The undefeated Georgetown Hoyas put its unblemished and untarnished record on the line tonight against the Tulane Green Wave in the home opener at Verizon. To help you get ready for this fiesta, we've engaged The Wave Report's Scott Kushner to help us get a better feeling for what the Hoyas can expect from Tulane. Mr. Kushner, this Abita is for you. As they say in New Orleans, laissez les bon temps rouler...
Casual Tulane Beads. via store.cstv.com
CH: Tulane had a coaching vacancy this summer and after a long search that included candidates such as former Oregon coach Ernie Kent and now Rutgers coach Mike Rice, Tulane replaced former Maryland assistant Dave Dickerson with The Citadel's Ed Conroy. What was your take on Tulane's head coaching search and do you think Conroy was the right choice (even though he was probably the 3rd or even 4th choice)?
At the time, it struck me as a total panic hire. Tulane waited until nearly a month after the season had ended before it fired Dave Dickerson and made offers within a week. Billy Kennedy signed an extension with Murray State. Mike Rice balked at his offer and then Ed Conroy snapped it up.
For a guy with almost no ties to Louisiana, a career losing record and traveling from The Citadel, I wasn't impressed with his credentials. However, after a few months on the job it's safe to say that in a lot of ways, he is everything that Dickerson wasn't. Conroy has been fervently recruiting, selling his product and drilling his system into a team which never quite looked confident in what it was doing.
For now, he's a good fit at Tulane and it looks a lot better now than it did when he was announced in April.
(More Fun with Fun People After the Jump)
Conroy seems to have the Green Wave playing a more up tempo style than former coach Dave Dickerson. Is this style of play suited to Tulane's current talent?
It will be much more up-tempo but also a lot more disciplined. The players are allowed to improvise, but there are specific sets and spots on the floor which need to be hit, while playing at a fairly chaotic pace. For a roster with five seniors, who mostly ran a plodding half-court offense, it has been an arduous adjustment.
However, he inherited a lot of athleticism which was a bit underutlized in the past, and if they can figure out where to be at all times, this might just suit the current roster better.
Who are Tulane's best scorers? Rebounders?
It's really hard to tell, right now, who Tulane's best players are going to be. Conroy's system doesn't seem to run through a single person and there's no superior talent on the floor at any time. Shooting guard Kris Richard is likely Tulane's best scorer, but his points come in bunches and can disappear for games at a time. Small forward Kendall Timmons became the Wave's go-to player down the stretch last year and his ability to slash into the paint and shoot off balance could spur this offense.
Rebounding is going to be an issue...again. Tulane has a severe lack of frontcourt depth and will likely be relying on rail-thin freshman Kevin Thomas (6-foot-9) and a series of 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7 forwards.
This should be a major edge for the Hoyas. (Casual note: Sweet!)
As a proxy for the state of Louisiana, can you give us any insight into what Les Miles drinks on game days? I know the crowd is hopped up on Bourbon and light beer but fake field goals and reverses on 4th downs when games hang in the balance? Is Miles insane or a genius?
The guy has no doubt made some sort of deal with a higher (or lower) power, because the laws of probability have been tossed out as Miles always seems to accept the reward without worrying about the risk. Whether it be fake field goals, double reverses, throwing passes with the clock expiring despite being in field goal range and everything in between it always works out. Always.
His decisions have made sports talk radio in the state both unbearable and hilarious all at the same time.
At Georgetown we accept that we will never be a legitimate football program since we lack any redeemable athletic facility or a true stadium. Tulane has a decent facility (with plans for a new one already hatched) and gets to play its home games in the Superdome. Why is Tulane football not a CUSA powerhouse?
I could go in about 1,000 different directions on this, but I will keep it simple.
Because they choose not to.
Tulane has hamstrung itself in so many ways over just the past 10 years: unrealistic academic standards, refusing to shell out cash for better coaches/coaching staffs, extending the contracts of bad coaches, officially reviewing the life of the football program months after going to a bowl game, failing to connect (or attempt to connect) with the local community, consistently settling for second-rate and not holding anybody accountable for it. So, there's the short version. If you'd like to read more, go to any Tulane message board on any day of the year and these points will all be fleshed out in agonizing detail.
Speaking of the Conference USA, with Memphis dominating basketball and UCF ranked in the Football Top 25, how long do you see Conference USA staying together?
Not long. The conference has the feel of a community college, a place to stake a foothold while pivoting to the next step. Louisville, Marquette, Cincinatti, DePaul and TCU have all found their career path while Tulane, Southern Miss, UAB and others toil away with whatever is leftover.
For a league whose geographical footprint stretches from West Virgina (Marshall) to Mexico (UTEP), it's not surprising that there's no identity and hardly any loyalty within Conference USA's membership. The identity which began, intelligently, as mostly "non-powerhouse athletic departments in urban areas" (Memphis, Louisville, Tulane, Marquette, Houston, DePaul, Cincy, Charlotte, USF, St. Louis, etc..) has morphed into "we have no idea what we are, but please God play here and stay here".
How do Marshall, East Carolina, Rice, Tulsa and Central Florida belong in the same league? What university goals do these institutions all share?
Take out your crystal ball. Where do you see Tulane finishing this season? What would you say the realistic goals are for the Tulane men's basketball program 3 years from now.
I think this season's goal is just a winning record. Tulane plays one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country which includes: Maryville University, Auburn-Montgomery, Alabama State, Nicholls State, Centenary, New Orleans and Southern (get your tickets!).
Tulane will struggle in C-USA but should be able to pile up enough wins early that even a sub-.500 record in league play will still earn it a winning season for the first time since 2008.
In three years, I think finding a spot in the NIT would be the hope. At that point, the program has officially been "building".
What is your favorite restaurant in New Orleans and what is the proper order? Please take us from appetizer through dessert.
Let's keep this simple: Gumbo, Fried Oyster or Roast Beef po-boy with Zapps Cajun Crawtators, and bread pudding. There are approximately 1,000 places to get this meal and almost all of them are delicious.
Yes, please. via gearpatrol.com
It works at 10 am, 6 pm and 3 am. It's always good. If you're ever visiting New Orleans, I would like to suggest Johnny's Po Boys, because it's in the heart of the French Quarter. For locals: Parkway Bakery, Domilise's, Guy's, Mahony's, Tracey's (formerly Parasols), and a multitude of others are in play.
It's hard to go wrong on food here and if you do, you're probably not trying.
Final score prediction:
Georgetown 85, Tulane 60 - Bring on Centenary!