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TCU Basketball Preview: Kansas State Wildcats

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TCU travels to a frigid Manhattan, Kansas to face the Wildcats in the Frogs' first Big 12 road test of the season.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 8:00pm CDT| Location: Bramlage Coliseum - Manhattan, KS
TV: ESPNews | Series: KSU leads 7-2 | Game Line: KSU -3.5

After suffering their first loss of the season on Saturday, the TCU Horned Frogs look to bounce back against the 7-7 Kansas State Wildcats tonight in America's heartland. The Frogs are getting the Wildcats at a good time as Kansas State is riding a three game losing streak that includes embarrassing home losses to Texas Southern and Georgia. The likely culprit for the Wildcats' losing streak has been a significant drop-off in scoring. In fact, the ‘Cats are averaging under 50 points per game during the streak.

Most recently, Kansas State dropped a 61-47 contest against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater on Saturday. Marcus Foster, the Wildcats' leading scorer, spent most of the game on the bench amid speculation that he is in head coach Bruce Weber's doghouse. Foster, who averages 13 points per game, played just 14 minutes against the Cowboys and didn't hit a single shot. After the game, Weber said that Foster has been struggling with a confidence and attitude problem. Barring a significant attitude shift this week, it would be surprising to see Foster get meaningful minutes against TCU tonight.

Foster's lack of production has hurt the Wildcats as of late. The scoring burden has shifted to forwards Thomas Gipson and Nino Williams. The duo are averaging nearly 24 points per game and have been a significant source of Kansas State's offense recently. Gipson and Williams also lead the team in rebounds, with each averaging nearly five boards per game.

Rebounds could be a deciding factor in tonight's game. Kansas State is in the bottom 50 teams in both offensive and defensive rebounds, whereas the Frogs are in the top 70 in each of those categories. Should TCU control the boards, the Frogs will have a good opportunity to notch a road win tonight.

For the Frogs, Saturday's contest against the West Virginia Mountaineers was a good preview of what is to come in Big 12 play. Two areas of concern emerged against the Mountaineers that TCU will no doubt look to improve upon tonight. First, the Frogs need to figure out how to break the full court press. West Virginia is one of the best defensive teams in the country, but the Frogs struggled mightily against the press on Saturday. Kansas State has run a full court press several times this season, most successfully against Purdue in the Maui Invitational. Tonight should provide a solid opportunity for TCU to figure out how to break the press.

Secondly, the Frogs need to reduce the amount of opportunities for Kansas State to have three-point plays. Against the Mountaineers, the Frogs allowed seven three-point play opportunities, with six of those occurring in the second half. The abundance of three-point plays, including two back-to-back that cut the TCU lead from 37-30 to 37-36 in a matter of seconds, allowed the Mountaineers to seize control of the game in the second half. The Frogs either need to cut down the amount of fouls committed, or look for smarter foul opportunities, or both.

Tonight's contest in Manhattan will be significant for the Frogs regardless of what happens. If TCU wins, it will mark the first road Big 12 win in program history. The Frogs enter the game tonight with an 0-18 record on the road in the Big 12 since joining the conference. On the flip side, should the Wildcats right the ship and come away with a win tonight, TCU will own the second-longest conference losing streak in Big 12 history, at 20 consecutive games. Only Baylor has a longer streak, a 22-game skid from 1998-2000.

With Kansas State's offensive struggles, Foster's lack of presence, and the Frogs' early-season success, tonight should provide a great opportunity for TCU to pick up a big conference win. The road gets a lot tougher after tonight, as eight of the Frogs' next nine opponents are ranked. Up next for TCU is a return to the warmer Texas weather (the wind chill here in Manhattan is supposed to dip as low as -25 tonight; trust me, it is very cold), and a contest against in-state rival Baylor in Fort Worth.

TCU Projected Starters

Kansas State Projected Starters

G

Kyan Anderson

13.8 ppg, 4.1 apg

F

Nino Williams

11.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg

G

Trey Zeigler

8.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg

F

Thomas Gipson

12.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg

F

Brandon Parrish

7.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg

G

Justin Edwards

6.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg

F

Chris Washburn

7.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg

G

Nigel Johnson

5.7 ppg, 2.4 apg

C

Karviar Shephed

7.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg

G

Wesley Iwundu

4.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Here are some other game notes, from GoFrogs.com:

  • TCU is 13-1 for only the second time in school history.
  • TCU opened the 1951-52 season 14-1 overall.
  • 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 28-5 when leading at the half under head coach Trent Johnson.
  • TCU has now held 25 opponents to 59 points or less under Trent Johnson.
  • TCU was out-rebounded for only the second time this season against West Virginia.
  • TCU has already bettered its win total from a year ago.
  • Kyan Anderson is No. 10 all-time in scoring in program history with 1,376 points.
  • Anderson only needs 51 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.
  • Kenrich Williams has scored in double-figures in seven of the 14 games this season.
  • Trey Zeigler has led TCU in assists in three-straight games.