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TCU Basketball Preview: Oklahoma State (Round 1)

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Get to know more about tonight’s opponent.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 6:00pm CST | Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena - Stillwater, OK | TV: ESPNU | Series: Oklahoma State Leads 23-4 | Game Line: Oklahoma State -4

After going 0-2 last week, TCU will now hit the road again for a Big 12 matchup against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The two teams have split the series over the past two years with both teams winning twice, each on their own home courts. However, the Frogs have had a much tougher time in Stillwater since joining the conference. TCU has lost all four contests at Gallagher-Iba by an average of nearly 21 points per game since coming into the Big 12.

TCU will enter the game at 14-5 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 play, which puts them in a tie with Texas Tech for 6th in the conference. The Frogs are currently ranked #30 in the RPI, an important metric come Selection Sunday.

The Frogs are coming off of two losses this past week, falling 75-69 in Lubbock last Wednesday and 62-53 to Baylor at home on Saturday night. Against the Red Raiders, it was foul trouble that caused problems for TCU, whereas it was poor shooting that hurt them against the Bears.

Vladimir Brodziansky once again stole the show for the Frogs over the course of the week, averaging 20.5 points and 8 rebounds across both games. He also showed that he can space the floor well and step back and shoot from behind the arc, knocking down a pair of threes in each game.

Kenrich Williams also had a good week for the Frogs, averaging 16 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two games. He leads the conference in rebounds per game this season with 9.7 per game and offensive rebounds with 3.5 per game. Kenny Hustle also caused problems defensively last week, finishing with 4 steals and a block.

The Frogs will need both players to have big games once again tonight in order to come away with a road win, especially defensively and on the boards. Coming into today’s game, the Cowboys are averaging 87.8 points per game, which is in the top 10 nationally.

Oklahoma State enters the game at 11-8 overall and 1-6 in Big 12 play. They are coming off of a road win in Lubbock, which gave them their only conference win so far this season and moved them up in the RPI to #54. A solid non-conference schedule and record in those games has kept that ranking up for them and first-year head coach Brad Underwood, who was at Stephen F. Austin prior to OSU.

Against the Red Raiders, the Cowboys took a 7-5 lead with about 14 minutes to go in the first half and never gave it up en route to a 83-64 win. Aside from turning it over 18 times, Oklahoma State dominated the game throughout. They shot 55% from the field and an incredible 68.8% from beyond the arc. The Cowboys also converted at the free throw line, where they shot 75.7%, and out-rebounded Tech 31-18.

The backcourt is the strength of the Oklahoma State roster, led by Big 12 Player of the Year candidate Jawun Evans. The sophomore point guard is the team leader in scoring and assists, averaging 17.7 points and 5.2 assists per game. He is 3rd in the Big 12 in scoring and is 4th in the conference with 2.1 steals per game.

Joining Evans in the backcourt this season are redshirt junior Jeffrey Carroll and fifth-year senior Phil Forte. Both players are experienced and can put up points in a hurry. Carroll is just behind Evans in scoring with 17.6 points per game, which is 4th in the Big 12. He is shooting 57.9% from the field and 49.2% from deep. He also leads the team in rebounding, pulling down 7.2 boards per game.

Forte, who has always been known as a shooter, is 3rd on the team in scoring with 14.1 points per game. He leads the team in minutes per game and the Frogs will want to keep him away from the free throw line, where he is shooting 93.8%.

In the front court, TCU will have to contend with senior Leyton Hammonds and junior Mitchell Solomon. Hammonds is 2nd on the team in rebounding, grabbing 5.1 per game. Solomon is 2nd on the team in shooting, making 56.1% of his shots from the field.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Three Point Shooting

There’s no way around it, TCU had an absolutely terrible night from deep against Baylor. The Frogs were 6/25 from beyond the arc on Saturday, which translates out to 24%. This team has some streaky shooters, but they have struggled to get going in conference play. Even in the three Big 12 games that the Frogs have won, they have not broken 33% from deep. Open threes are a great opportunity to get some momentum going, especially right after an offensive rebound or in transition, but TCU just hasn’t knocked them down when needed. It’ll be interesting to watch tonight if they can get it going from deep.

2 - Getting Multiple Guys Going

Throughout the season, TCU has done its best when multiple players have contributed to the scoring. In the win over Iowa State earlier this month, the Frogs had four players score in double-digits. However, Vlad and Kenrich have carried the load for the TCU offense over the past few games. If they can get some help off the bench from guys like Brandon Parrish, Desmond Bane, and Karviar Shepherd, it will help them come away with the win tonight.

3 - Setting the Tempo

This game presents an excellent matchup for the Frogs. Both teams have a lot of talent and like to play fast. However, the Cowboys like to play even faster than the Frogs and will look to get their guys out on the run. TCU will benefit from slowing the game down and getting chances to set up their defense. The last thing the Frogs will need is a fast break dunk or a transition three for Oklahoma State to get their crowd going.

Prediction:

Tonight poses a great opportunity to come away with Big 12 a road win, as Oklahoma State is currently near the bottom of the conference. However, after seeing what they did against Texas Tech in Lubbock, I think the Cowboys are finally starting to put it together. TCU will be able to keep it close until the very end as they have in every Big 12 game so far, but I think they are heading to Oklahoma State at the wrong time.

Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 84, TCU 79

Fan Poll:

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

  • None of TCU's five losses have come to teams outside the top 50 RPI.
  • TCU's NCAA RPI is 30.
  • TCU is 14-2 against unranked opponents.
  • The Frogs are 11-2 at home this season and 2-3 on the road.
  • TCU is 13-2 when outrebounding its opponent.
  • TCU is 12-1 when leading at halftime (Baylor).
  • TCU is 9-1 when forcing more turnovers than it commits (Baylor).
  • TCU currently ranks No. 25 in the NCAA in assists (16.9).
  • Kenrich Williams ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 with 9.7 rebounds per game.
  • Williams is averaging a double-double, 12.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, over the last four games.
  • Williams ranks No. 21 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds with a 3.4 average on the season.
  • Brandon Parrish is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.
  • Parrish needs to play in only four 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 nine of his last 11 games.
  • Karviar Shepherd is No. 6 all-time in career starts at TCU with 96. He played in his 100th game against Arkansas State
  • Shepherd has tallied 600 career rebounds and needs only 100 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.
  • Alex Robinson has recorded 17 games of five or more assists in his career.
  • Robinson has led TCU in assists 12 times this season.
  • Vladimir Brodziansky ranks second in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally with 2.4 blocks per game.