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TCU Basketball Preview: Illinois State

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The Horned Frogs welcome the Redbirds to Fort Worth for the final game of the season-opening four game home stand. TCU will be looking to be 4-0 going into their trip to Las Vegas.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 5:00pm CST| Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX | TV: FOX Sports Net | Series: TCU leads 1-0 | Game Line: TCU -5.5

The Frogs come into Monday night 3-0 and looking to remain undefeated in Jamie Dixon’s first season back home. TCU hosts the Illinois State Redbirds in the final game of the season-opening home stand. After tonight, they will head to Las Vegas to compete in the Global Sports Classic, which they open Friday night against UNLV.

TCU is coming off of a solid 79-60 home win this past Friday night over Jacksonville State. The Frogs took control of the game in the second half, outscoring the Gamecocks 43-29 after the break. TCU did a great job of finding open shots and taking care of the ball on offense. The Frogs shot 50 percent from the floor and an even better 52.4 percent from beyond the three point line. They also had 16 assists on the night and only turned it over 8 times.

The Frogs were led in scoring by senior guard Brandon Parrish, who finished the night with 20 points. Freshman Desmond Bane also had a big night, adding 14 points and leading the team with 7 rebounds. Bane has scored in double-digits in every game so far this season.

TCU now must focus on containing the Redbirds, who enter the game at 1-1. Illinois State was a preseason favorite to challenge Wichita State for the Missouri Valley Conference title, so TCU can’t take this team lightly. The Frogs faced them last season in Mexico in the consolation game of the Cancun Challenge, in which TCU came away with a 71-60 win. They were led by Malique Trent and Vladimir Brodziansky in that game. Trent scored 19 for the Frogs and Brodziansky contributed 16 points and 9 rebounds.

Illinois State is led by three main players: seniors Paris Lee and Deontae Hawkins and junior MiKyle McIntosh. Lee will be running the show offensively for the Redbirds, averaging 13 points and 5 assists per game. However, he has shown to be susceptible to turnovers with 11 through the first two games of the season. Hawkins will try to cause problems for the Frogs in the post. He leads his team in scoring with 19 points per game and in rebounding with 11 per game. Illinois State will try to spread the floor with all three of these guys, as all three are shooting above 50 percent from beyond the arc.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Second Game for Kenrich

Kenrich Williams returned to the lineup for the Frogs against Jacksonville State on Friday. Williams sat out all of last season and the first two games of this season with injuries. From the moment he came into the game, you could notice an increase in energy and intensity from the Frogs. Kenrich plays the game with a joy that all fans love to see. He sparked the team defensively and did a great job of crashing the boards. Williams ended the night with 9 points in 20 minutes of action. It will be interesting to see if Kenrich gets more playing time in his second game back.

2 - JD Miller or Brandon Parrish Starting?

In the first two games of the season, Dixon used the same starting lineup: Jaylen Fisher, Trent, Bane, Miller, and Karviar Shepherd. With Miller sitting out last game, Brandon Parrish was able to get the start against Jacksonville State. The move worked out well for the Frogs as Parrish led the game in scoring with 20 points and shot 72.7 percent from the field. Dixon will have to decide if he wants to start the more athletic sophomore Miller or the better deep shooter Parrish.

3 - Defending the Three

In the two games that TCU did not pull away early, a large part was because of opponents knocking down threes to end runs by the Frogs. TCU will need to pressure the ball further out and make sure that a good three point shooting team like Illinois State is not able to get open looks from deep. If the Frogs can prevent the Redbirds’ sharpshooters from catching fire beyond the arc, then TCU should be able to come away with their best victory of the season so far.

Prediction:

TCU will likely come out again playing aggressive defense. I expect Brandon Parrish and Bane to continue to put up impressive numbers on offense for the Frogs and Fisher will lead the team in assists once again. Shepherd will emerge as a leader in his role as the team’s main big man and will get the rest of the team fired up. Kenrich Williams will build off his first game of the year and continue to lead the team in effort on the boards and on defense. TCU will be able to pick up their fourth win of the season and head to Las Vegas undefeated.

Score Prediction: TCU 78, Illinois State 64

Here are some additional game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:

• TCU and Illinois State will face each other for only the second time Monday night.

• TCU has claimed 13 victories over Missouri Valley Conference opponents all-time.

• TCU head coach Jamie Dixon is 73-6 during the month of November.

• TCU had five or more players score in double-figures in each of its first two games.

• TCU currently ranks No. 22 in turnovers forced in the NCAA.

Jaylen Fisher was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week last week.

• Fisher currently ranks fourth among all freshmen nationally in total assists with 19.

Desmond Bane has scored 10 or more points in three-straight games.

Brandon Parrish played in his 100th game last Friday night.

• Parrish scored 20 or more points for a third time in his career against Jacksonville State.

• Parrish needs to play in only 19 more games to move into the top-10 all-time in games played in school history.

• With eight more starts, Parrish will move into the top-10 all-time in games started at TCU.

• Parrish needs only 242 points to reach 1,000 points for his career.

Karviar Shepherd is now No. 9 all-time in career starts at TCU with 88.

• Shepherd currently ranks No. 5 in blocked shots for a career with 97 going into this season.

• Shepherd has tallied 561 career rebounds and needs only 139 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.