The Tulane Green Wave heads to Orlando under the direction of former NBA Coach of the Year, Mike Dunleavy Sr. On Thursday, the Green Wave squares off against the Oklahoma Sooners in the first round of the Tire Pros Invitational. With Davidson, Xavier, Missouri, and Clemson waiting on the other side of the bracket, OU will likely find themselves with a real test in Orlando.
Regardless,here are three keys to a first round win over Tulane.
Force Shooters Off The Three Point Line
Although we are early in the season, the Green Wave appears to be a team capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc with consistency. Against then No. 6 North Carolina, an 11-of-23 start from three point land kept the game closer than some anticipated. Junior, Cameron Reynolds averages 17 points per game while shooting an eye opening 60% from distance.
Following suit, sophomore Kain Harris knocks down 54.5% of his three-point jumpers. Earning a mere 21 minutes of playing time, Kain makes the most of open opportunities to the tune of 17 points per game as well. If these two begin to find a rhythm, it could be the difference maker in a 40-minute contest.
Clean The Glass
Let’s be honest, the Green Wave isn’t the best rebounding team in the nation or anywhere near it. However, ranking 41st nationally in offensive rebounds at 17 per game (I’m sensing a trend of 17 here…), Tulane regularly earns second chance opportunities. Hoping to slow down the likes of Ryan Smith on the boards, the Sooners will contine to rely on a handful of youngsters.
Dante Buford suspension continues to toss minutes towards freshmen Kristian Doolittle and Matt Freeman. Being one game into the year, fans aren’t quite sure what to expect from this crop of talent. What happens when a physically dominate opponent steps on to the court ready for battle? Only time will tell.
Nonetheless, rebounds eliminate second chance points for the opposition while creating fast break opportunities and easy buckets. Which brings me to my last point…
Push The Pace
Since day one, Coach Lon Kruger has implemented an up-tempo style of play and he has recruited the athletes to do so — especially during the non-conference portion of the schedule. With bigs capable of running the floor, it’s certainly a strength Oklahoma needs to continue to play up throughout the duration of the season.
The up-tempo style of play has created a stiff challenge for Tulane in the past — given the sample size here being one un Dunleavy. Failing to provide a defense with the ability to limit transition scoring opportunities could be what dooms the Green Wave.