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Pick on the spread for Houston-Tulane on January 17

VSiN’s Greg Peterson goes over the best betting options for Tuesday’s college basketball matchup between the Houston Cougars and Tulane Green Wave.

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NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Tulane Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Cougars come into this Tuesday road tilt as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation and get to face a Tulane Green Wave squad in search of their first win over a ranked team since defeating the NC State Wolfpack on December 22, 1999.

Houston Cougars (-11, 147.5) vs. Tulane Green Wave

Houston is ranked second in the nation in both overall points allowed on a per-possession basis and points per possession allowed away from home, having allowed more than 65 points in just two of its 18 games this season.

Tulane will look to break through the defense with its backcourt duo comprised of Jalen Cook and Jaylen Forbes, who combine for 37.5 points and four steals per game and, as a squad, post the third-fewest turnovers on a per-possession basis.

Both Cook and Forbes are shooting at least 89.5% at the free-throw line while the team is collectively shooting 82.1% at the free-throw line, good for second in the nation.

For everything that the Cougars do well on defense, their opponents take advantage of the free-throw line, with 22.4% of the points they allow being via made free throws — a percentage that ranks 30th among 363 Division I teams.

Houston also plays at a much more controlled pace, ranking 335th in possessions per game, while Tulane is one of the fastest teams in the nation, ranking 11th in possessions per game.

The only other time Houston has faced a team ranked in the top 65 in possessions per game was when they lost 71-65 to the Alabama Crimson Tide. With Tulane’s ability to maximize possessions with fundamentally sound basketball, the nation’s top team will get much more than they bargained for on Tuesday.

The Play: Tulane +11

Get Peterson’s spread and total lines for every game on the college basketball board.

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