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WAC Notebook

February 18, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



WAC Notebook

by Phil Dailey

Louisiana Tech getting ready for March

After one of the more disappointing starts of the year, Louisiana Tech
is now back in the hunt for the WAC title.

The Bulldogs took care of business last week as they knocked off Tulsa
in Ruston and both Fresno State and Nevada on the road. La. Tech now
finds itself in third place in the conference race right behind Fresno
State and Nevada.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs last week was guard Lavelle Felton.
This week’s WAC Player of the Week, Felton, averaged over 20 points and
seven boards in the three wins for La. Tech. This week the Bulldogs are
at home against Rice and then take on Northern Iowa as part of this
year’s ESPN Bracket Buster.

Tulsa no match for the Zags

Yeah, it’s finally here. The weekend every hard-core basketball fan has
been waiting for.

Nonetheless, ESPN’s first installment of the event being hailed as
“Bracket Buster Saturday” happens this weekend. This one-day event of
first-class mid-major hoops involves four WAC teams. Tulsa, Hawaii,
Fresno State and La. Tech go up against other mid-major powerhouse
teams.

This Saturday offers teams to compete and a shot to either help or hurt
one’s chance of a tournament selection next month.

The “headliner,” as ESPN director of basketball programming Burk Mangus
is calling it, pits Gonzaga against a somewhat mediocre Golden Hurricane
squad from Tulsa. Tulsa isn’t exactly where they thought they would be
two months ago. The Golden Hurricane has failed to meet expectations
and are currently in middle of the pack in conference action.

Now, Tulsa has to travel to Spokane, Wash. and take on the best
mid-major hoops team of the last decade. The Zags are not having their
best season of late, but have played some tough teams along the way
losing to Georgia, Indiana by one and Kentucky by eight. The Zags have
also beaten Utah and N.C. State to round out their pre-conference
resume.

So, is there any chance the Golden Hurricane can beat the Zags? Probably
not. However, since the mysterious departure of senior guard Antonio
Reed, Tulsa has not been the same. This is a good thing because with
Reed they had lost five of nine WAC games.

So far the Golden Hurricane is 3-1 since Reed was removed from the team
by head coach John Phillips.

If Tulsa can pull of the win against the Zags it will be a good start
back to where they want to be. But there’s no chance, even with a win
at Gonzaga, that Tulsa is going to get an at-large bid for this year’s
NCAA tournament. The only chance left for Tulsa to get back to the Big
Dance is to win the WAC tournament, an event that just happens to be on
their home floor.

Other games on Saturday include: Fresno State at Creighton, Northern
Iowa at Louisiana Tech and Hawai’i at Kent State

WAC Player of the Week

After rising from the ashes, this week’s award has to go to a Louisiana
Tech Bulldog. And no one’s more deserving than Lavelle Felton. Last
week, Felton blew up against Tulsa (19 points,), Fresno State (19) and
Nevada (23). The 6-foot-4 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native is averaging nearly 14
points per game this year for the Bulldogs

     

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