Now that our long, national nightmare is over - the Frogs have broken their conference road losing streak - it's time to go on a winning streak, is it not? That won't be easy, as the #20 Longhorns, who are fresh off of wiping the floor with the Eers in Austin, come to the Wilkie. In addition to beating a ranked WVU squad, Texas has taken down UConn when they were #24, but fell to #1 Kentucky and #16 Oklahoma at home, and come in with an overall record of 13-4. We are bringing back Keys to Victory to break down this big game for the Frogs.
D UP: For all their talent, UT hasn't quite found their groove on O, scoring only 70ppg. Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor has just recently returned to the lineup, and as he shakes off the rust, he will likely help increase that number, both as a scorer and creator. Taylor is just one of four Horns who score in double figures, and he, along with impressive freshman Myles Turner, are what make UT hum. Turner joins Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley in the front court, and the trio scores 32 ppg. The size and length will be tough for TCU's front line of Karviar Shepherd, Chris Washburn, Devonta Abron, Kenrich Williams, and Amric Fields to defend inside, as they will give up size in both height and weight to the big guys for the Horns. Where the Frogs can make a big impact defensively will be on the guards, where they can use their quickness to bother the primary ball handlers and tighten the passing windows to make it hard to get the ball inside. The guards are fairly average shooters from deep, so the opportunity to drop in some and clog the passing lanes will be there. They have yet to shoot the three well in conference play, going 13-42 as they went 0 for Oklahoma in consecutive losses to the Sooners and Cowboys, and weren't much better against WVU, but were able to break the press and score inside so it didn't matter as much. Against the Frogs and their half court D, will the Horns have to get hot from deep to stretch the defense, or will they continue to shoot it poorly and allow TCU to double down inside? TCU also is one of the best shot blocking squads in the country, so they may be able to erase some easy looks inside.
Is the O Efficient or Offensive?: The Frogs have struggled to get looks on the offensive end in Big 12 play, as they have turned it over at a fairly alarming rate thus far. When they do get a shot off, they are in the middle of the pack in the country in conversion rate, hitting on 44% on their attempts. Guards Trey Ziegler and Kyan Anderson will need to cut down on their giveaways against a good Texas D to allow the offense be productive. Anderson is the only Frog averaging double digits on the year, but the change in the starting lineup to go with Enrich Williams seemed to spark the team against Tech. Williams was averaging eight points off of the bench, but he is a guy who can fill it up in a hurry, and could be a difference maker in today's game.
Crash the Boards: TCU has been a good rebounding team this year, but Texas is a great one. The Horns board it as well as anyone in the country, averaging 43 per game, which is the fourth best mark in the country. Their combination of size and length give opposing teams fits, and it will be critical that TCU gets four guys in the paint every time a shot goes up. Williams, Shepherd, and Washburn have been the best on the glass for the Frogs, but Fields is a guy who will need to pick it up on the offensive and defensive boards to help negate the Horns advantage their. Offensive rebounds and second chance opportunities will burn Coach Johnson's team, so getting a body on someone and learning space will be crucial to the game plan. Rebounds also lend well to transition opportunities, which may be TCU's best chance to score.
Texas is a really good team just starting to play their best basketball, and a tough matchup for TCU. But the Frogs are coming off their biggest win of the year, and quite possibly their best win since KU two years ago, and should be playing with confidence. If they can protect the rock, knock down open shots, and limit UT's second chance opportunities, they have a chance to pull off the upset in the friendly confines on Wilkerson-Greines.