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TCU Basketball Preview: Texas Tech

The Frogs will look to pick up their second win in Lubbock in as many years tonight as the team faces off against Texas Tech.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 8:00pm CDT | Location: United Supermarkets Arena - Lubbock, TX
TV: ESPNews | Series: TTU Leads 77-49 | Game Line: TTU -11.5

The Frogs are staring down the barrel of finishing yet another season without any road Big 12 wins. TCU enters tonight' contest against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the second-to-last road game of the year, just 1-33 against league opponents away from home since joining the conference in 2012. The team's lone road victory came last season against these Red Raiders in Lubbock.

Picking up a win tonight is a tall task for the Frogs, who face a Texas Tech team that is one of the hottest in the nation. The Red Raiders have won four straight games, including three against ranked opponents, to come steamrolling into the NCAA Tournament conversation. At 17-9 overall and 7-7 in Big 12 play, it is highly likely that a win over TCU tonight would put Texas Tech in the field of 68 for the first time since 2007.

The Red Raiders are led by a core of players that all average between eight and 11 points per game. By the numbers, Devaugntah Williams is the team's top scorer, averaging 11.1 points each time out. The senior guard is also adding 3.6 boards and 1.6 assists per game. Toddrick Gotcher is the team's next best scorer, contributing another 10.7 points each night. Another do-it-all guard, Gotcher also grabs 3.8 rebounds and dishes out 2.4 assists.

Aaron Ross is the team's final double-digit scorer, averaging 10.1 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds. Zach Smith, Justin Gray, and Keenan Evans each contribute about eight points per game, providing crucial support that helps make Texas Tech so deadly on any given night. Smith is the team's leading rebounder with 7.1 per game, Gray has the highest shooting percentage on the team at 50.5%, and Evans is the team's top assist man with 2.7 each night.

As a team, the Red Raiders don't exactly light up the stat sheet, but they possess the unique ability to wear down their opponent just enough to pick up the win, as evidenced by the team's 76-69 victory in Fort Worth earlier this season. Tubby Smith's group is averaging a modest 72.8 points per game while allowing 68.9 to their opponents. As alluded to before, Texas Tech's balanced scoring attack is enough to take down any opponent on any given night. Defenses can't focus on any single scorer, as there are several others lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack.

Transitioning to TCU, the Frogs enter tonight's contest on the heels of one of their most complete games of the season, a 93-82 road loss to #13 Iowa State. Ironically enough, the game marked the most points the team has scored in a regulation road game since dropping 85 in Lubbock in early 2009. The loss in Ames dropped TCU to 11-16 overall and just 2-12 in league play.

After a solid performance on the road over the weekend, Malique Trent is now averaging 11.2 points per game. The stat sheet stuffer is also contributing 3.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.9 steals each night. Fellow sophomore guard Chauncey Collins has been another relatively consistent performer for Trent Johnson. He is adding 11.0 points per game to go along with 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Vladimir Brodziansky is the only other double-digit scorer, averaging 10.0 points per game while also pulling down 4.5 rebounds as well.

Perhaps TCU's biggest secret weapon is true freshman JD Miller, who made his first career start against Iowa State on Saturday. Miller's debut featured his first-ever double-double, as he finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Dallas native has turned it up a notch as of late, resulting in a major increase in playing time.

As is usually the case this time of year, both teams enter tonight's game with some injury issues. Texas Tech is without star center Norense Odiase, who is still recovering from a foot injury suffered against TCU earlier this season. Across the court, TCU will likely be without junior forward Karviar Shepherd, who has missed the better part of the last four games with a back issue.

For more in-depth analysis for tonight's game, check out our Second Chance Points feature.

TCU Projected Starters

Texas Tech Projected Starters

G

Malique Trent

11.2 ppg, 2.9 apg

F

Zach Smith

9.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg

G

Chauncey Collins

11.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg

F

Toddrick Gotcher

10.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg

G

Brandon Parrish

8.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg

F

Matthew Temple

3.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg

F

JD Miller

6.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg

G

Justin Gray

8.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg

F

Vladimir Brodziansky

10.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg

G

Keenan Evans

8.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Here are other game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:

  • TCU is 41-8 when leading at the half under head coach Trent Johnson.
  • TCU will play two out of its final four games of the season on the road.
  • TCU will play its 10th opponent either ranked or receiving votes in its last 15 games at Texas Tech.
  • TCU returned three starters from a year ago in Chris Washburn, Kenrich Williams and Karviar Shepherd.
  • All three are TCU's captains this season.
  • TCU has won five out of its last 11 Big 12 Conference home games.
  • TCU played its first 11 games without Chris Washburn and Kenrich Williams.
  • Williams will miss the entire season with an injury.
  • Malique Trent ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in steals and No. 44 in the NCAA.