When people outside of Tulsa look at the Golden Hurricane’s win against UConn this past Tuesday, they are going to point to the fact that UConn has been up and down all year and that it is not the same team that won the championship last year. All of this is true, but when you ask somebody from Tulsa about that game all they are going to say is, “We just beat the fucking defending national champions!”
This was the biggest win for TU in my four years here. I’ve never seen the Reynolds Center get that crazy. For most games, the Reynolds Center is like a giant tomb with a really nice scoreboard, but against UConn it was something else. It was a legit college basketball arena, and hopefully it will stay that way now that people besides me and my friend Token know we are good at basketball.
TU’s basketball team reminds me of America during the Revolutionary War. Those first three wins in conference play were like the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Everyone thought, “Oh that’s cute the thirteen colonies want to be a country.” Or in TU’s case everyone was thinking, “Look at Tulsa, they think they are a real basketball team just because they are atop the standings after three conference games.”
But when TU beat UConn in front of a packed Reynolds Center, that was like the Battle of Trenton. After the Battle of Trenton, the British realized that America was for real, and after that win against UConn America realized that Tulsa is for real.
Tulsa’s style of play is also a lot like the guerilla warfare that the continental army used to defeat the British and gain our independence. It’s scrappy and not always easy to watch, but it gets the job done.
I’ve said this before and I think we proved it on Tuesday: TU was made to be a basketball school. We do not have enough students to make our football stadium loud, but we definitely have enough to make the Reynolds Center rock, especially with support from local Tulsans at the games too.
You could tell that the players were feeding off the crowd’s energy the whole game, and they were definitely thankful afterwards when they jumped on the press table in front of the student section to celebrate with us.
This win over UConn may not have made Tulsa basketball relevant to the country, but the win cemented what we did last year by making the tournament and made Tulsa basketball relevant to Tulsa once again.