Tulane (15-13) at Houston (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 29th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) -- Houston, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Tulane 12-4, Houston 12-5. Away Record: Tulane 2-9, Houston 0-8. Neutral Record: Tulane 1-2, Houston 1-1. Conference Record: Tulane 3-11, Houston 5-9. Series Record: Tulane leads, 14-13.
GAME NOTES: The Tulane Green Wave hope to snap their season-long, five-game losing streak tonight when they travel to Hofheinz Pavilion to take on the Houston Cougars in Conference USA action.
Tulane began the season hotter than just about anyone and it seemed to be one of C-USA's best teams after a 9-0 start. The Green Wave has faltered since then however, as they are just two games over .500 (15-13) and have performed terribly in conference at a mere 3-11 -- tied for last place with East Carolina and SMU. They dropped their fifth straight decision on Saturday in a 73-69 final against Tulsa.
While Houston has a worse overall record than Tulane at 13-14, it has performed better in C-USA play, sitting ninth in the standings with a 5-9 league ledger. That's not to say the season has been a success however, as the Cougars have collected three losing streaks of three games or more. Things have been looking up though, as they have won two of their last three, including a 62-59 triumph over SMU on Saturday.
Tulane was able to take a 14-13 lead in the all-time series with Houston by claiming a 75-54 victory in the first meeting this season in New Orleans on February 4. The Cougars are 9-5 against the Green Wave in games played in Houston over the years.
Though Tulane has the conference's second-best defense, allowing just 60.4 ppg at 41.3 percent field goal efficiency, it has not been helped by its poor offense, which ranks ninth at 65.6 ppg. The script was flipped on Saturday however, as the Green Wave had a solid night shooting the ball at 47.1 percent overall and 8-of-19 from three-point range, but they ultimately lost by allowing Tulsa to connect on 54 percent of its field goal attempts. Ricky Tarrant continued his impressive freshman season by tallying 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals. Tarrant is the league's fifth-leading scorer (15.7 ppg) and he has been even better of late, averaging 22.5 ppg over the last six games. Jordan Callahan nets 12 ppg as Tarrant's running mate at the guard position, while Josh Davis adds 10.6 ppg and 9.3 rpg to the mix.
Houston has been impressive at the offensive end of the floor this season, ranking third in C-USA in both scoring (71.6 ppg) and field goal percentage (.464). The reasons for the Cougars' struggles can be pretty easily explained by their poor defense, which ranks last in the league by a large margin, as they surrender 72.3 ppg, making them one of just two teams in the conference with a negative scoring margin. They were able to buck the trend in Saturday's win however by holding SMU to a lowly 40.4 percent shooting effort. A solid offensive night was paced by freshman Joseph Young, who scored a career-high 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and he converted a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. Young (11.5 ppg) is one of four Cougars who average double figures in points, joining Jonathon Simmons (14.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Alandise Harris (12.9 ppg) and TaShawn Thomas (10.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg).
To pile on top of Tulane's cold streak, it has just two wins on the road this season in 11 tries, while Houston has won 12 of 17 home games. After struggling through much of the season, the Cougars seem to be clicking at the right time, and they will ride that momentum past the Green Wave tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 71, Tulane 66
02/29 10:41:36 ET