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Bearcats Basketball Opponent Preview: Tulane

NCAA Basketball: Tulane at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Cincinnati Bearcats go on the road to face Tulane in their first road game of conference play. Cincinnati is coming off a New Year’s Day victory over UConn and enters this game with a record of 8-5. Of those 5 losses, 4 of them have come away from home and Cincinnati is 0-2 in true road games.

How to Watch

If you aren’t in New Orleans, you can watch this game is at 4:00pm ET on CBS Sports Network.

About Tulane

This isn’t the same old Tulane. These guys are actually good at basketball.

Tulane started 3-0 and won 7 of their first 8 games. An impressive start, after going 4-27 in 2018-19. They are now 8-5 overall, but enter this game on a 3 game losing streak and losers of 4 of their last 5 games. They lost their AAC opener 84-73 to Memphis.

They also have losses to Akron, Saint Louis, and Towson. They have wins over Utah and Middle Tennessee State.

Green Wave are coached by Ron Hunter. Hunter, formerly coached at Georgia State, and faced Cincinnati as a 15 seed in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

Tulane can score - they average 73 ppg. But what they really struggle to do is rebound and pass. They averaged 32.5 rpg (ranked 391) and just 12.2 assists per game (ranked 307). Cincinnati averages 38 rpg and 14 apg.

Tulane is ranked #206 in the latest Kenpom rankings and their latest NET ranking is 134. For comparison, Cincinnati is 50 in Kenpom and 81 in NET.

Players to Watch

Tulane overhauled their entire roster from last year to this year. If you thought the transition Cincinnati went through was rough, it was easy compared to Tulane. At least Cincinnati had Jarron Cumberland, Keith Williams, and Trevon Scott coming back.

Tulane had 8 primary rotation players, who all play 18 or more minutes per game. Among them, four of their five top scorers are transfers, the other redshirted last season, one is a freshman, and two guys return from last year’s team.

The name KJ Lawson may ring a bell to some. Lawson began his career at Memphis, with his brother Dedric. Lawson started 31 of 32 games in 2016-17, averaging 12.3 ppg and 8.3 rpg. After sitting out a year, he and his brother played for Kansas last season. He played under 10 mpg and made little impact.

Now for Tulane, Lawson is playing almost 36 mpg, averaging 14.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg. The team’s leading scorer is Teshaun Hightower, who is averaging 17 ppg. Hightower played for Georgia the last two seasons, where he averaged just 5.1 ppg.

Their other double-digit scorer is Christion Thompson, who is scoring 12.6 ppg and leads the team in rebounds (6. 2 rpg), assists (2 apg), and steals (2 spg). Thompson began his career playing for Rhode Island.

Series history

In 41 all-time meetings, Cincinnati holds a 27-14 lead.

Since the formation of the AAC and Tulane’s arrival in the conference, Cincinnati is 6-1 vs Tulane, having won the last 6 games. Tulane’s win came in 2015 on a crazy buzzer beater at Fifth Third Arena.