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TCU Basketball Preview: Tennessee State

The Frogs look to wrap up non-conference play tonight before entering the Big 12 gauntlet as the Conference's last remaining undefeated team.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight's contest between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Tennessee State Tigers features two programs beginning their seasons on different notes.  The Frogs enter the game with a perfect 12-0 record, looking to enter conference play undefeated for the first time in program history. The Tigers, on the other hand, come to Fort Worth in the midst of a 10-game losing streak.

The Tigers, out of the Ohio Valley Conference, are 2-11 on the season but are still looking for their first win against a Division-I opponent. Tennessee State defeated a pair of NAIA opponents - Reinhardt University and Fisk University - at home to begin their season. The Tigers enter the contest at the end of a grueling eight-game road trip that last saw Tennessee State fall 67-46 at Tennessee.

The Tigers offense, which averages 58.7 points per game, is led by a pair of guards, junior Marcus Roper and senior Jay Harris. The duo averages 22.8 points per game, and have accounted for nearly 39% of the team's total scoring output. Roper and Harris will look to break a TCU defense that is one of the best in the country statistically. The Frogs possess the nation's 8th best scoring defense, holding opponents to an average of 54.3 points per game.

Additionally, TCU is 6th in the country in field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot an average of just 34.1%. The Tigers have struggled to score this season, shooting only 39.1% from the field through 13 games. The Tigers could be in for a long night on their own defensive end as well. Opponents have scored just under 70 points per game this season against the Tigers, while the Frogs are averaging 76.5 points per game.

In the Frogs' last two contests, Trent Johnson has subbed out his entire starting lineup at the first media timeout due to slow starts. The Frogs will look to buck that trend and start hot tonight, which might be difficult with this being the first game after a week long winter break. If all goes according to plan, look for the starters to get some early work in before Trent Johnson opens the game up to the reserves.

Much like last week's contest against Grambling State, tonight should provide an opportunity for Amric Fields and Devonta Abron to continue to strengthen after missing playing time with injuries last season. Both Fields and Abron got about 15 minutes of playing time against Grambling. Chauncey Collins and Kenrich Williams have provided a spark for TCU off the bench this season, and tonight should be no different.

Tonight's game should also provide another good opportunity for each player to see some significant playing time. The Frogs' reserves have made the most of these opportunities thus far this season.  Last week, Charles Hill and Michael Williams combined for 15 points despite playing just seven minutes apiece.

Even with the mismatches in tonight's contest, the Frogs do have quite a bit to play for. This is the last opportunity for TCU to work on things before beginning Big 12 play against the 17th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday. After tonight's game, 9 of TCU's next 11 opponents are ranked. The Frogs are also looking to make a statement after being knocked out of the AP Top 25 poll this week despite a 41-point victory last Monday. A win tonight would also move the current winning streak to 13 games, which would be the third-longest winning streak in program history.

One last note about tonight's contest: due to a scheduling conflict at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, the game will be played at the University Recreation Center on the TCU campus. The 700-seat facility is home the permanent home of TCU Volleyball and the temporary home of TCU Women's Basketball. With TCU averaging over 3,600 fans per game at the WGAC, tonight should provide a cozy environment.

TCU Projected Starters

Tennessee State Projected Starters


Kyan Anderson

13.2 ppg, 4.4 apg


Demontez Loman

4.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg


Trey Zeigler

7.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg


Christian Mekowulu

6.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg


Brandon Parrish

7.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg


Marcus Roper

11.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg


Chris Washburn

7.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg


Charles Tucker

5.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg


Karviar Shephed

7.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg


Darreon Reddick

6.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Here are other game notes, courtesy of

  • TCU is 12-0 for the first time in school history.
  • It is the best start to a season since going 9-0 in 1997-98, which was the last time the Frogs made the NCAA Tournament.
  • TCU is 27-4 when leading at the half under head coach Trent Johnson.
  • TCU has now held 24 opponents to 59 points or less under Trent Johnson.
  • TCU out-rebounded its opponent for the 11th time this season vs. Grambling State.
  • TCU captured its first regular-season tournament title since 1991 by winning the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic.
  • TCU has already bettered its win total from a year ago.
  • Kyan Anderson is No. 10 all-time in scoring in program history with 1,341 points.
  • Anderson only needs 86 more points to move into No. 9 all-time.
  • Anderson now has 19 20-point games in his four-year career after scoring 21 against Furman.
  • TCU is 8-3 when Karviar Shepherd grabs double-digit boards.
  • Kenrich Williams has scored in double-figures in seven of the 12 games this season.
  • Williams was named the tournament MVP at the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic.
  • Chauncey Collins posted a career-high in points with 13 against Grambling State