Time/TV: 7:00 pm Central/Big 12 Network
Oklahoma State made waves earlier this season when they knocked of #6 NC State in convincing fashion. Things only got better, as they jumped out to a 10-1 start on the season. however, they've lost their last two contests (by a total of 7 points) to #10 Gonzaga and #25 Kansas State. Nonetheless, TCU will be hard pressed to come away from this game with a win.
The Cowboys are led by guard tandem Markel Brown and Marcus Smart, who are combining to score over 28 points per game (they're ranked 7th and 8th in the Big 12 in scoring, respectively.). Scoring isn't all these guys are good for though. Brown has the record for most shots blocked by a guard in Oklahoma State history, with 65. Meanwhile, Smart ranks in the top 15 in the Big 12 in all five major categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks). From okstate.com:
Marcus Smart fills the stat sheet better than anyone else in the league. He is the only player in the Big 12 Conference who ranks among the top-15 statistically in all five major categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots). Smart leads the league in steals, is fifth in assists, is 11th in blocked shots, ranks eighth in scoring and is 15th in rebounding. He is also fifth in minutes played, ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio, 10th in free-throw percentage and 11th in defensive rebounds. That’s nine different statistical categories in which he ranks among the Big 12’s top 15.
Defensively, Oklahoma State is averaging 5.3 blocks per game as a team, something that will surely play a role in this game. TCU, while being a jump shot team, needs to be able to create those shots by driving to the basket, and sometimes taking shots around the rim. If that option is consistently closed off, it becomes difficult to create. An already inconsistent offense then becomes stagnant.
As always, rebounding will be a major factor tonight. The Frogs actually managed to out rebound Texas Tech, but abysmal shooting negated the effort on the glass. Oklahoma State has 6'11" center Phillip Jurick clogging up the middle, and he pulls down almost seven boards a game.
In short, this is going to be a very difficult game for TCU to win.
Kyan Anderson, Garlon Green, Adrick Mckinney and Devonta Abron will all need to play near perfect games for the Frogs to be in this one late. The key here will be defense. If the Frogs can make life difficult for Brown and Smart, they stand a chance.
It's a small chance, but a chance nonetheless.