The first road conference game of the season is going to be a big ask for the basketball Frogs as TCU heads into the unfriendly confines of the Ferrell Center (henceforth referred to as the Feral Center) to take on our old nemeses the Baylor Bears. The Bears are presently ranked 9th in the nation (until their loss to Iowa State can be factored in the polls) so this is a chance for TCU to not only pick up its first road win over a ranked team since 1998, but their second win over a top 10 team in as many seasons (we own Kansas), but with that opportunity comes the unfortunate fact that Baylor has a very talented team (as they seem to every year under coach Scott Drew) and beating the Bears in Waco will be difficult. Difficult, yes, but not as impossible as it may seem, as Baylor's weakness in ball handling plays into TCU's (relative) strengths of smart defense and quick hands by Kyan Anderson. TCU is the Big 12's best team at taking care of the ball, so if TCU could win the turnover margin by seven or more it would be a great boon to the team. Here are Hawk's three keys to a TCU victory:
1. Force turnovers- As mentioned above, the Bears are susceptible to coughing the ball up, especially when their bigs are double teamed in the paint, which plays into the strengths of Fields and Shepherd. If the Frogs can force turnovers inside early the Bears may be left on the outside of TCU's zone with nowhere to go.
2. Don't get obliterated on the boards- Yes, TCU is not likely to win the rebounding battle against a very athletic Baylor frontcourt, but there are various levels of losing, and TCU can't expect to win if they give Baylor a whole host of second chance points. The Frogs may have to play more aggressively on the offensive glass to keep up with Baylor offensively (which may lead to some fast breaks the other way) but it's a risk worth taking to stay in the game.
3. Use time outs effectively- For all the good Trent Johnson has done as coach of the Frogs, I think he needs to be a bit quicker in using his time outs to stop a run. He does a great job of drawing up set plays, his defense switches are excellent and he's a great recruiter, but against a team like Baylor that can get hot and roll up 10-12 straight points, so using the time outs judiciously will be key.
These are the three biggest factors (beyond the obvious "It sure would be nice if TCU made every shotl" or "It would hep if Baylor's team didn't show up") so let's see if the Frogs can pull off the upset in the feral center and make our winter a little brighter. This is your gamethread.
Baylor Delenda Est