Tulsa (14-12) at UCF (17-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UCF Arena (10,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: Tulsa 8-4, UCF 13-4. Away Record: Tulsa 5-6, UCF 4-5. Neutral Record: Tulsa 1-2, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: Tulsa 6-6, UCF 7-5. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 8-5.
GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will try to improve their Conference USA standing as they visit UCF Arena to tangle with the UCF Knights.
This will be the 14th meeting in history between these schools in history and the final matchup with both belonging to the C-USA. UCF will depart for the Big East next season and is ineligible for postseason action in 2012-13.
Tulsa holds an 8-5 all-time series edge versus the Knights.
Danny Manning's Golden Hurricane had their two-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday as they suffered a 72-63 setback to East Carolina at home. The loss lowered Tulsa to a 14-12 overall record which includes its 6-6 mark versus league foes. Manning has done a decent job in his first campaign as a head coach overall, but his squad has lost four of its last six games. Tulsa is one of the weakest teams offensively in the conference with an average of 67.0 ppg, but it is holding its opposition just below that mark 66.5 ppg.
James Woodard leads the balanced Tulsa attack with 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per tilt while Pat Swilling, Jr. and Scottie Haralson add 10 ppg each. In the loss to ECU, Tulsa trailed by as many as 14 points in the opening half and led by five points on two separate occasions in the final 20 minutes. Poor free-throw shooting (6-of-19) hindered the Golden Hurricane's chances as the Pirates outscored them 14-7 over the final five minutes to steal the nine- point decision. Haralson tallied 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists to spearhead Tulsa's losing effort.
Donnie Jones's Knights returned to Orlando after a two-game road swing that consisted of losses to Memphis (93-71) and Texas-El Paso (73-58) to drop an 82-70 decision to Marshall, which came into UCF Arena with zero wins in nine true road tests. UCF's recent slide has dropped it to a 17-9 overall record with just four games remaining. Isaiah Sykes is leading the Knights with 15.8 points and 4.5 assists per game. Sykes is the only player in the country with multiple career triple-doubles (two). Senior forward Keith Clanton is close behind in the scoring column with 15.1 ppg and is also responsible for 8.7 boards per contest.
Sykes registered a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds in UCF's mid- week loss to the Thundering Herd, but it was not enough to help it overcome its dismal 3-of-16 performance from beyond the arc. Calvin Newell added 16 points and Clanton chipped in 10 points as UCF lost for a third time in a row. The Knights are in the middle of the pack in the C-USA rankings in both scoring offense (70.9) and defense (66.8).
Although UCF has the homecourt edge, Tulsa has much more to play for as it attempts to clinch the No. 3 seed in the C-USA Tournament. The struggling Knights need more production beyond Sykes and Clanton to close out the season. The Golden Hurricane's balanced effort may not be enough to get it done away from home, where they are 5-6 so far.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 67, Tulsa 63
02/23 10:37:54 ET