Tulsa closed the non-conference schedule with three consecutive losses but the Golden Hurricane have bounced back to win three of their first four AAC contests. Meanwhile, Tulane is off to a 2-3 start in conference play and the Green Wave have suddenly dropped five of their last seven games. Can Tulane bounce back at home against an improving Tulsa team on Saturday afternoon?
Tulsa wins second straight AAC contestTulsa picked up its second consecutive conference victory on Wednesday night, defeating East Carolina on the road 65-49. Brandon Rachall scored a team-high 21 points while Jeriah Horne added 14 points for the Golden Hurricane in the win.
Frank Haith’s squad enters the weekend slotted at No. 105 in the latest KenPom rankings after winning three of their previous four conference games. The Golden Hurricane have scored 101.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (168th in the NCAA) but that number has plummeted to a paltry 90.6 points per 100 possessions during conference play (11th in the AAC). Through four league games, Tulsa has shot just 26.4 percent from beyond the arc (11th in the AAC) while turning the ball over on 20.2 percent of their offensive possessions (7th in the AAC), which has hampered their efficiency on offense.
Instead, Tulsa has managed to stay in games by ramping up their effort on the defensive end of the floor, where they’ve limited opponents to just 94.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (78th in the NCAA). The Golden Hurricane have improved on that number in league play too, limiting opponents to just 85.8 points per 100 possessions (2nd in the AAC) while forcing them to turn the ball over 23.2 percent of the time (3rd in the AAC). They’ve also held AAC opponents to an effective field goal percentage of just 42.0 percent (3rd in the AAC), including only 24.8 percent shooting from 3-point range (2nd in the AAC).
Tulane falls short at home vs. UCFTulane was unable to keep its momentum going on Tuesday, falling short at home 74-55 to UCF. Christion Thompson led the way with 19 points while Nic Thomas came off of the bench to finish with 12 points for the Green Wave, who never led and trailed by as many as 32 points midway through the second half.
Ron Hunter’s first season at Tulane has had its fair share of ups-and-downs but the former Georgia State coach found a way to survive a tough AAC schedule to open the conference season. The Green Wave have won two of their first five conference contests, four of which were either Tier-A or Tier-B games, and they come in slotted at No. 165 in the latest KenPom rankings. Tulane has scored 102.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (145th in the NCAA) and they have turned the ball over 16.9 percent of the time (48th in the NCAA) on offense. Through five league games, the Green Wave ranks first in the conference in turnover rate (16.0 percent), 3-point shooting (36.9 percent), and free-throw shooting (76.9 percent) but they have shot just 42.2 percent from inside the arc (10th in the AAC), which has limited their efficiency on offense.
Defensively, the Green Wave have left a lot to be desired, especially on the glass. Tulane has surrendered 101.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (188th in the NCAA) and that number has jumped to 102.6 points per 100 possessions during conference play. They have also allowed AAC opponents to sport an offensive rebounding rate of 33.5 percent (12th in the AAC) and opposing teams have shot a healthy 55.1 percent from 2-point range against the Green Wave defense (11th in the AAC) during conference play.