Game Time: 7:00pm CST| Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX | TV: None | Series: Tied 2-2 | Game Line: TCU -12
After getting two consecutive wins over Pac-12 opponent Washington, TCU is now set to welcome the Arkansas State Red Wolves, from the Sun Belt Conference, to Schollmaier Arena. Like the Horned Frogs, Arkansas State comes into tomorrow’s game on a seven-game winning streak, which includes an impressive 78-72 win at Georgetown.
On Wednesday night, the Horned Frogs took down Washington 86-71 in front of what might have been the most raucous crowd since the opening of Schollmaier Arena. Alex Robinson led the Frogs on offense dropping in 16 points to go along with his 7 assists. Robinson saw a lot of playing time in this game as Jaylen Fisher got into foul trouble early.
Kenrich Williams also had a big night, grabbing 10 rebounds and scoring 10 points, giving him his second double-double this season. Williams also helped move the ball around and finished the night with 6 assists.
Arkansas State has put together an impressive season so far, coming in at 7-1 and being ranked #55 in RPI. Since losing their opening game at North Dakota State, the Red Wolves have won their last seven, including a road win at Georgetown and winning the Mainland bracket of the Maui Invitational. They come into tomorrow’s game averaging 78.4 points per game compared to only allowing 65.8 points per game.
The Red Wolves are led in scoring by senior guard Devin Carter, who is averaging 14.9 points per game on 47.7 percent shooting. The Red Wolves have two other guards that the Frogs will need to contain: senior Donte Thomas and junior Deven Simms. Thomas seems to be the team’s facilitator, leading the team by far with 7.1 assists per game. Simms is a hustler, leading Arkansas State with 5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
Three Things to Watch:
1 - Getting Out of the Gates Early
TCU struggled early against Washington at home, trailing 22-5 more than 10 minutes into the game. They were able to escape that hole by going on an 18-0 run to take back the lead; however, through the early part of the game, the crowd was unable to get into it. The Frogs will have to come out and get things going much earlier in this game in order to get the crowd into the game from the start.
2 - Balanced Attacks from Both Teams
Both teams are led by balanced scoring attacks. Both teams have four players each that are averaging double-digit scoring, so it’ll be interesting to see if any one player stands out for either team. For the Frogs, Alex Robinson has led the team in scoring in each of the last two games and has been the real leader on offense. However, TCU has been successful because it hasn’t been him alone having to put up insane numbers. The Frogs’ depth this season has been impressive and a big reason they have gotten off to such a hot start. They’ll need that balanced attack again tonight if they want to get a win.
3 - Forcing Arkansas State into Foul Trouble
One of the main reason the Horned Frogs were able to keep Washington under wraps in both games was by getting the Huskies into foul trouble, especially in the second halves. TCU forced key players to foul out in both games: Fultz in game one and Thybulle and Dickerson in game two. The Frogs were in the bonus with more than 14 minutes to go in the second half of the second game. If TCU can get some of those key guards for Arkansas State in foul trouble early, it could go a long way to securing a win over the Red Wolves.
TCU will not come out slow like they did against Washington. The Frogs will get out to a double-digit lead in the first half by forcing the Red Wolves into mistakes. Jaylen Fisher and Alex Robinson will the run the offense efficiently yet again and TCU will get some easy fast break opportunities. Kenrich will lead the team on the boards yet again and the Frogs will come away with their eighth straight win to open the year.
Score Prediction: TCU 83, Arkansas State 67
Here are some additional game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:
• TCU and Arkansas State will face each other for a fifth time in the all-time series Saturday.
• TCU head coach Jamie Dixon is 80-11 during the month of December.
• TCU currently ranks No. 6 in turnovers forced in the NCAA.
• Jaylen Fisher currently ranks 12th among all freshmen nationally in total assists with 32.
• Desmond Bane, the Global Sports Classic MVP, has scored 10 or more points in four out of the seven games.
• Brandon Parrish played in his 104th game Wednesday and is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.
• Parrish needs to play in only 15 more games to move into the top-10 all-time in games played in school history.
• Karviar Shepherd is now No. 7 all-time in career starts at TCU with 92. He will play in his 100th game Saturday.
• Shepherd has tallied 571 career rebounds and needs only 129 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.
• Alex Robinson has recorded nine games of five or more assists in his career. He had seven against Washington.
• Robinson,who was named to the all-tournament team in Vegas, has led TCU in assists fives times this season.
• Robinson scored a career-high 24 points against Washington last Saturday night.
• Kenrich Williams grabbed a career-high 18 boards against UNLV.
• Williams' 18 boards are the most in the Big 12 Conference this season and tied for the 13th most in the NCAA.
• Williams posted his second double-double of the season versus Washington with 10 points and 10 rebounds.