Pack set to take on Tulane
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 16:11
The Loyola men’s basketball team renews its cross-street rivalry with Tulane University in the Battle of Freret Street on Nov. 27.
The game is named after the street that separates Loyola’s campus from Tulane’s. Last year’s game was the closest contest in more than ten years. Tulane snuck out a hotly contested 70-68 victory over the Wolf Pack.
This year’s matchup features two teams on the upswing. Tulane has seen improvement in its record during head coach Ed Conroy’s first two seasons. Loyola’s men are coming off of a 20-win season, the first since 1948.
Loyola head coach Michael Giorlando attributes last year’s improvement in the Tulane matchup to the team’s defensive presence. He said that the team gave themselves an excellent opportunity to tie or win the game.
“Our defensive pressure was constant throughout the entire game that kept us in striking distance; this allowed the Pack to make a nice run late to make it a one possession game,” Giorlando said via email.
Statistics from last season show that Loyola played at a bit of a faster pace than Tulane. The Wolf Pack averaged 54.2 shots per game compared to the Green Wave’s 52.5, while Loyola averaged 73.8 points per game to Tulane’s 64.6. However, Loyola gave up 70.9 points per game while Tulane gave up only 61.3.
Giorlando said that these numbers do not tell the whole story. He said that Tulane had some key injuries that probably forced their pace to slow down.
“They would like to get up and down if possible, but injuries and personnel dictate a lot of those decisions,” Giorlando said.
Finance sophomore and power forward McCall Tomeny said that the Wolf Pack will key in on a couple of Tulane backcourt players: sophomore guard Ricky Tarrant and senior guard Kendall Timmons. Tarrant earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year for the 2011-12 season, while Timmons was a 2011-12 Preseason First-team All-C-USA choice.
Giorlando said that they have not begun scouting Tulane but come game time, he will have his team prepared. He knows that the Green Wave will be good this year and will not be looking past the Wolf Pack.
Tomeny said that although games against Divison-1 schools feature larger buildings, crowds and programs, the key is to treat it like it is any other game. Tomeny feels that as long as the team focuses on its own execution, it will be fine.
“We just need to do the same things we do against any other team,” Tomeny said.
Giorlando said that he uses these exhibition games against D-1 schools as a measuring stick for the team’s performance. He thinks the games are an excellent way to get the team to play on the road in a “hostile” environment.
“The entire season is used as a measuring stick, but when you step up in competition, you really get a great snap shot of where you are in the process of having a successful season,” Giorlando said.
Karl Gommel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org