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Second Chance Points: How the Frogs can Sweep the Longhorns

TCU's first Big 12 rematch comes on Tuesday night as the Frogs travel to Austin looking to sweep the Longhorns. What did we learn during the first meeting that TCU can use to knock off Texas once again?

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

One of the elements that the Big 12 Conference prides itself on is its competition format - in Big 12 basketball, each team plays every other team at home and on the road. The league boasts that this double round robin format is the most successful way to determine "One True Champion." This gives each team the opportunity to make corrections and adjustments before the second matchup in the season series.

The Frogs will travel to Austin on Tuesday night looking to accomplish something no TCU team has done since 1987 - sweep a season series with the Texas Longhorns. The Frogs snapped an 11-game losing streak to their in-state rivals with a razor-thin 58-57 victory in Fort Worth earlier this month. The Frogs led for most of the first half before the Longhorns took over in the second half. However, it was a late surge by the Frogs that gave the Purple and White their first (and only) Big 12 win of the season.

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Texas' loss to TCU seemed to put a charge into the Longhorns, who enter Tuesday's contest having won three of their last four games. Even without Cameron Ridley, who remains sidelined while recovering from a broken foot, the Frogs are at a pretty significant mismatch in Austin. What does this TCU team need to do to break their four-game losing streak and sweep the Longhorns?

Drive It

The Frogs took advantage of Texas' biggest weakness during the first meeting between the schools - the interior. With the aforementioned Cameron Ridley out, TCU made it a point to drive inside and go to work against the foul-prone Prince Ibeh and inexperienced Shaquille Cleare during the first meeting between these teams. In the first half, TCU shot 9/20 in the paint, opening a 10-point lead mid-way through the frame. The Frogs backed off slightly in the second half, which resulted in Texas clawing their way back into the contest.

UT Shot Chart

More importantly, the Frogs were able to force Ibeh and Cleare to commit nine total fouls, allowing TCU's shooters to earn easy points at the free throw line. With Ridley out again this week and Cleare battling a shoulder injury suffered on Saturday against Kansas, driving into the lane will be imperative once again. The Frogs know they have the ability to score inside, but it will come down to execution on Tuesday night.

Defend the Paint

The Frogs were just as bad defensively as they were good offensively in the paint during the first meeting. Texas scored 40 of their 57 points in the lane. In fact, 20 of Texas' 23 made baskets came in the paint with the other three all coming from behind the arc. The Longhorns only shot 37.1% from the field, but TCU will need to buckle down defensively to limit the Horns' scoring attack on Tuesday. Shaka Smart has a team full of talented shooters, so it will be important for TCU to force those shooters to take contested shots as opposed to easier opportunities in the lane.

Hit Your Free Throws

Free throw shooting has plagued the TCU Basketball program throughout much of its history. The January 9th contest against Texas was no exception. The Frogs shot 13/24 from the line, an ice cold 54.2%. The kicker came in the final 43 seconds of the game, in which Brandon Parrish missed four consecutive free throws with TCU leading 58-57. Luckily for Parrish and the Frogs, the defense stepped up and prevented the Longhorns from capitalizing on the missed opportunities at the line. Free throw shooting has been much better for the Frogs this season, but they won't be able to leave any easy points on the line Tuesday night.

UT Flow Chart

Limit Lammert

The TCU defense did a fantastic job limiting Texas' Connor Lammert in the first contest between these two in-state rivals. Entering the game, Lammert was averaging 7.7 points and 2.0 fouls in 24.6 minutes in his seven career games against TCU. Earlier this month, the Frogs held the senior forward to just one point on 0/7 shooting from the field. He also committed four fouls in 35 minutes of play. With Ridley out, Lammert has taken a more prominent role on both ends of the court for Shaka Smart. Keeping Lammert in check was a big key toward TCU's success in the first meeting. If the Frogs can do it again this week, they'll be set up nicely to compete.

Protect the Arc

The Frogs had one of their best defensive performances, in terms of guarding the arc, against the Longhorns earlier this month. TCU held Texas to a season-low 3/21 from deep, a frigid 14.3%. The long ball has been a vital asset for the Longhorns this season, with more than 30% of the team's total offensive output coming from behind the arc.

UT Three Point Shooting

TCU's strong perimeter defense was a nice surprise after allowing their first two Big 12 opponents, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, to combine to shoot nearly 43% from deep. In the Frogs' four games since knocking off Texas, their opponents are shooting 43.5% from behind the arc. It almost goes without saying, but defending the three-point line will be essential if the Frogs want to leave Austin with their first win in the Capital City since 1987.


The last two weeks haven't been kind to the Frogs. TCU has dropped all four contests since knocking off the Longhorns, losing by an average of 15.3 points per game. Things haven't been much better on the road, as the Frogs are just 1-29 against Big 12 foes away from home since joining the league in 2012. Tuesday's game against the Longhorns won't be easy for TCU, but the Frogs knocked off their in-state rivals once already, why not do it again?