The Frogs (2-0) take on a new-look SMU Mustangs team (1-0) led by coaching legend Larry Brown
Game Time/TV: 7:00 pm Central/Fox Sports Southwest
Thursday night the Frogs will host the hated SMU Mustangs in a battle that will welcome two new coaches to the rivalry.
Trent Johnson and Larry Brown have gotten both of their teams off to undefeated starts, albeit against relatively weak opposition.
TCU is coming off of a dominating win against Centenary, while SMU won its season opener against Loyola Marymount in impressive fashion, 73-58.
Junior guard Nick Russell filled the stat sheet for the Mustangs in their win, scoring 19 points while collecting five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
His backcourt cohort, sophomore Jalen Jones, also had a decent season opener, scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
SMU’s win can be chalked up to soft competition though, seeing how the Mustangs shot only 39.3% from the floor. It was a similarly auspicious start to the Frogs’ season opener against Cal Poly, where TCU shot 41.9% from the floor.
TCU will also have to make sure to crash the boards hard on both ends of the floor. SMU pulled down 14 offensive rebounds against LMU, which is a terrifying statistic when you consider how the Frogs have allowed 18 offensive rebounds (50 total) in their first two games this year.
Not to mention, the Frogs allowed the much, much smaller Centenary lineup to grab seven offensive boards. Brett Bell, a 6’6" forward for the Gentlemen, pulled down four offensive boards.
Look for similarly sized and equally aggressive Jalen Jones to try to do the same for SMU.
As for the Frogs, let's look for Connell Crossland to pick up where he left off late in the game against Centenary. He was getting to the basket with ease and making this difficult for the Gentlmen "big men".
Also, look for Devonta Abron to continue to improve his game. After a quite game one, Abron made some noise with nine points and seven rebounds. He needs to work on his free throws though, bad.
After the game against Centenary, Coach Johnson said he was most impressed with guard Nate Butler Lind. Butler Lind didn't make waves statistically, but Johnson said he did a great job distributing the ball and playing tough defense.
It's nice to see the coach praising tough play, even when a player doesn't look like he made a difference on the stat sheet.
The attitude of this team has seemingly done a 180 from the previous coaching regime, and fingers crossed it stays that way.
Looking to Thursday's game there’s no doubt that this will be a well-coached Mustangs team with Larry Brown at the helm. However, the Frogs are starting to really buy into Trent Johnson’s system, and it has showed in vast improvements from game one to game two.
Here’s to hoping we see even more improvements in game three.
Score Prediction: TCU 83, SMU 78.