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TCU Basketball Preview: Oklahoma (Round 1)

The Frogs will be looking for their first conference win of the season against a struggling post-Buddy Sooners team.

NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 8:00pm CST | Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX | TV: ESPNU | Series: Oklahoma Leads 16-2 | Game Line: TCU -10

After falling to #3 Kansas in a tight game 86-80 last time out, TCU will now host Oklahoma in their 2nd Big 12 game of the season. The Frogs enter the game at 11-2 and will be hoping to get their first conference win so far this season.

TCU showed many positives in their last game out against Kansas. They came out and started strong and were able to build an early lead thanks to some sharp shooting out of the gates. The Frogs also showed some improvement at the line, knocking 19 of their 25 free throw attempts. Forward Vladimir Brodziansky was an impressive 10/11 at the line.

Speaking of Vlad, what an incredible performance he put on for TCU. He led the game in scoring with 28 points and also grabbed 9 boards. He showed an excellent finishing ability around the rim and capitalized on his opportunities when he was fouled, converting several three-point plays. He also showed the ability to shoot mid-range jumpers which can help stretch opponents’ defenses.

Kenrich Williams, who was the team’s MVP through non-conference play, once again showed his hustle and finished the game with another double-double. He had 11 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Senior Brandon Parrish, who is one of the team’s most vocal leaders, was big time off the bench, going 3/4 from beyond the arc and finishing the game with 9 points.

Now, TCU will turn its attention to beating the Sooners, something the Frogs have only done once since joining the Big 12. Oklahoma enters the game at 6-6 and ranked #168 in the RPI, whereas TCU is #26.

Although their record is only .500, none of their losses have been necessarily bad losses, excluding their most recent game when they were blown out in Norman by 26 points by Baylor. The loss to the Bears was the 4th-straight defeat for the Sooners, which means they will be desperately seeking a win tonight.

One major piece that was missing for the Sooners in the loss to Baylor will also likely be missing against the Frogs. Senior guard Jordan Woodard, a starter from last year’s Final Four team and Oklahoma’s leading scorer this season, is doubtful to play tonight. Without him, the Sooners struggled to get anything going offensively against the Bears. He has averaged 17.6 points per game in the 10 games he has played in this season, so he would be missed if he can not play tonight.

Looking to fill the scoring gap left by Woodard will be guards Christian James and Kameron McGusty. They were the top two scorers against the Bears, but only combined for 20 points. James is an excellent three point shooter, so the Frogs will not want to give him too much space. McGusty, a talented freshman from Katy, TX, has only recently seen a major increase in playing time with the absence of Woodard.

The Frogs will also want to keep tabs on junior big man Khadeem Lattin. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the grandson of David Lattin, a starter on Texas Western’s (UTEP) 1966 national championship team. It will likely be the responsibility of Brodziansky to keep Lattin, the Sooners’ leading rebounder, off the boards.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Excitement Levels

In their Big 12 opener, TCU came out strong against Kansas and was clearly excited. You could tell right out of the gates how fired up this team was and that they believed they could win. There was a giant target on the backs of the Jayhawks, who are ranked #3 in the nation and seeking their 13th-straight Big 12 regular season title, and TCU took their best shot, narrowly losing.

Now, the Horned Frogs welcome an Oklahoma team for a game that doesn’t have nearly as much excitement surrounding it as the Kansas game. It will be interesting to see if the Frogs come out fired up like they did against Kansas for this game. If they can play with the same intensity they showed on Friday night, then TCU should come away with a win tonight.

2 - Breakout of Brodziansky

Vlad has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his time so far at TCU, but I don’t think many of us expected such a breakout performance against one of the best teams in the nation. Since becoming a consistent starter, he has given the Frogs a reliable post presence and his versatility makes him a problem for opposing teams. Against physical post players, he can step out and knock down shots, and against not-so-big men, he can work them down in the post and finish at the rim. It’ll be tough to top such a stellar performance, but he has definitely shown what he can do.

3 - Not Allowing Second Chances

One thing that hurt the Frogs in the loss to Kansas was the inability to keep Landen Lucas off of the offensive glass. Lucas had 7 of the Jayhawks’ 14 offensive boards, which led to extended possessions and second chances in key moments of the game. TCU will want to crash the boards hard and make sure that they can keep Lattin from giving the Sooners too many extra chances.

Prediction:

Based on Dixon’s post-game comments from the Kansas game about responding to losses in Big 12 play, I don’t expect much of a lull from the Frogs tonight. I expect them to come out firing as they did against the Jayhawks and take control of this game early. The defense should frustrate the young Sooner guards and limit their ability to get any offense going. Watch for another breakout game from Vladimir Brodziansky and another solid effort from Kenrich Williams. Both of them could be working their way towards All-Big 12 status.

Score Prediction: TCU 81, Oklahoma 58

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

• TCU and Oklahoma will meet for the 19th time on Tuesday night.

• Oklahoma is one of four Big 12 teams head coach Jamie Dixon will be facing for the first time in his career.

• TCU currently ranks No. 40 in turnovers forced in the NCAA and No. 34 in turnover margin.

Brandon Parrish played in his 110th game last Friday and is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.

• Parrish needs to play in only nine more games to move into the top-10 all-time in games played in school history.

Karviar Shepherd is now No. 6 all-time in career starts at TCU with 95. He played in his 100th game against Arkansas State.

• Shepherd has tallied 589 career rebounds and needs only 111 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.

Alex Robinson has recorded 13 games of five or more assists in his career. He had 10 against SMU.

• Robinson, who was named to the all-tournament team in Vegas, has led TCU in assists eight times this season.

• Robinson scored a career-high 24 points against Washington in Las Vegas and had a career-high 10 assists versus SMU.

Kenrich Williams grabbed a career-high 18 boards against UNLV. He has now had 10 or more boards in 4 of the last 6 games.

• Williams' 18 boards are the most in the Big 12 Conference this season and tied for the 16th most in the NCAA.

• Williams posted his fifth double-double of the season versus Wofford with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

• Williams ranks No. 15 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds with a 3.91 average on the season.

Vladimir Brodziansky got his first start of the season against Wofford and finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

• Brodziansky recorded a career-high 28 points against Kansas marking his second 20+ scoring outing this season.

• The junior is now one of four players averaging double-digits in scoring with 11.8 this season.