Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#737 Tulane -1.5 vs.
#738 East Carolina 137.5
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 6:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#737 Tulane University
#738 East Carolina University
10-8
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It’s a battle of programs from the AAC on the parquet floor in the Tar Heel State. The Tulane Green Wave is on the road as they battle the East Carolina Pirates Saturday evening. Tulane comes in off a 67-54 home defeat in their previous game, which came last Saturday against Tulsa. East Carolina was drubbed 84-64 on the road by SMU in their last contest Wednesday night. The Green Wave owns a 14-13 edge in the all-time series but the Pirates have won the last three meetings. That includes an 85-81 road win in the most recent matchup on February 23, 2019.

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Tulane Green Wave Looking to Get Back on Track

Tulane started the season strongly enough but things have fallen apart since that point in time. The Green Wave comes into this game 10-8 on the year and 2-4 in the AAC as Frank Haith’s group is in a bit of a tailspin. Tulane started the year 7-1 with their lone loss in that stretch coming to Mississippi State on a neutral floor. Since then, the Green Wave has gone just 3-7 and they come in off back to back double-digit defeats. The signature win for Tulane so far this season was a victory at home over Cincinnati back on January 4.

The Green Wave comes into this contest 219th in the nation in scoring offense with 70 points per game. Tulane grabs an average of 31.8 boards a night while the team stands 311th by handing out 11.6 dimes a contest. The Green Wave is slightly above average defensively as they are giving up 68.2 points per game, which leaves them 156th in scoring defense. Teshaun Hightower leads Tulane with 16.3 points plus 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game on the year. K.J. Lawson chips in 14 points, 5.7 boards plus 2.4 dimes a contest while Jordan Walker (8.4 points) and Christion Thompson (12.6 points, 6.2 rebounds) are solid options on the offensive end. Nick Thomas, Kevin Zhang and Nobal Days are guys that are leaned on for quality minutes in the rotation. Tulane shoots 42.3 percent from the floor as a team on the season. The Green Wave knocks down an average of eight triples a night while sinking 35.8 percent of their long-range attempts. Tulane is mediocre at the charity stripe as they convert 71.3 percent of their chances on the year.

According to KenPom, the Green Wave is a middle of the road kind of team so they should even things out as the season wears on. Tulane is 157th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 182nd in defensive efficiency on the season. The Green Wave is 47th in turnover percentage (16.9 percent) and 68th in three-point percentage on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively, Tulane is good at forcing turnovers (16th in turnover percentage with a 23.9 percent mark) but struggles when opponents actually get shots off (266th in effective field goal percentage at 51.9 percent) this season. The Green Wave is a methodical team, ranking 250th in tempo as they average 67 possessions per contest.

East Carolina Pirates Hoping to Bounce Back From Blowout

East Carolina has been up and down this season and they have work to do in order to get back to the .500 mark on the year. Joe Dooley’s club is 8-11 overall and 2-4 in the AAC entering this contest. The Pirates won their opener and then promptly dropped seven of their next eight games to start the year 2-7. East Carolina quickly responded with four straight wins and six victories in a seven-game stretch to climb to 8-8. Their lone loss in that stretch was a six-point road defeat to Wichita State. Since then, the Pirates have dropped three straight with all of the losses coming by at least 16 points. That included a 20-point loss in their last outing against SMU, a team they beat by three at home less than two weeks prior.

The Pirates are putting up an average of just 68.7 points per game so far this season, which puts them 249th in scoring offense this season. East Carolina collects 34.9 rebounds per game while dishing out 13.7 assists per contest. The Pirates have been struggling on the defensive end of the floor as they come in 245th in scoring defense by allowing 71.8 points a night. Jayden Gardner leads the team with 20.6 points plus 9.1 rebounds per game on the season. Brandon Suggs (10.1 points) is the only other player averaging in double figures this season. Tristen Newton, Tyrie Jackson, Tremont Robinson-White, J.J. Miles and Bitumba Baruti all are going to be looked to contribute for the Pirates to have success. East Carolina is shooting 41.7 percent from the field as a team this season. The Pirates knock down 5.5 triples a night on just 28.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. East Carolina has to be better than their current 71.8 percent mark at the charity stripe.

The KenPom numbers show that East Carolina might be fortunate to be as close to .500 as they are as the team simply doesn’t move the needle much in any facet. East Carolina is 246th in the nation in both offensive and defensive efficiency on the season. The Pirates are 291st in effective field goal percentage (46.5 percent) and stand 335th in three-point shooting this season. On defense, they are in the middle of the pack at best in most categories though they are 109th in block percentage (10.3 percent) this season. The Pirates play at a fast pace as they are 69th in tempo with 70.5 possessions per game.

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East Carolina is at home but the fact remains that they haven’t had much success against decent teams this year. The Pirates’ best win was that narrow home triumph against SMU but their next best win was a three-point home win over South Florida, who is 139th in the KenPom rankings. Tulsa has struggled with seven losses in their last 10 games but they have multiple players that they can go to in crunch time when they need a bucket. East Carolina has problems if Gardner is held in check or is in foul trouble. The Pirates haven’t developed secondary scoring options and that’s been a problem. That continues here as Tulane gets back on the winning track, at least temporarily, by winning here.

Prediction: Tulane Green Wave -1.5

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East Carolina has had their issues on both ends of the floor this season. Defensively, the Pirates are going to have to contend with a Tulane team that is decent from the perimeter. East Carolina has had problems stopping the three-point shot as they see opponents take 42.6 percent of their field goal attempts from beyond the arc (305th in the country) and they are 204th in three-point field goal percentage defense this season. The Pirates will play at a quick clip and if the Green Wave is comfortable with that, they should be able to put up enough points on the board to push this one over the number.

Prediction: Over 139.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.