But things have changed as 10th-seeded Tulane (9-12, 4-12) and seventh-seeded Tulsa (11-11, 7-9) prepare to meet again Thursday afternoon in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Green Wave lost their last four games of the regular season and the Golden Hurricane split their last four, with the two losses coming by a total of five points.
Tulsa coach Frank Haith said he's feeling better about his team now, as opposed to how he felt after the 58-48 loss to Tulane on Feb. 10 in Tulsa, Okla.
Haith said his team was "not confident" after the loss to the Green Wave, in which the Golden Hurricane scored their fewest points of the season.
But Tulsa closed the regular season by scoring its most points in a 107-74 victory against Northeastern State last Thursday. Six Hurricanes scored in double figures.
"I think we're playing better," Haith said. "We're sharing the ball and doing some things on offense much better (now)."
Haith said he was pleased with how his team bounced back from 73-69 defeat at UCF just two days earlier.
"It was good to see us come off a tough loss and guys came out and competed, particularly on the offensive end," Haith said.
Tulane, which leads the American in free-throw percentage (75.4), had a 14-2 advantage in free throws made and held the Golden Hurricane to 4-of-21 shooting on 3-pointers in the first meeting.
"I thought we were really good defensively in the second half (of the first meeting)," Green Wave coach Ron Hunter said.
Tulane is coming off a 78-70 home loss to Wichita State last Wednesday. The Green Wave outscored the Shockers in the second half (37-32), on fast breaks (12-2) and off the bench (18-8), but it wasn't enough to prevent a fifth loss in the last six games.
"We have a real thin line between winning and losing because we don't have any depth," Hunter said. "At some point the reality sets in. (But) these kids have given me everything."
The winner of the Tulane-Tulsa game will face second-seeded Houston in the quarterfinals Friday.
--Field Level Media
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