Game Time: 5:00pm CST | Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX | TV: ESPNU | Series: TCU Leads 2-1 | Game Line: TCU -14
After not playing the past week due to finals, TCU welcomes Texas Southern to Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs enter the game at 9-1 and looking to build some more momentum heading into the opening of Big 12 play.
The Frogs last took the court on December 10th, when they knocked off Wofford 72-63. Freshman point guard Jaylen Fisher led the way for TCU, dropping in 13 points. Kenrich Williams also had a big game, notching another double-double by scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 boards. As a team, the Frogs struggled shooting the ball in all facets, which hopefully was a bad day and not a sign of a cold streak.
When looking at today’s opponent, don’t let the 4-7 record fool you, Texas Southern is a good team. All four of their wins have come in true road games and four of their seven losses have come on the road against teams that are either from a Power 5 conference or ranked in the Top 25. They also had a narrow 89-82 loss at UT-Arlington, which has wins on the road over Texas and #20 St. Mary’s. The Tigers also have a respectable RPI ranking of #67 (NCAA.com).
Lucky for TCU, Texas Southern will be playing the second leg of a back-to-back. The Tigers lost 88-80 yesterday at LSU in a game that went down to the wire. They were within a point with a minute left before LSU pulled away for good. Although their offense didn’t shoot very well, Texas Southern did play aggressive defense and forced LSU to commit 14 turnovers, 8 of which were steals.
There are three players for Texas Southern that the Frogs will need to keep their eyes on: Demontrae Jefferson, Zach Lofton, and Derrick Griffin. Jefferson and Lofton are both guards that can put up points in a hurry. Each finished with 18 points last night at LSU and they combine to average 36.8 points per game this season. However, TCU will be successful if they can pressure both of them since they also average a combined 8.3 turnovers per game.
Derrick Griffin is an absolute beast for the Tigers down low. Yesterday, he had 13 points and 15 rebounds against LSU. On the season, he is averaging 12.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, while shooting an insane 73.2% from the field.
Three Things to Watch:
1 - Starting Off Strong
After a week off of playing, TCU is likely itching to get back on the court for an actual game. This could turn out one of two ways. Either the Frogs will come out fired up and pull away from Texas Southern early and cruise to a victory or they will come out cold and not get the offense going, whether it be turnovers and mistakes or rusty shooting. Hopefully, regardless of the start, the Frogs will put together a full 40 minutes and come away with what should be a victory.
2 - Who Starts at the 5?
Karviar Shepherd started the first nine games of the season for TCU, but was replaced in the lineup by Vladimir Brodziansky in the last game against Wofford. Despite coming off of the bench, Vlad has averaged more minutes per game thus far this season and has been more productive. However, Karviar has more size which may be useful against a player like Griffin. It will be interesting to see who will be starting going forward as Big 12 play looms.
3 - Keep Derrick Griffin Off the Boards
As mentioned, Texas Southern’s big man is an absolute beast. The scary thing is that he does most of his work on the offensive boards. He had 8 offensive rebounds yesterday against LSU and is averaging 6.1 offensive rebounds per game. The good news is that TCU has the size to shut down this 6’7” monster, whether it is Vlad (6’11”), Karviar (6’11”), or Kenrich (6’7”). The Frogs will need to have everyone on the floor step up and crash the boards to contain Griffin.
I expect this game to be tight early on. Texas Southern is still searching for a signature win and will come out wanting it against the Frogs. However, coming off of a tough game yesterday, the Tigers will burn out in the second half and TCU will pull away. Kenrich Williams will find a way to get another double-double and Desmond Bane will lead the Frogs in scoring.
Score Prediction: TCU 83, Texas Southern 64
Here are some additional game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:
• TCU and Texas Southern will meet for the fourth time Sunday night.
• TCU head coach Jamie Dixon is 82-12 during the month of December.
• TCU currently ranks No. 30 in turnovers forced in the NCAA.
• Brandon Parrish played in his 107th game last Saturday and is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.
• Parrish needs to play in only 12 more games to move into the top-10 all-time in games played in school history.
• Karviar Shepherd is now No. 6 all-time in career starts at TCU with 94. He played in his 100th game against Arkansas State.
• Shepherd has tallied 574 career rebounds and needs only 126 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.
• Alex Robinson has recorded 12 games of five or more assists in his career. He had 10 against SMU.
• Robinson,who was named to the all-tournament team in Vegas, has led TCU in assists seven times this season.
• Robinson scored a career-high 24 points against Washington in Las Vegas and had a career-high 10 assists versus SMU.
• Kenrich Williams grabbed a career-high 18 boards against UNLV. He has now had four-straight games of 10 or more boards.
• Williams' 18 boards are the most in the Big 12 Conference this season and tied for the 16th most in the NCAA.
• Williams posted his third-straight double-double of the season versus Wofford with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
• Williams ranks No. 9 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds with a 4.0 average on the season.
• Vladimir Brodziansky got his first start of the season against Wofford and finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.