TU history to reach 1,000 career points.
New Orleans (4-3) is searching for its first road win of the season and looks to hand Tulsa its first home loss.
UNO is coming off a 71-60 victory over South Alabama that featured four double-digit scorers, led by Ezekiel Charles‘ 18 points. The Privateers outscored the Jaguars 43-26 in the second half and forced 17 turnovers. They are 3-0 when four or more players reached double figures.
The league’s leader in assists, blocks, and steals enters the Reynolds Center fourth in the nation in steals per game (11.0) and fifth in turnovers forced (20.14). New Orleans has the Southland Conference’s leading three-point shooter in Ezekiel Charles (53.3 percent from long distance) and he is one of two players averaging double figures for UNO.
Scott Plaisance Jr. and Gerrale Gates are the only two players to start all seven games for the Privateers. The frontcourt continues to play big, combining to average 19.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and added 15 steals and 15 blocks.
Tulsa is coming off two huge victories for the program and this game against New Orleans has ‘trap-game’ written all over it. I wouldn’t say the Hurricane will lose this game at home (they just do not lose at home) but that 13-points spread is concerning.
Tulsa 69 New Orleans 59