▪ Tulsa guard James Woodard averages 12.4 points this season after averaging 15.5 last season on his way to second-team All-Conference USA honors. While Hurricane has other threats, Woodard is the key guy for his ability to shoot three-pointers, get to the foul line and rebound. In two games against WSU, he is 9 of 22 (40.9 percent) from the field and 2 of 9 (22.2 percent) from three-point range, averaging 11.5 points. He has three assists and six turnovers in those two games. WSU’s perimeter defense has dominated its wins over New Mexico State and Memphis. Tulsa has three experienced guards - Woodard, Rashad Ray and Shaquille Harrison - and their ability to score and run the offense will be critical.
▪ Tulsa received little production outside its top six players in its first five games. G Marquel Curtis is averaging 7.8 points and 26.4 minutes, in four games as a reserve. No other reserve averages more than 13.2 minutes or 2.7 points. Add in this week’s travels to Las Vegas for games against Auburn and Oklahoma State and this might be a game that tests Tulsa’s depth. Tulsa worked hard this week while the Shockers played Newman on Sunday. Rest vs. Rust.
▪ WSU C Darius Carter has taken 33 shots (second-most on the team) and six free throws. That isn’t enough for a big man getting the ball that often. Bush Wamukota has 10 foul shots, Tevin Glass and Shaq Morris both six. Carter played 12 minutes against New Mexico State and 13 against Newman, so his playing time is affecting the stats. But he played 23 against Memphis and didn’t attempt a free throw.
▪ I love WSU’s MTXE uniforms that the Shockers will wear today as part of a throwback promotion. WSU’s history of uniform looks is largely bland, expect for that era in the 1980s. WSU should consider adopting that look on a permanent basis. It is much more distinctive than the current fonts and designs.
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