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TCU Basketball Preview: William & Mary

The Frogs wrap up non-conference play against the CAA squad

TCU Basketball vs SMU, December 5, 2017
TCU Basketball vs SMU, December 5, 2017
Melissa Triebwasser

Game Time: 8:00 PM CST | Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena – Fort Worth, TX | TV: Facebook | Series: TCU leads 1-0 | Game Line: TCU -20.5

The #15 TCU Horned Frogs (11-0) wrap up their non-conference slate Friday night, as they take on the William & Mary Tribe (7-3). The Frogs are on a roll to start the season, as they are one of only four remaining unbeaten teams (Arizona State, Miami, Villanova) and own the nation’s longest winning streak at 16. Their latest win came Monday against Texas Southern by a score of 91-72. JD Miller led the way with 20 points, while Vladimir Brodziansky had a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kenrich Williams (17) and Kouat Noi (10) were also in double figures, while Desmond Bane (9 pts, 10 reb) narrowly missed out on a double double. TCU utterly dominated the glass, outrebounding Southern by a margin of 51/29, with 25 of those 51 boards coming on the offensive glass. These second chance opportunities led to blowout despite the Frogs shooting under their season averages at a 43.6/31.6/73.9 split.

William & Mary is coming off a 126-69 obliteration of NAIA opponent Milligan. Nathan Knight led the way with 21 points on 8/9 shooting. Joining Knight in double figures were Justin Pierce (20 and 10 reb), Matt Milon (19), Connor Burchfield (13 on 5/5 shooting), Luke Loewe (13), and Cole Harrison (10). They dominated the lesser competition with the ease that should be expected shooting 65.2% from the floor and 51.6% from three while limiting Milligan to 39.4% from the field. They won the rebounding battle 42/26, assist total 30/16, and turnover battle 10/17. All in all, it was a dominant performance, but one that shouldn’t be read into much considering the level of competition. Looking at W&M’s resume, they have faced three top 100 teams, going 1-2 with losses to UCF and Ohio State and a victory over Old Dominion.

Knight is the team’s best player, averaging 19.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He gets the lion’s share of minutes at center for the team, and uses a boat load of their possessions (34.5%, the 7th most of any player in the country). He draws fouls at an elite rate (8.3 per 40 minutes) and is a force inside on both offense and defense. Pierce is Knight’s frontcourt mate, and he too is having a solid season, averaging a near double double with 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds a game. He is a solid distributor, actually second on the team in assists, and he can also step out and hit a one or two threes a game. Milon gets the start at the three, and the Boston College transfer has proved himself as a three point marksman, averaging 13.9 points per game on 53.6% from behind the line. He profiles like W&M’s Desmond Bane, not using a ton of possessions but knocking down his opportunities when given the chance. He doesn’t give you a ton outside of the shooting, but he’s a perfect complimentary player. David Cohn runs the point for the Tribe and is the team’s primary distributor (30.3 assist rate, 86th in the country). Cohn, like his fellow starters, is an efficient scorer with range, and his 63.7% eFG is 90th in the country (3rd on the team), however he has struggled with turnovers, giving the ball away on over a quarter of his possessions (26.0 TO rate). The final starter is yet another efficient scorer in Burchfield. The senior averages 13 points a game and shoots 57% from deep; his ridiculous 73.8% eFG ranks 6th in the whole country. Like Milon, he doesn’t provide much other than efficient scoring, but as a tertiary option that is all the Tribe really needs out of him.

The Tribe rely heavily on their starting 5, with all of them averaging double figures while no one on their bench averages more than 6 points a game. Their top reserve is forward Paul Rowley, who exists primarily to chuck up threes and provide some kind of inside presence off the bench. He shoots a healthy 40% from deep, but has gravely struggled against top competition (4.5 points per game on 25% shooting against Ohio State and UCF). Senior guard Oliver Tot sees a healthy amount of minutes, but is nearly invisible on the court, taking only 12 shots all year. There’s not a whole lot to say about Tot, he will be out on the court but it is unlikely he makes an discernable impact. Freshman guard Jihar Williams will see the court, and he breaks the trend of efficient scorers as his 26.7% eFG is abysmal. He may see the court for around 5 minutes, as his only two games with heavy action were against NAIA and D3 opponents. The same goes for Dartmouth transfer Cole Harrison, who fouls a lot (8.2 fouls/40), but eats minutes at the center position. The only other player who has seen meaningful action has been freshman Luke Loewe, who has struggled mightily against D1 competition.

