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TCU Basketball Preview: Texas (Round 1)

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Check out all you need to know for the Frogs’ trip to Austin tonight.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 7:00pm CST | Location: Frank Erwin Center - Austin, TX | TV: Longhorn Network | Series: Texas Leads 107-63 | Game Line: PK

After falling to West Virginia late in Morgantown on Saturday, TCU must now regroup and get ready to take on the Longhorns in Austin. Since joining the Big 12, the Frogs have struggled to win in Austin, losing each of the four games by double-digits. However, this improved TCU team has the ability to get it done against a Texas team that has had some struggles at home this season.

Road woes have plagued the Frogs since joining the Big 12. TCU is 1-36 in conference road games, with their only victory coming in Lubbock two seasons ago. Jamie Dixon’s squad is 1-2 on the road thus far this season, but looked competitive through the first 35 minutes in Morgantown.

In the 82-70 defeat, Alex Robinson led the team in scoring with 17 points, 9 of which came from the free throw line on 11 attempts. Kenny Hustle once again was the top rebounder for the Frogs, pulling down 7 boards. Both players will likely need to be factors tonight if TCU wants to come away with a win.

Vladimir Brodziansky also had a nice game against the Mountaineers, dropping in 14 points and pulling down 6 rebounds. He has really emerged as an offensive threat for the Frogs since the opening of Big 12 play. On the season, Vlad is averaging 11.4 points per game and is shooting 59% from the field.

Texas has struggled so far this season to mesh all of their talent together and enters the game at 7-8. They are currently ranked #145 in the RPI, which is 9th in the Big 12 ahead of only Oklahoma. They have also struggled to pull away from teams home and have losses at the Erwin Center to UT-Arlington and Kent State.

The Longhorns have also struggled to get their offense working, only averaging 70.4 points per game, whereas TCU is putting up 77.9 points on average. They are shooting 43.9% from the field, but that number drops to 30.5% from beyond the arc.

Sophomore guard Tevin Mack has been the leader for this young Texas team so far this year. Mack is averaging 15.2 points per game and shooting 45.8% from the field, but has struggled at the free throw line where he is shooting 57.1%. Sophomore Kerwin Roach Jr. is the main facilitator for the Longhorns offense, averaging 3.4 assists per game. He is also 2nd on the team in scoring, dropping in 11.6 points per game.

Manning the post for Texas will be freshman and McDonald’s All-American Jarrett Allen. He was ranked 15th in the ESPN100 as a recruit and has been an important piece for the Longhorns so far this season. He leads the team on the boards, grabbing 7.6 rebounds per game. Allen is 3rd on the team in scoring with 10.7 points per game and is shooting an impressive 55.9% from the field. However, TCU will want to pressure him in the post since he has been susceptible to turnovers this season.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Free Throw Shooting

A lot has been said about TCU’s free throw shooting over the past few years but they deserve some credit for their recent improvements. Since opening Big 12 play against Kansas, the Frogs are shooting a much improved 76.6% from the line. Alex Robinson has shown great strides over the past few games, shooting 78.6% at the stripe.

However, Vlad has been the most consistent free throw shooter for TCU. Vlad is shooting 79.1% from the line this season, but has been an even more impressive 94.1% over the past few games. The Frogs will want to continue to improve at the line in order to be even more competitive in the Big 12, but they do deserve credit for their improvements recently.

2 - Taking Care of the Ball

The Frogs really hurt themselves in Morgantown by turning the ball over 18 times and surrendering 28 points off of those turnovers. Lucky for the Frogs, Texas is not Press Virginia. However, Shaka Smart will look to pressure TCU and force turnovers in order to create easy opportunities for his young team. If the Frogs can keep themselves under 10 turnovers against the Longhorns, they should have no problems putting them away.

3 - Texas’ Youth

The Longhorns’ five most used players in terms of minutes are all freshmen and sophomores. Although they are a talented group of players, they will make mistakes and the Frogs need to expose them. The five Longhorns average a combined 7.2 turnovers per game, so TCU will look to pressure them and create opportunities for their own offense. The Frogs should be able to benefit from having more experienced players like seniors Brandon Parrish and Karviar Shepherd.

Prediction:

Look for the Frogs to come out of the gates early and try and get their offense rolling from the start. Alex Robinson will likely be the team’s leader on offense once again, whether it is finding ways to score himself or getting the ball to his teammates in good spots. Karviar Shepherd could have a big game off the bench by providing some physicality in the post to matchup with Allen. In the end, the Frogs should be able to pull away and improve to 2-36 in Big 12 road games all-time and 2-2 in conference this season.

Score Prediction: TCU 76, Texas 68

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

  • TCU and Texas will meet for the 171st time on Wednesday.
  • The Frogs are looking for their first Big 12 road win since Jan. 17, 2014-15, a 62-42 win at Texas Tech.
  • Two of TCU’s three losses have been to top 10-ranked teams in No. 3 Kansas and No. 7 West Virginia.
  • TCU is 12-1 against unranked opponents.
  • The Frogs are 1-2 away from home this season.
  • TCU currently ranks No. 31 in assists (17.0) in the NCAA and No. 37 in steals (8.1).
  • Brandon Parrish played in his 111th game last Friday and is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.
  • Parrish needs to play in only eight more games to move into the top-10 all-time in games played in school history.
  • Parrish has made at least one 3-pointer in six of his last seven games.
  • Karviar Shepherd is No. 6 all-time in career starts at TCU with 95. He played in his 100th game against Arkansas State
  • Shepherd has tallied 594 career rebounds and needs only 106 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.
  • Alex Robinson has recorded 14 games of five or more assists in his career.
  • Robinson has averaged 15 points in the three Big 12 games, which ranks 10th in the conference.
  • Robinson, who was named to the all-tournament team in Vegas, has led TCU in assists 10 times this season.
  • Kenrich Williams leads the Big 12 with 9.5 rebounds per game.
  • Williams’ 18 boards are the most in the Big 12 Conference this season and tied for the 16th most in the NCAA.
  • Williams ranks No. 19 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds with a 3.6 average on the season.
  • This season, Williams has one more rebound (124), than points (123).
  • Vladimir Brodziansky ranks second in the Big 12 with 2.2 blocks per game.
  • Brodziansky recorded a career-high 28 points against Kansas marking his second 20+ scoring outing this season.
  • Brodziansky is one of two players averaging double-digits in scoring with 11.4 this season.