The TCU Horned Frogs will take the court with the season on the line Wednesday as the nightcap of the first day of the Big 12 tournament, with a hard draw if they're going to extend their season to the weekend. First up on the docket will be the Texas Longhorns, who are one of the hottest teams in the league at present. Ever since the return of their sophomore star Myck Kabongo Texas has been playing much better basketball, pulling off upsets over Baylor and Oklahoma and managing to escape Lubbock with a win to crawl up from the eighth spot to seventh in the league to secure the honor of hosting the Frogs in the first round. For TCU to win against Texas the Frogs will have to limit their turnovers and keep their bigs out of foul trouble- the key to Oklahoma's run in the second half. If TCU's bigs are forced to play timidly again Texas' size inside will eat us up for second chance points. Kyan Anderson will also have to be on the top of his game to limit the drives of the dangerous Kabongo, but look for Trent Johnson to utilize a lot more of the 2-3 zone in this one to limit penetration as well if Anderson can't stay in front of him early. Finally, as always, it will be important for TCU to start the game well as the frogs simply don't have the firepower to overcome huge deficits like OU did.
This is a tough matchup for the frogs, but TCU has played, in my opinion, its two best basketball games of the season the last two times they've hit the hardwood. It might not be enough to beat a team like Kansas State in round two, but it's enough to give me hope that the Frogs can stay in this game and even win it- Texas isn't as good as Oklahoma and the frogs played Kansas State much tougher on the road than Texas even with Myck Kabongo back. Don't be surprised if TCU finds itself in another purple war with the wildcats in round two, but make sure to stop by the gamethread whatever you think the game outcome will be as we'll be debuting the TCU basketball drinking game to help keep everyone entertained until the final buzzer. Happy basketball everyone, we have at least one more chance to see TCU make a lot of people very upset this year.
The winner of TCU/Texas will go on to play #2 seed Kansas State in the quarterfinals, the winner of that game will play the winner of Baylor/Oklahoma State in the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, West Virginia and Texas Tech will square off to see who gets the honor of being the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks victim in the quarterfinals, while Oklahoma will play Iowa State for a bit of last minute NCAA resume polishing in the other quarterfinal. Here are your HawkeyedPicks for round 1 of the tourney.
TCU over Texas 65-61. The Frogs streak of good play continues, finally avoiding a deep hole at halftime before pulling it out in the end.
West Virginia over Texas Tech 72-58. Tough to call, but West Virginia is a team that comes from a huge conference tournament environment- The Big 12 tournament will seem easy in comparison (at least in the first round).
Feel free to post your own thoughts on how round one of the tourney will play out in the comments. Go Frogs!