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John Owens

Tulane men’s basketball enters the 2011-12 season filled withenergy and renewed hope for a winning campaign. The roster is fullof fresh faces and perhaps more importantly size – a criticalcomponent that was missing from last year’s squad. In addition tothe new height, juniors Kendall Timmons and Jordan Callahan look tolead the Green Wave to Conference USA success. With that in mind,we have determined the five most important games for Tulane thisseason.

Georgia Tech (Dec. 3,2011)

Tulane takes on Georgia Tech at Fogelman Arena, which givesTulane a chance to get a great win against an ACC school andwitness the play of Glen Rice, Jr. While not at the top tier of theACC, Georgia Tech consistently contends for NCAA Tournament bids,which makes this contest a statement game for the Green Wave. Newhead coach Brian Gregory directs a Yellow Jackets squad that doesnot have lofty expectations heading into this season.

Wofford (Dec. 6,2011)

Wofford, which is coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournamentappearances, presents a significant road challenge for the Wave.The Terriers lost their top three scorers from 2010-11 but willstill provide a tough road environment for a young Green Wavesquad. This game will also be a tough trip for Tulane because ofWofford’s athleticism. More importantly, it could point to how theGreen Wave will play in the rest of its non-conference slate.

Syracuse (Dec. 22,2011)

Only days before Christmas, a win in this contest could be theultimate regular-season gift for Tulane. Syracuse is a perennialnational championship contender, and playing in New York will notbe easy for the Green Wave. The Orange features several playerswith NBA-caliber talent, such as Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph.While Tulane is not expected to win, the showing it puts on couldbe indicative of how the Wave will play in conference.

Southern Miss (Jan. 7,2012)

This game is not significant because of whom Tulane plays, butit is important in that it is the first in-conference home game forthe squad this year. The Green Wave starts out with a group ofin-conference road games, which could prove difficult. But if thefriendly confines of Fogelman are going to protect the Wave betterthan in years past, the team will have to start with winning thisgame.

Memphis (Feb. 12,2012)

This game presents another big matchup for the Green Wavebecause of the quality of players that the Tigers bring, includingforward Wesley Witherspoon and guard Will Barton. Memphis is rankedNo. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today coach’s poll, and is projected todominate C-USA play. If Tulane avoids the major conference slidethat it experienced last year, however, it could show someresilience in front of the home crowd and possibly upset theTigers.

John Scimeca contributed tothis report.

 

 

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