ATLANTA, Ga. – Two former conference rivals square off to begin the 2012-13 college basketball season on Friday as the Tulane men’s basketball team visits Georgia Tech for a 6 p.m. CT tip at the brand new McCamish Pavilion.
The two programs will meet for the 69th time on Friday and were both members of the Southeastern Conference and the Metro Conference together. Tulane and Georgia Tech were SEC foes from 1937 until 1966 and were Metro Conference opponents for just the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons. Tech owns a slim 35-33 lead in the series that began back in 1909.
The game will be broadcast live on the ACC Network and ESPN3 (http://es.pn/mbb-TULANEvsGT) and can be heard live on the Tulane IMG Sports Network (WIST 690 AM in the New Orleans area).
“This is an exciting time of year,” Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. “This should be a great matchup because both teams return several players and are also excited about the new guys. We get to go to Atlanta and open their new arena and what I’m sure will be a sold out crowd. It is just a great way to start the college basketball season.”
Tech opens the brand new McCamish Pavilion and will welcome more than 125 former players, coaches and staff back to campus for the opening celebration.
Tulane returns eight players that started games last season, including four that logged at least 15 starts. The 2011-12 Conference USA Freshman of the Year Ricky Tarrant leads the way for Conroy, who is beginning his third season at the helm. Tarrant posted 14.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 31 starts a year ago, while senior guard Jordan Callahan and junior forward Josh Davis also started all 31 contests.
Callahan, who is returning to his home state of Georgia for the first time during his collegiate career, averaged 11.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game last season. Davis collected 11.2 points and 9.3 boards a contest.
Also back is senior guard Kendal Timmons who missed the final 15 games of the season with an Achilles injury. Before getting hurt, Timmons started 16 games and averaged 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Tomas Bruha also returns from injury. The 7-0 junior center played in nine games with six starts last season before having knee trouble. He posted 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds a game.
Fellow junior center Kevin Thomas started 15 games last season as well.
“I’m excited about this group,” Conroy added. “As we go through this season we will develop some quality depth and that will allow us to play some different ways and stay on the attack for the entire game.”
Tech also returns its start five from last season’s 11-20 team led by senior guard Mfon Udofia’s 9.9 points per game.
“Georgia Tech is the only ACC team to return all five starters and they are a talented bunch,” Conroy said. “We are going to have to be locked down defensively especially opening night on the road”
Tulane is 73-29 in season openers and has won four of the last five, including both under Conroy. The Green Wave defeated Alabama State at home last season and won at Maryland-Eastern Shore to open the 2010-11 season.
Despite trailing in the series to Tech, the Green Wave has won three straight, including the 57-52 victory last season in New Orleans. This will be the first meeting in Atlanta since a 79-68 Tulane victory on Dec. 23, 2001.
Tulane returns home for the next three games as they play host to Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT as part of the four-game Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic.
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