Game: Tulane Green Wave @ Houston Cougars
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Odds: Green Wave +15, Cougars -15
The last time top-ranked Houston faced Tulane, the Cougars defeated the Green Wave to keep exclusive control of first place in the American Athletic Conference. Houston is still in first place in the AAC, and with a victory over visiting Tulane tonight, the Cougars can capture at least a share of the regular-season conference championship.
On Monday, the Cougars (25-2, 13-1 AAC) moved up to the top spot in the AP poll for the third time this year. They have won seven straight games and 16 of their previous 17 overall. Their latest victory was a 72-64 home win against Memphis on Sunday.
Houston has had a pattern of establishing significant leads, watching them dwindle, and then rebounding to win. It happened against the Tigers on Sunday. Houston used a 17-3 run to help establish an 11-point lead at the half before Memphis closed the gap to four points with 15:55 left in the game. Afterward, the Cougars went on a 9-2 run to regain the lead.
Houston senior guard Marcus Sasser went 8-for-8 at the free throw line, all in the second half, and finished with 20 points. J’Wan Roberts scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Although they only hit 3 of their 17 three-point tries, the Cougars forced 18 turnovers that resulted in 22 points.
When the Cougars defeated Tulane on January 17 in New Orleans, it was a similar story. Sasser scored the first eight points of the second half giving Houston a 48-32 lead. Midway through the second half, the Green Wave pulled to within 54-49, but the Cougars responded with seven straight points to increase their lead and go on to win 80-60.
Tulane won its fifth straight game on Saturday by defeating South Florida 84-66, regaining sole ownership of second place after Memphis’ loss to Houston on Sunday. The Green Wave came into their first game against the Cougars also riding a five-game winning streak.
On Saturday, Tulane played its first game in 11 days and started out sluggishly. The Green Wave led 35-31 at halftime despite making only one of their seven first-half three-point tries. The majority of Tulane’s first-half offense was provided by Jalen Cook, who finished with a career-high 30 points.
In the second half, when the Green Wave scored 49 points. At one point, Tulane saw its advantage decrease to 58-52 but rallied with a 22-4 run. The Green Wave matched their season low for turnovers and added 11 steals. With five league games left, the Green Wave have matched their AAC victory total from the previous campaign.
Houston has won ten straight against Tulane. The Cougars are also 8-2 ATS in those ten games. Houston has held Tulane to 57.1 points per game in those last ten contests. The Green Wave are currently the 11th-best scoring team in the country averaging 82.3 points per game. The Over has hit in four of the last six games in the series and in 11 of Tulane’s last 14 games.
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