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Layup Line: Tulane

One of those "mystery" teams in the AAC - a team the Bearcats haven't played in a decade - the Tulane Green Wave head north of the Mason-Dixon line to take on UC at home.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Valentine's Day holds a special place in my heart - or at least that's what my wife would like you to think. Sure, I go the extra mile - surprise flowers, a mushy card, thrift store underwear.

Kidding about the card...

And on Valentine's Day this year, the Cincinnati Bearcats welcome the Tulane Green Wave to campus, and we're all hoping for a massacre, right?

  • Game: Saturday, February 14 @ 2:00pm ET
  • Location: Fifth Third Arena; Cincinnati, OH
  • TV/Radio: ESPNU; 700 WLW

Tulane's one of two teams in the AAC this year that the Bearcats have yet to face so far. And the story for the Bearcats lately has been a simple one, right? In games where they've turned the ball over 10 or less times, they've only lost once this year. And when they've turned it over 11 or more times? 6 losses this year.

The Green Wave are active on defense - they average 6.7 steals a game (compared to UC's 7.1), so that's respectable. But they don't hold on to the ball all that well, actually committing more turnovers than the Bearcats. And after watching more than a few UC games this year, I find it hard to believe anyone turns the ball over more than the 'Cats.

Scoring-wise for the Green Wave, it's become the Louis Dabney (#00 in your program) show in conference play. He leads their team in scoring at 13.6, but he's averaging a full point more during AAC play. The good news is that he wears double-zero. That's the first sign of weakness on the basketball court.

What the 'Cats have to do to win:

  • Be patient on O. The Green Wave defend the 3-point line fairly well, but they also put teams on the free throw line. Share the ball on offense (it is Valentine's Day, afterall) and wait for a good shot on offense. Worst case? Get on the free throw line.
  • Watch the middle of the zone. I love this new-fangled matchup zone the Bearcats have been playing this year, but far too often over the last week have teams gotten in the middle of the zone with ease.
  • Dominate the paint. Tulane doesn't block a crazy amount of shots, and their top 3 scorers are all guards. The Bearcats should be able to exploit an advantage down low.

How am I spending this holiday of love, you ask? Well, I'm ditching the wife and kid and heading to Fifth Third Arena with my dad. What can I say - I'm a hopeless romantic.

As you read yesterday, the Bearcats have a relatively easy portion of the AAC schedule left. And then there's that game against the crosstown rivals next week (more on that in the future). This is the perfect time to get hot, and it all starts with Tulane: Bearcats win 67-55.