With how much I’ve written about the efficiency of the Tribe’s starters, it should come as no surprise that they have a solid offense. Their offensive rating is ranked 64th in the country (110.0), while they are a top ten team in eFG% (59.5%, 7th). They are especially deadly from three, where their 43.5% shooting is 6th in the country, and from the free throw line, where their 80.6% shooting is 2nd. Their only offensive weaknesses are a complete inability to hit the offensive glass (ranked 341st at a 20.5 rate) and despite Knight’s penchant for getting to the line, a pretty bad ratio of free throws attempted to field goals attempted. While W&M are no doubt solid on offense, they are downright awful on defense. They sport a 113.3 defensive rating, 333rd in the nation, and teams routinely outscore their season averages against their porous defense. While they shoot an eFG% of 59.5, they allow opponents to shoot 57.9%, 330th in the country, while also being unable to limit opponent possessions (14.1 opponent TO rate ranking 348th). The prime example of their fatal flaws can be seen in their 97-62 loss to Ohio State, where they went cold from three and only got to the line 6 times. Meanwhile, they let the Buckeyes shoot 52% from three and 73% on twos, and they were promptly run out of Columbus. The Frogs profile more similarly to Ohio State than any of the Tribe’s other opponents, which doesn’t look good for W&M.

Three Things to Look for

Stop the three

While W&M have struggled against top flight competition, the ability to drain the three ball can keep a team in games they shouldn’t otherwise be in. The TCU defense has been stout inside, but has occasionally let teams get hot from behind the arc. That’s a recipe for disaster against the Tribe. Run players like Burchfield and Milon off the line and use your athleticism advantage to win the battle inside, and W&M will have a rough time keeping this game close.

Make them pay on the other end

If stopping the key component of the Tribe offense is the first key to the game, pounding them with efficient scoring on the other end is the secondary goal. TCU has to take advantage of the horrid defense of W&M, and put them away early. The Frogs sport the #10 offense in the nation, so this in theory shouldn’t be a problem, but now is not the game to get locked into a defensive struggle. Put up a ton of points early and force the Tribe out of their three point game, and this will be a runaway game quickly.

Stay fresh

The Tribe don’t play their starters as much as a team like SMU, but almost all of their production does come from their starting five. Rotating guys in and constantly making those five guys work is going to be essential for grinding down W&M. If by the last ten minutes players like Knight are getting heavy legs, the game is already lost for the Tribe. Luckily, the Frogs rotate guys in like Kouat Noi, Alex Robinson, and Ahmed Hamdy, which can take a load off their starters and ensure that the Tribe have their hands full for the full 40.


William & Mary has solid individual players, but collectively their defense is too porous to present a threat to the Frogs. Expect multiple guys to hit double figures and for the Frogs to come close to hitting 100 points. For how explosive W&M is, TCU is just as good on offense, while maintaining a far better defense.

Despite thinking the Frogs will run away with it, I still expect players like Knight and Milon to get their volume numbers. I’d argue the Tribe have a shot to make a little bit of noise in the CAA, just that Big 12 play will be a little too far above their pay grade. This will serve as a nice warm up for the start of conference play against Trae Young and the Oklahoma Sooners on the 30th.

Prediction: #15 TCU 97, William & Mary 78

Here are the game notes, courtesy of

- TCU has won 16-straight games, the longest streak in the nation, dating back to last season.

- TCU’s 16-game winning streak ties the 1997-98 team for the longest in school history. TCU has won 18 of its last 20 games.

- The Frogs are coming off a 91-72 win over Texas Southern Monday behind a career-high 20 points from JD Miller. TCU had a season-low eight turnovers and brought down 51 rebounds including 25 offensive, the most since 2015.

- TCU is one of four unbeaten teams in NCAA DI.

- TCU is ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25, its highest ranking since the 1997-98 season. TCU is No. 12 in the USA Today Poll.

- TCU is 26-2 against non-conference opponents under head coach Jamie Dixon. The losses are Auburn and at SMU.

- TCU is 43-16 all-time as a ranked team, including a 21-2 record at home.

- TCU’s 11-0 start to the season is its best since starting the 2014-15 season 13-0.

- TCU leads the Big 12 Conference in 3-point percentage at 42.1.

- TCU ranks among the national leaders in assists (5th, 19.6), field goal percentage (8th, 52.0), 3-point percentage (12th, 42.1) and scoring (16th, 87.6).

- After averaging 7.1 points as a freshman last season, Desmond Bane is averaging 12.8 points as a sophomore.

- Kenrich Williams has recorded six double-doubles and leads the team with 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds this season.

- Vladimir Brodziansky ranks fifth in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 65.1.

- Brodziansky ranks fourth all-time at TCU in blocked shots with 134. He is 32 away from third and 37 away from the school-record of 171.

- TCU returned its top six scorers from last season’s team that went 24-15, finished tied for seventh in the Big 12 and won the NIT, including all five starters. It’s the first time Jamie Dixon has had a team with every starter returning from the year before.

- TCU returned 79 percent of its scoring and 79 percent of its rebounding from last season.

