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TCU Basketball Preview: SMU

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TCU heads to Dallas undefeated and looking for their first win over SMU since 2010.

NCAA Basketball: 2K Classic-Pittsburgh vs Southern Methodist Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 7:00pm CST| Location: Moody Coliseum - Dallas, TX | TV: ESPNEWS | Series: SMU Leads 105-85 | Game Line: SMU -3.5

After putting away the Arkansas State Red Wolves this past Saturday, TCU will now travel across the metroplex to play rival SMU. The Mustangs enter the game 6-3 coming off of a 74-60 victory over Delaware State. The Frogs enter the game at 8-0 and are now receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll.

On Saturday, TCU beat Arkansas State at home 77-54 with a dominant second half performance. The Frogs ended the game on a 13-0 run over the final 4:13 of the game.

TCU was led by Vladimir Brodziansky off the bench, who dropped in 18 points and made all 7 of his shots from the field. Vlad was also a force down low, grabbing 6 rebounds and blocking 5 shots.

Kenrich Williams also had a huge game against the Red Wolves, coming away with yet another double-double. Kenny Hustle ended the game with 15 points and 13 boards.

SMU beat TCU 75-70 early last season at Wilkerson-Greines. The Horned Frogs got off to a hot start in that game, leading 22-10 early, but the Mustangs were able to come back thanks to some hot shooting by Nic Moore, who ended the night with 26 points.

TCU will be looking to get revenge this year over an SMU team that has not looked as good as they have in recent years. 6-3 is nothing to scoff at, but their past two wins have been a 49-43 victory over Cal State Bakersfield and the 74-60 win against Delaware State, both of which were unimpressive and at home. Their three losses have all come away from Moody Coliseum, losing to Michigan, USC, and Boise State.

Lucky for TCU, the Mustangs no longer have Nic Moore who can light things up from three. However, SMU does have some players that the Frogs will need to shut down in order to win. Semi Ojeleye, a transfer from Duke, leads the team in scoring at 17.2 points per game, along with his 7.7 rebounds per game. Joining him in the frontcourt is 6’8” Ben Moore, the team’s leading rebounder with 7.9 boards per game. Moore is also second on the team in scoring, dropping in 11.7 points per game.

In the backcourt, TCU will need to shut down Shake Milton. Milton runs the show for SMU and leads the team in assists with 4.2 per game. As a team, SMU have been pretty good from deep, shooting about 42% from the field.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Getting the Deep Ball Going

TCU has not been the best team from three so far this season, shooting only 36.6% as a team from deep. However, the Frogs have three good perimeter shooters in Kenrich Williams, Brandon Parrish, and Alex Robinson. If any of these three can catch fire from beyond the arc against the Mustangs, it could help the Frogs go on enough runs to pull away from SMU.

2 - Kenny Hustle

Kenrich Williams has been an absolute star for the Horned Frogs this season. After missing all of last season with a knee injury and the first couple games of this year, Kenny Hustle has picked up right where he left off two seasons ago. Williams leads the team in rebounds as he did in the 2014-2015 season, and he’s averaging 3.3 more rebounds per game than he did that season, which is incredible considering how deep TCU’s lineup is currently. In order to beat SMU tonight, Williams will have to continue his all-out assault on the glass and help limit the Mustangs’ second-chance opportunities.

3 - Who Steps Up Off the Bench?

In each game so far this season, it seems like one of TCU’s bench players has stepped up in order to help the Frogs to their 8-0 start. Brodziansky and Robinson have been the main guys off the bench in terms of scoring, but it seems like every player has been able to come in off the bench and provide valuable, productive minutes this season. It has been fun to see the great depth of this year’s squad and it’ll be interesting to see who provides the spark off the bench tonight.

Prediction:

This game will likely be close as most rivalry games are. TCU will have a great chance to establish themselves as the new power program in DFW for basketball. I expect Kenrich Williams to once again have a big game and to help limit Semi Ojeleye’s impact on the outcome. Alex Robinson will lead the team in scoring and assists as TCU improves to 9-0 and moves into the Top 25 next week.

Score Prediction: TCU 72, SMU 68

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

• TCU and SMU will play for the 191st time on Wednesday.

• TCU head coach Jamie Dixon is 81-11 during the month of December.

• TCU currently ranks No. 7 in turnovers forced in the NCAA.

Jaylen Fisher currently ranks 13th among all freshmen nationally in total assists with 36.

Desmond Bane, the Global Sports Classic MVP, has scored 10 or more points in four out of the eight games.

Brandon Parrish played in his 105th game Saturday and is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.

• Parrish needs to play in only 14 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 93. He played in his 100th game Saturday.

• Shepherd has tallied 572 career rebounds and needs only 128 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.

Alex Robinson has recorded 10 games of five or more assists in his career. He had five against Arkansas State.

• 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 in Las Vegas.

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 14th most in the NCAA.

• Williams posted his second-straight double-double of the season versus Arkansas State with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

• Williams ranks No. 13 in the NCAA in offensive rebounds with a 4.0 average on the season.

Vladimir Brodziansky has hit nine-straight buckets heading into Wednesday night.