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TCU Basketball Preview: Southeastern Louisiana Lions

COLLEGE BASKETBALL IS BACK

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 8:30pm CDT| Location: TCU Recreation Center - Fort Worth, TX
TV: None | Series: TCU leads 2-0 | Game Line: None

It's here! It's here! College basketball is finally here!

The TCU Horned Frogs will open the 2015-2016 season with a home contest against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions this evening. The Frogs are coming off an 18-15 season that was full of "firsts." TCU jumped out to a 13-0 start to the season for the first time, the Frogs swept the season series with a Big 12 opponent for the first time, the team won a road Big 12 game for the first time, and finally, TCU won a Big 12 Tournament game for the first time. Building upon last season's successes begins tonight with a battle against the Lions.

Southeastern Louisiana enters the season after a disappointing 9-23 campaign that saw four different starters go down to injury. This year, the Lions are led by a trio of fifth-year seniors in Zay Jackson, Mike Hawkins, and Daniel Grieves. Jackson led the team in scoring last season with 15.4 points per game. He also grabbed 4.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists each night. Hawkins wasn't far behind with 12.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Grieves is the lone returning Lion to have played in each of Southeastern Louisiana's 30 games last season. He looks to play a main role off the bench this season, having averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year.

With a win tonight, the new-look Horned Frogs can extend an already impressive school record. Entering the game, TCU has won 18 consecutive non-conference games. Their last non-conference loss came 714 days ago in a 71-50 loss to Harvard in the Championship Game of the 2013 Great Alaskan Shootout. In addition to the 18-game streak, the Frogs have won 22 of their last 23 games against non-conference opponents.

Chris Washburn and Karviar Shepherd are the only two returning starters for the Frogs this season. Washburn was arguably TCU's most well-rounded player during the 2014-2015 campaign. Despite averaging just 7.1 points per game, he also chipped in 5.8 rebounds, and led the team in both blocks and field goal percentage. Shepherd started in every contest but one last year, averaging 6.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Brandon Parrish, Chauncey Collins, and Devonta Abron are the only other returning Frogs that saw meaningful playing time last season. Parrish was the most productive of this trio, averaging 5.5 points per game in 16 starts last year. Collins and Abron both figure to play more significant roles this season with the departure of Kyan Anderson, Trey Zeigler, and Amric Fields.

Tonight's game will be the TCU debut for four new Frogs. Transfers Malique Trent and Vladimir Brodziansky will join true freshmen Lyrik Shreiner and JD Miller in making their first appearances as Horned Frogs tonight. Each of the four newcomers were prolific scorers at their last stop and figure to play major roles in a TCU offense looking to replace nearly 70% of its scoring output from a year ago.

Three Things to Watch:

1. Starting Lineup

Last season, Trent Johnson only changed his starting lineup twice - once to replace Brandon Parrish with Kenrich Williams, and once to insert Amric Fields on Senior Day. The five starters that Johnson chooses to start the game tonight will be the five guys that he trusts the most to run the floor. This group will likely carry the load this season. Despite only having 10 scholarship players this season, there are multiple different combinations that Johnson could utilize in a starting lineup. In addition to several key positional battles, it will be interesting to see which, if any, of the new Frogs are inserted into the starting lineup.

2. Replacing Kyan

The battle to replace Kyan Anderson will come down to Chauncey Collins and Malique Trent. Collins received some experience running the offense last year, while Trent spent last season as the leader of the New Mexico Junior College Thunderbirds. Both players possess the talent to run the point, so it will be interesting to see which one Trent Johnson goes with. It is entirely possible that this is an answerless question. During TCU's intrasquad scrimmage earlier this month, Johnson ran an offensive set that included both Collins and Trent on the floor at the same time, and both players are projected starters for tonight's game.

3. Devonta's Role

The role that Devonta Abron will play this season is still a bit of a mystery. As the lone senior, he has the most appearances of any player on this year's TCU team. Abron appeared in 28 games last year as he finished recovering from an Achilles tear suffered prior to the 2013-2014 season. He has proven to be very talented on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor throughout his career. In 2013, Abron led the Frogs in both blocked shots and field-goal percentage, while ranking fourth in scoring and steals. The role that he plays tonight could set the tone for the remainder of the season.

TCU Projected Starters

Southeastern Louisiana Projected Starters

G

Chauncey Collins

3.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg

F

James Currington

10.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg

G

Malique Trent

---

F

Mo Greenwood

---

G

Brandon Parrish

5.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg

G

Zay Jackson

15.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg

F

Chris Washburn

7.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg

G

Joshua Filmore

12.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg

F

Karviar Shephed

6.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg

G

Dimi Cook

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(2014-2015 stats shown above)

Here are other game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:

  • TCU is 53-13 in home openers in program history.
  • TCU is 1-0 all-time at the University Rec Center, having defeated Tennessee State, 60-40, in 2014.
  • TCU is 38-8 all-time against Southland Conference opponents.
  • TCU is 32-7 when leading at the half under head coach Trent Johnson.
  • TCU has held 30 opponents to 59 points or less under Trent Johnson.
  • TCU out-rebounded its opposition 20 times last season.
  • TCU is 17-5 all-time under Trent Johnson during the month of November.
  • TCU went a program-best 13-0 last season during non-conference play.
  • TCU scored 80 or more points seven times a year ago.
  • TCU returns two starters from a year ago in Chris Washburn and Karviar Shepherd.
  • Washburn and Shepherd are TCU's captains this season.
  • Under Trent Johnson, TCU has only played a total of seven Friday games. TCU went 2-0 in Friday contests a year ago.
  • Going into Friday, Washburn will look to score in double-figures for a third-straight game.
  • Washburn is coming off a 16-point and 10-point outing against K-State and Kansas, respectively, a year ago.