- One season after winning its first postseason tournament, TCU will try to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. Since 1985, 58 percent of the teams that won the NIT made the NCAA Tournament the following season.

About the Opponent

- William & Mary has won six of its last seven games and is coming off a 126-69 win over Milligan on Sunday.

- The Tribe set a school record for points in a game, while shooting 65.2 percent from the field in head coach Tony Shaver’s 200th win at W&M. Sophomore Nathan Knight led the Tribe with 21 points to increase his team-leading scoring average to 19.6.

- Founded in 1693, William & Mary is the second oldest college in America.

- The Tribe returned eight letterwinners, including one starter, from last season’s team that finished 17-14.

- William & Mary was picked to finish eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association.

About The Series

- TCU leads the all-time series with William & Mary, 1-0.

- The lone meeting was a 76-71 win by the Horned Frogs on Dec. 30, 1964 in El Paso, part of the Sun Bowl Carnival.

Offensive Rebounding

TCU brought down 25 offensive rebounds in a 91-72 win over Texas Southern. It was the most rebounds by the Horned Frogs since Jan. 28, 2015 when they had 26 against Kansas State.

Top 25 Ranking

TCU is ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll for the fourth-straight week at No. 15. The Frogs debuted in this season’s rankings at No. 23 on Nov. 27. Prior to this season, TCU was last ranked on Dec. 22, 2014, coming in at No. 25 after sporting an 11-0 record at the time. TCU’s highest ranking this season was No. 14, its highest ranking since Feb. 23, 1998 when the Frogs were ranked 13th, the highest in school history.

- As a ranked team, TCU is 41-16 all-time, including 19-2 at home.

- With wins over Belmont, Nevada, SMU and Yale. TCU defeated four-straight opponents as a ranked team for the first time since the 1997-98 season when it won five straight from Feb. 19,1998 to March 5, 1998.

- TCU has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for four consecutive weeks. The school record for consecutive weeks in the poll is seven, which occurred during the 1958-59 season.

- When No. 20 TCU faced No. 22 Nevada in Los Angeles, it was the first time TCU faced a ranked team, while also ranked since March 6, 1998 when No. 20 New Mexico defeated No. 15 TCU 80-73 in the second round of the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.

- TCU is one of four NCAA DI schools ranked in the Top 25 in football and men’s basketball joining Miami, Michigan State, Oklahoma and USC.

Shooting And Scoring

- TCU ranks second in the Big 12 and eighth in the NCAA in field goal shooting (52.0%) and first in the Big 12 and 12th in the NCAA in 3-point shooting (42.1%).

- Over 60 percent of TCU’s field goals (346) were assisted (216), a percentage of 62.4. The Frogs rank second in the Big 12 and fifth in the NCAA in assists per game (19.6).

- TCU's offensive efficiency ranks 11th at 117.6 according to

- TCU has scored over 90 points five times this season. It's the most times the Frogs have scored 90 or more in a season since the 2001-02 season when they did it 13 times.

- Desmond Bane ranks No. 4 nationally in true shooting percentage (75.0%) and field goal efficiency (75.6%) according to

- TCU has three among the top 15 in shooting percentage in the Big 12... 5. Vladimir Brodziansky - 65.1, 8. Desmond Bane - 58.8. 15. JD Miller - 53.3.

- TCU has three among the top four in 3-point field goal percentage in the Big 12... 1. Desmond Bane - 54.2, 2. Kenrich Williams - 50.0, 4. Kouat Noi - 46.4.

Nation’s Longest Win Streak

TCU boasts the nation’s longest win streak, having won 16-straight games dating back to last season. The Frogs’ last lost came on March 10, 2017, against Iowa State in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship. As of Friday, that last loss was 287 days ago.

- TCU’s streak of 16 games is tied for the longest in school history with the 1997-98 season.

- TCU’s 11-straight wins this season are its most to start a season since the first 13 games of the 2014-15 season before finishing 18-15.

- TCU won 14 straight during the 1987-88 season, Jamie Dixon’s senior season as a player.

- During the 16-game streak, Kenrich Williams has produced 11 double-doubles and is averaging 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.


As of Thursday, TCU is one of four undefeated teams in NCAA DI. The Frogs are joined by Arizona State, Miami, Villanova.

Rebounding Machine

TCU has been outrebounded one time this season. Here is a breakdown of win/loss records when outrebounding opponents. TCU this season: 10-0 TCU under Dixon: 32-5 TCU over the last three seasons: 41-6 Jamie Dixon coached teams (Pitt/TCU): 296-53


Senior Vladimir Brodziansky is the 34th member of the 1,000 point club. At 1,019 points, the Slovakian is tied with Amric Fields for 31st on the all-time scoring list. He is seven points behind James Cash for 30th.