Tulsa extends a hardy Midwest welcome to the East Carolinians, Houstonites, Memphis fans and all. We hope you enjoy your stay in our diverse city. Please understand Tulsa needs this tournament a lot more than your team does.
For instance, last week we dumped a game to Memphis. In the process, the Tigers showcased athleticism and vaulted from ESPN's "out" list to the "last in" list. The Tigers are no lock, but they certainly deserve an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Wouldn't you feel better knowing you relinquished a game in the BOK Center? Additional C-USA teams in the Big Dance enhance your reputation. Tulsa receiving a March Madness date increases your RPI. Plus, you would still hold the season advantage 2-1 over us.
Tulsa battled UTEP in El Paso before dropping a non-competitive game in the Reynolds Center later this year. UTEP registers around an eight seed according to self-proclaimed important college basketball-niks tossing bracketology jargon around.
Let's be honest. This UTEP team deserves a five or six seed. It's the same Conference USA disrespect Memphis dealt with for years. So, I ask you fellow college basketball fans, what is the downside if TU ekes out a win against UTEP? The Golden Hurricane punches a ticket to dance. UTEP dances. We all win.
Ben Uzoh kept TU close against UTEP last go around. Jerome Jordan banged against your massive interior players. Back-up center Steven Idlet even let your big guys push him around with little consequence. The TU squad is full of great student-athletes. Nice guys should not finish last or in TU's case, in the NIT or CBI tournament. UTEP, lose one for the Gipper.
Out-of-towners: Take a good look at the BOK Center. It shines. People love it. Huge stars clamor for a tour stop in T-Town because of it. We are sharing the 15th wonder of the world with you this week. Enjoy it before you return to your tiny little basketball gym next year. Soak it up.
All we ask in return is a fair shot in this tournament. We, the people of Tulsa, have pleaded with our team: More first half effort, more diverse offense, more made shots, more physicality. Our message has fallen on deaf ears.
The spirit of the rules (and actual rules I'm sure) prohibits us from outright asking you to a) tank games, b) clang free throws or c) botch inbound set plays. However, if you keep your team up late, feed them heavy cuisine and pull a fire alarm in their hotel around 5am on game day, we'll call it even. It's the little things in hoops that count.
Local hardwood fans, let's make some noise. In case you forgot, tickets are still available at bokcenter.com. You can purchase individual sessions as well.
Tulsa enters the C-USA tournament as the fifth seed. Wednesday's opening-round game pits TU against Rice at 6pm. The Golden Hurricane is 6-0 against the Owls since joining C-USA in 2005.
The C-USA championship game takes place at 10:30am Saturday. Good luck to all participants, especially the home team.
In Other News
Sixty degrees is the new eighty degrees. It sure seemed that way last week. The warming temperatures remind us the summer is just closer than you think.
Many parents begin checking out summer programs. A busy kid, in theory, is a productive kid. An abundance of free time leads to sex, drugs and rock & roll. I heard that in a movie.
When looking for a summer activity, keep the Arkansas River in mind. We're not talking about landing planes safely, either.
Tulsa Rowing Club Juniors should be in the mix. Summer camp enrollment is available now for the week of May 31-June 11 and June 14-15. This year the TRCJ will offer programs for 7th and 8th graders as well.
"I'm excited to see so much growth and demand for rowing in Tulsa," said Neil Bergenroth, Head Coach of the Tulsa Rowing Club Juniors. "We have come a long way in the last few years. We are planning for upwards of 70 youth rowers (high school and middle school) for the spring season,"
Visit tulsajuniorsrowing.org for full details and contact information.
Congratulations to Xtreme Fighting League's successful March Badness card this past Saturday night. Here are a few parting jabs for the week.
The SpiritBank Event Center is a fabulous venue, especially for fight cards.
LA Boxing manager Chris Underwood made his mixed martial arts debut. He looked much larger than his opponent but both weighed in the same. Underwood proved he can take a punch, recover and pull out a victory. Props on a successful entry into the fight game.
Oklahoma Fight Club (Mikey Burnett's gym) produced two exciting fights on the night. Paul "The Saint" Linam earned a submission victory on a beautiful rolling toe hold. Excellent technique.
In a kickboxing match, Randy "Boom Boom" Blake lived up to his moniker. A straight right set his opponent up, and a vicious head kick knocked him down. Boom Boom is back.
Newly crowned XFL middleweight champion Trey Houston had the crowd eating out of his glove-covered palms. He defeated a battle-tested Brandon Gaines via armbar after some excellent top control. The ceiling for Houston has been erased.
Tulsa fans were also treated to the return of Oklahoma State University wrestling phenom Jake Rosholt. Rosholt took his four-time All-American wrestling pedigree and catapulted it into a successful charge into the UFC.
After a disappointing 1-2 record in the UFC, it was back to the local shows for some "in cage" training. Rosholt made short work of XFL 205-pound champ Rudy Lindsey. He choked him out in the first round.
Once the fight hit the ground, it was all over. If Rosholt returns to T-Town for a tune-up bout before plying his trade in the UFC, he would be wise to engage in more of a standup war.
Overall, it was a successful night, which saw current UFC stars and Oklahoma products Johny Hendricks, Gerald Harris and Daniel Roberts in the audience taking in the excitement. All 3,010 patrons left satisfied, unless the guy they were pulling for lost, which happens.
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