Houston vs. Tulane Odds, Picks: Green Wave to Keep it Close?
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Ron Hunter (Tulane)
Houston vs. Tulane Odds
-114o / -106u
-114o / -106u
The Houston Cougars are not only a perfect 5-0 in conference play, but are 17-1 on the season and riding an eight-game win streak.
Tulane, meanwhile, dropped its first conference game on the road at Cincinnati and hasn't posted a loss since.
The Green Wave host the Cougars as they try to extend a five-game winning streak of their own on Tuesday night.
The Cougars have dominated the Green Wave as of late, holding a 22-12 lead in the all-time series while also winning each of their last seven matchups.
Tulane has been slightly better at home in the series — posting a record of 6-11 — and has been playing its best basketball in a while lately.
But will that be enough for the Green Wave to get their first win over the Cougars since January 2018?
The Cougars are the No. 1 team in the AP Poll for a reason. Houston ranks top-10 in the nation in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Last time out — despite foul trouble and going up against a South Florida team that could not miss — they still found a way to win.
That win came as a result of their leading scorer, Marcus Sasser, matching USF's Tyler Harris, who racked up a daunting 31 points.
Houston is stacked with elite playmakers in its starting five, any of which can step up and be the deciding factor any night of the week.
However, in conference play, fouls have become a glaring issue for this Cougars team.
And with their bench averaging just 17 points per contest, the drop-off should foul trouble arise is something that can't be overlooked.
Fouling will be the biggest concern against a Tulane team that's averaging 18 fouls drawn per game, as well as 25.7 free-throw attempts per contest.
Not to mention, the Green Wave are the second-best free-throw shooting team in the nation, shooting 82.1% at the line.
Getting to the line will be paramount for this Green Wave team. It's not only important because it's a weakness they can take advantage of against a Houston team with very few issues, but because they may not be able to score anywhere else.
The Cougars are the second-best team in the nation when it comes to defending 3-point shots and the fifth-best when it comes to defending 2s.
It's worth noting, though, that their defense has taken a step back since conference play began. In conference, the Cougars have struggled in only one area on the floor: the rim.
Houston has allowed conference opponents to cash in on 71.4% of its shots at the rim. Tulane not only takes more than 30% of its shots at the rim, it's consistently been one of the best at making those close shots.
The Green Wave are hitting 70.1% of their shots at the rim in conference play and have cashed in on 70.9% of shots in that area overall on the season.
Pace will be an issue for Tulane, and it'll need to speed up the game against Houston. But that will be easier said than done against a Cougars team ranked 335th in the nation in Adjusted Tempo.
Houston vs. Tulane Betting Pick
Houston is one of the best teams in the nation and a legitimate Final Four contender. I don't think anyone doubts that.
However, everyone slips up at some point and conference road games are tough regardless of how good you are or who you are playing.
And they are going to be even tougher when you are the No. 1 team in the nation with a target on your back going up against an opponent that hasn't beaten you in five years and is on a roll right now.
Tulane has the highest-scoring offense in the AAC and while Houston's defense is one of the best nationally, this will be one of its toughest tests yet in a challenging road environment.
I think Tulane shows up prepared and give the Cougars everything they have on Tuesday night. And I'll be backing the Green Wave to keep this one close — at the very least.
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