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TCU Basketball Preview: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Looking to knock off their first ranked opponent of the season, TCU welcomes a surging Oklahoma State team to town this evening.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 5:00pm CDT | Location: Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center
TV: ESPNU | Series: OSU leads 21-2 | Game Line: OSU -2.0

The 21st ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys visit Fort Worth this evening as one of the hottest teams in the country. The Pokes have won three straight games, all against ranked opponents, with two of those wins coming on the road. The Cowboys have jumped from unranked to 21st in less than two weeks. In their most recent contest, OSU traveled to Waco and knocked off the 16th-ranked Baylor Bears 74-65. The win moved the Cowboys to 7-5 in the Big 12 and into 5th place. The Pokes enter the game with a 17-7 record on the season.

On the other hand, the Frogs are coming off one of their worst shooting performances since joining the Big 12. Texas beat TCU 66-43 on Wednesday night in Austin, holding the Frogs to just 28.8% shooting from the field. The game marked the lowest point total and shooting percentage for the Frogs this season. Wednesday night's loss knocked TCU to 1-10 in Big 12 play and 14-10 overall. TCU will have to find their offense tonight if they look to keep up with the fast-paced Cowboys.

For Oklahoma State, Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte lead the show. Nash is the Cowboys' leading scorer with 17.1 points per game, but Forte is right behind him, averaging 17.0 points per game. Forte is one of the best three-point shooters in the Big 12, shooting over 40% percent from behind the arc. The TCU defense is going to have to keep tabs on Forte, who averages more than six three-point attempts per game. Forte and fellow guard Anthony Hickey are also deadly when it comes to steals with both players average more than two steals per game. Forte and Hickey are first and second in the Big 12 in steals this season.

The Frogs will have to find a way to penetrate and score against an Oklahoma State defense that allows just 60.0 points per game. The Frogs' offensive struggles have been highlighted during the last three games, with TCU averaging just 52.0 points per game in that span. Kyan Anderson has been hovering around his season average, but his supporting cast hasn't been very, well, supporting. The other four starters in the TCU lineup have combined for just 58 total points in the last three games. Kenrich Williams has been one of the bright spots, but Karviar Shepherd, Trey Zeigler, and Chris Washburn must step up for the Frogs to compete this evening.

Recent history hasn't favored the Frogs in this series. TCU and Oklahoma State will be meeting for the 24th time tonight, with the Cowboys leading the all-time series 21-2. The Frogs have dropped the last 10 contests against the Pokes, the last win coming on December 26, 1986. Finally, the Frogs have never defeated Oklahoma State in Fort Worth - the Cowboys are 8-0 in Cowtown.

The Frogs have struggled as of late, but there is still plenty of time in the season to right the ship. TCU matches up well with the Cowboys, and a strong defensive performance from the Frogs could give TCU the chance to finally pick up a win over a ranked opponent. If the Frogs can keep Oklahoma State under control behind the arc, and if they can find a way to shoot 40% or so from the field, TCU will have a shot this evening. A win tonight could be the beginning of some momentum for TCU, as unranked Kansas State and Texas Tech visit the Wilk in the coming weeks.

TCU Projected Starters

Oklahoma State Projected Starters

G

Kyan Anderson

13.0 ppg, 4.0 apg

F

Le'Bryan Nash

17.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg

G

Trey Zeigler

8.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg

C

Michael Cobbins

6.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg

F

Kenrich Williams

8.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg

G

Anthony Hickey

9.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg

F

Chris Washburn

6.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg

G

Phil Forte

17.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg

C

Karviar Shephed

6.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg

G

Jeff Newberry

6.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg

Here are some other notes, provided by GoFrogs.com:

  • TCU was receiving votes in last week's USA Today Coaches Poll. The last time TCU was receiving votes in February came during the 1998-99 campaign.
  • TCU is 29-5 when leading at the half under head coach Trent Johnson.
  • TCU has now held 27 opponents to 59 points or less under Trent Johnson.
  • TCU has out-rebounded its opposition 15 times this season.
  • TCU has already bettered its win total from a year ago and 2011-12.
  • TCU will play its seventh ranked opponent in eight games Saturday.
  • Kyan Anderson is No. 9 all-time in scoring in program history with 1,496 points.
  • Anderson now has 20 20-point games in his four-year career after scoring 22 at West Virginia.
  • Anderson totaled his third-straight game of five or more assists vs. Oklahoma.
  • Kenrich Williams has scored in double-figures in 12 of the 24 games this season.