The Tulsa Golden Hurricane and Houston Cougars meet in an AAC showdown at the Fertitta Arena at the University of Houston. Tulsa is looking to stay afloat in the conference race after advancing to 8-4 with a victory over Memphis, 58-57, on Sunday. It was an impressive defensive clinic by the Cougars, as they tightened the bolts following a 72-53 loss against Wichita State last Wednesday. That was the worst performance we’ve seen from Tulsa this season.
They’ve generally been a reliable and competitive team. That includes a 65-64 win over Houston on December 12 in Oklahoma. Houston is one of four ranked teams scheduled to suit up on Wednesday on the college hardwood. The Cougars are the highest ranked team at No. 8, while Wisconsin checks in at No. 10, Creighton at No. 11, and Clemson at No. 20. Tulsa may not be a ranked squad, but sweeping the season series against Houston would look good on their NCAA Tournament resume.
It appears that Tulsa might be a bubble team if they can play well down the stretch. They’re currently second in the AAC with a record of 5-2 in the conference, and an overall record of 8-4. The Golden Hurricane must use their hard nosed defense to their advantage on Wednesday, but they’re going to be dealing with a Cougars team that will be out for revenge tonight. Tulsa took advantage of an uninterested Houston squad earlier in the year in their 65-64 win. The problem for Tulsa is that the Cougars are different at home.
They are likely going to see a much different effort from Houston tonight. Houston is coming off an impressive 75-58 win over the UCF Knights just after a 71-50 win against the Tulane Green Wave. Following the loss against Tulsa, the Cougars beat SMU, 74-60, Wichita State, 70-63, Tulane, 71-50, and UCF, 75-58. Head below for our free Tulsa vs. Houston pick on January 20, 2021.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Houston Cougars NCAA Betting Odds:
Tulsa vs. Houston Prediction:
Tulsa and Houston like to do some of the same things on the court. They both rely on an aggressive defense to neutralize the opposing offense. However, Houston is better at accomplishing their goals. Yes, Tulsa beat Houston in their first meeting this season, and I give them a lot of credit for that, but if Tulsa and Houston play on a neutral court ten times, Houston is going to win more than five times.
The Cougars are one of the best in the country statistically on the defensive floor, with just 56.5 points conceded per game. Their offense hasn’t been that bad either, having scored 73.3 points per game. They have the better offense over the Golden Hurricane, a team that has scored 67.8 points per game on the season. Tulsa was able to get by at home against Houston, but it should be a different scenario on the road.
Note that Tulsa’s offensive efficiency drops significantly from 67.8 points a game overall to just 60 points a game per outing on the road. Against a Houston that is likely going to be hungrier after they lost against the Golden Hurricane squad earlier in the year, scoring could be a bit of a problem for Tulsa on Wednesday night. Note that Houston has yielded only 55.8 points per game defensively at home.
However, the good news is that defense has travelled for Tulsa. They have allowed 59.5 points per game as a visitor. That is how they are going to have to win in this one. I don’t know if they’re going to pull it off, it’s a big ask, but in any event, we should see a low-scoring final score between two stingy defenses. Don’t expect Tulsa to get to 65 points here like they did in the first meeting. That alone should be able to keep this game UNDER the total.