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TCU Basketball Preview: Delaware State

The Frogs wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule tonight against an 0-12 Delaware State Hornets team.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 7:00pm CDT | Location: Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX
TV: FSSW | Series: TCU Leads 1-0 | Game Line: None

TCU will finish up the non-conference portion of their schedule tonight with a home contest against one of the worst teams in college basketball. The Delaware State Hornets visit Fort Worth with an 0-12 record, one of just three winless teams left in the nation. To say that the Hornets have struggled to open the season would be an understatement.

Out of 351 Division I programs, Delaware State enters tonight's game dead last in both scoring and field goal percentage. During their 12-game losing streak, the Hornets are scoring just 54.0 points per game on 34.6% shooting from the field. The team's 58.9% free throw percentage also checks in at 348th in the nation. On the defensive end, Delaware State allows nearly 78 points each night, meaning that the Hornets are losing each game by an average of almost 24 points per game.

Tonight's contest marks the end of a nine-game road trip for DSU. During that span, the Hornets have managed just 50.2 points per game with a margin of defeat of 36.4 points per game. Most recently, Delaware State fell to Utah, 105-58.

Despite not having any scorers averaging in double-figures, a pair of guards have led the charge for the Hornets this season. DeAndre Haywood has been the team's best scorer thus far, averaging 9.9 points per game on a team-high 43.0% shooting from the field. Freshman Devin Morgan adds another 9.1 points per game and is the team's most active deep shooter, accounting for nearly twice as many three-point shot attempts as the next closest Hornet. Even with just five starts, Morgan leads the team in minutes with 24.8 per game.

The Delaware State rotation is quite interesting. Head coach Keith Walker plays all 17 players listed on the Hornets roster, with 14 of those 17 averaging at least 10.0 minutes per game. Walker has utilized 10 different starting lineups this season, with 12 different players have received a start at some point during the year. Todd Hughes had been a mainstay in the lineup, starting the first 10 games of the season, however he has since been replaced with Dana Raysor, who has made two consecutive starts. Hughes is third on the team in scoring with 6.3 points per game while Raysor is just behind him with 4.3 each night.

The rest of Delaware State's numbers aren't too encouraging either. The team is pulling down just 29.9 rebounds per game, the ninth fewest in the country. Joseph Lewis leads the team with 3.1 boards each night, with Hayword just behind at 2.9. The Hornets have especially struggled on the defensive end, averaging only 19.5 boards on defense. DSU is also in the bottom 15 in the nation in both assists and steals.

Across the court, TCU enters the contest with a 7-4 record, riding a season-high three game winning streak after starting the year 4-4. Despite the mini-streak, the Frogs have struggled to perform consistently as of late. Following a 92-67 loss at Washington, the Frogs picked up a couple of hard-fought wins against Prairie View A&M and Abilene Christian. Most recently, TCU knocked off Bradley 53-49 on the road.

As has been the case all season, Trent Johnson's two transfers continue to lead the team. Vladimir Brodziansky is the best scorer for the Frogs, averaging 14.5 points per game. He has scored in double-figures in 10 of TCU's 11 games this season and has finished as one of the top two scorers in each game but one. The Slovakian native has also been a pretty consistent force on the boards as well, pulling down 5.7 rebounds each night. Brodziansky's 60.8% shooting percentage is also tops on the team.

Fellow transfer Malique Trent has also emerged as a scoring leader for TCU this season. Trent is adding 12.2 points per game while also leading the team in assists with 3.5 each night. Chauncey Collins, Brandon Parrish, and Karviar Shepherd are each averaging around nine points per game. Parrish is the Frogs' most lethal three-point shooter, connecting on 51.7% of his shot attempts from deep. Shepherd leads the team in rebounds with 6.4 per game.

The Frogs enter tonight's contest with a handful of questions to answer in their final non-conference tune-up before Big 12 play begins next month.

Three Things to Watch:

1. Washburn's Status

Chris Washburn is now entering week eight of his rehabilitation process since having surgery to repair a broken pinky finger on his right hand. While his target date to return was December 20 against Abilene Christian, he has remained inactive, sporting a brace on his hand. Tonight provides Washburn the final chance to return to action prior to Big 12 play. Even if he is able to go, his minutes will likely be limited. As the team's top returning scorer, rebounder, and assist man from a year ago, TCU could really use Washburn's productivity when Big 12 play begins in just five days.

2. Shooting Struggles

The Frogs are coming off their worst shooting performance of the season, and one of the worst in the Trent Johnson era. In Wednesday's 53-49 win over Bradley, TCU shot just 14/47 from the field, an ice-cold 29.8%. The Frogs connected on just four of their 17 three-point shot attempts, good just 23.5% of the time. From the line, TCU managed only 21/40, however it was clutch free throws late that sealed the win for the Frogs. Without key defensive pieces such as Chris Wasbhurn, at least for now, and Kenrich Williams, pressure shifts to the offense to perform at an accelerated rate to make up for lost production on defense. As Big 12 play approaches, it is imperative that the Frogs build some sort of coherent offensive attack.

3. Point Guard Rotation

Part of the reason behind TCU's recent shooting struggles is the variability at the point guard position. Malique Trent has been one constant, starting every game and averaging over 12 points each night. However, a second point guard threat has yet to emerge this season. After starting the first six games, Chauncey Collins has since been replaced by Michael Williams in the lineup. However, Collins is usually the first player to check in. While Collins continues to return to 100% following a quad injury, Johnson has used almost a "point guard by committee" system. Collins, Williams, and Trent combined for 29 points against Bradley, however almost half of that production came from the free throw line, and the trio combined to shoot just 6/24 from the field. With the point guard such an integral part of the offense, the Frogs need consistency from that position.

TCU Projected Starters

Delaware State Projected Starters

G

Michael Williams

4.8 ppg, 2.6 apg

C

Demola Onifade

1.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg

G

Malique Trent

12.9 ppg, 3.7 apg

F

DeVaughn Mallory

3.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg

G

Brandon Parrish

9.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg

F

Dana Raysor

4.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg

F

Vladimir Brodziansky

14.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg

G

Devin Morgan

9.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg

F

Karviar Shepherd

9.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg

G

DeAndre Haywood

9.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg

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

  • TCU has won 25 of its last 29 non-conference games dating back to 2013.
  • TCU is 39-7 when leading at the half under head coach Trent Johnson.
  • TCU has held 33 opponents to 59 points or less under Trent Johnson.
  • TCU is 18-4 all-time under Trent Johnson during the month of December.
  • Heading into Monday, TCU ranks No. 65 in NCAA in blocks per game, averaging 4.82 a contest.
  • TCU returned three starters from a year ago in Chris Washburn, Kenrich Williams and Karviar Shepherd.
  • With Williams out, Washburn and Shepherd are TCU's captains this season.
  • TCU has played its first 11 games without Washburn and Williams.
  • Vladimir Brodziansky was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week following the season-opener.
  • Michael Williams has started five-straight games.
  • Williams only had two prior starts in his three-year career heading into this season.