The big dogs: Tulane men’s basketball ready to take on No. 10 Cincinnati

Tulane men’s basketball has had quite the rollercoaster season to say the least. The team started off the year hot with wins over numerous non-conference opponents. In-conference, however, the story has been quite a bit different.

The Green Wave began conference play on Dec. 28 against Temple University. Though this game turned out in the Wave’s favor, the tides swiftly turned later.

Since that initial American Conference win over Temple, the Wave has won only 27 percent of conference games. Though the team gave No. 11 Wichita State a challenge and beat a now-ranked University of Houston on Jan. 17, conference play has overall been a struggle.

The team’s hardships culminated in a recent six-game slide beginning on Feb. 4. This streak was only broken with this past Saturday’s victory over the University of South Florida. Though times have been tough, the Wave has hope for an ultimate turnaround against the No. 10 University of Cincinnati Bearcats this Thursday.

The Bearcats have a stellar in-conference record of 14-2. Cincinnati’s two conference losses come against ranked teams: Houston and Wichita State. Outside of conference, the Bearcats have two other losses, one to No. 3 Xavier University and the other to the University of Florida, leaving the team with an overall record of 25-4.

In addition to a stellar record, the Bearcats have the most effective defense in the American Athletic Conference, limiting opponents to a mere 56.8 points per game. The Wave serves as stark contrast, allowing 81.6 points per game.

So, does the Green Wave have a chance? Tulane has struggled in conference, but has also beaten Houston, a team the Bearcats fell to on Feb. 15. In addition, the Green Wave hung in with No. 11 Wichita State for the majority of the Feb. 23 matchup. This close game, considered alongside the Wave’s recent turnaround win at USF, gives Tulane at least some reason for hope.

Thursday’s matchup of the Bearcats and the Wave will be nationally televised on ESPN. The game will be played at home in Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse. Though the Green Wave comes in as the absolute underdog, the stage will be set for a perfect upset.

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