About 18 hours after Kansas lost in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship, one of the school’s iconic players recorded his most significant victory as a coach.
Danny Manning, in his second season as Tulsa’s coach, has guided the Golden Hurricane into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. Tulsa won Conference USA’s automatic bid with a 69-60 victory over Louisiana Tech Saturday in the championship game of the C-USA tournament.
Tulsa (21-11) has won 11 straight. The Golden Hurricane started 1-6 and were 4-9 in late December with losses to Oklahoma and TCU (twice) plus defeats by NCAA Tournament teams Wichita State and Creighton. Ironically, Tulsa’s victory came over a Louisiana Tech team that defeated Oklahoma in overtime and lost at Oklahoma State in December games.
Manning, who led KU to an unlikely national championship in 1988, had a successful NBA career and then spent time on coach Bill Self’s staff as an assistant. Manning’s son Evan is a walk on for the Jayhawks.
There is another Tulsa-Big 12 connection. Sophomore James Woodard scored 27 points in the Golden Hurricane’s victory and was named the C-USA tournament most outstanding player. He is the older brother of Oklahoma freshman point guard Jordan Woodard.