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TCU Basketball Preview: Iowa State (Round 2)

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Can the Frogs pull off a sweep of the Cyclones?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 5:00pm CST | Location: Hilton Coliseum - Ames, IA | TV: ESPNEWS | Series: Iowa State Leads 9-6 | Game Line: Iowa State -7.5

After falling in Waco last Saturday 70-52 and dropping a heartbreaker 71-68 at home against Oklahoma State on Wednesday, TCU will now travel to Ames looking for a sweep of Iowa State. The Frogs beat the Cyclones 84-77 earlier in the season, which was TCU’s first win over Iowa State since joining the Big 12.

Last time these teams met, TCU took a 44-41 lead into halftime and held their lead the entire 2nd half, never trailing. The Frogs did a magnificent job on offense, moving the ball around and finding easy shots. They shot 56.9% from the field against the Cyclones and assisted on 27 of 37 made field goals. TCU also dominated down low, out-rebounding Iowa State 36-27 and blocking eight shots.

Vladimir Brodziansky was the star of the game for TCU, scoring 25 points on 11/14 shooting and getting a double-double with 14 rebounds. Kenrich Williams also finished with a double-double, dropping in 13 points and pulling down 13 boards. Off the bench, senior Brandon Parrish and freshman Desmond Bane both scored in double-digits. Jaylen Fisher was the main facilitator on offense and finished with 9 points and 11 assists.

In their last game out, the Frogs were in a fantastic position to win with a 68-65 lead with 1:39 remaining in the game. However, the team couldn’t connect on shots down the stretch. especially threes, and Oklahoma State was able to walk away with the win. TCU was unable to shut down the hot hand for the Cowboys (Hammonds in the 1st half, Evans in the 2nd half) and was forcing it too much in the closing minutes.

There were a couple bright spots for the Frogs, namely JD Miller and Kenrich. Miller continued his current form by leading the team with 16 points and was 6/11 from the field. Kenny Hustle was able to finish with yet another double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring 12 points. Vlad managed to finish with 12 points as well, but was only 3/7 from the field.

Iowa State has gone 5-4 since these teams last met, including an impressive 92-89 victory at Kansas, which ended the Jayhawks’ 50+ game home winning streak. They are currently 16-9 overall and 8-5 in the Big 12, which puts them in 4th in the conference. The Cyclones should be heading to the NCAA Tournament and are currently projected as a 9-seed in ESPN’s Bracketology and are ranked #46 in the RPI (through games on Feb. 16), 3 spots ahead of TCU.

The Cyclones come in on a two game winning streak and won 87-79 at Kansas State in their last game. Iowa State led from start to finish, but the Wildcats did manage to make it interesting down the stretch. All five starters finished with double-digit points and were led by freshman Solomon Young with 18 points. Young also grabbed 12 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive end, for a double-double. Iowa State shot the ball well and were 7/15 from beyond the arc and 22/26 at the free throw line.

In the last game between the Frogs and the Cyclones, Iowa State was led by senior Nazareth Mitrou-Long, who finished with 19 points. Star guards Monte Morris and Deonte Burton struggled in Fort Worth, combining for only 14 points on 5/24 shooting in 30+ minutes for each player. Morris did manage to have eight assists and three steals, so he had an impact in other ways. Donovan Jackson helped keep them in the game by scoring 16 points off of the bench.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Stopping Solomon Young

Last time these teams met, Young was not a part of the Cyclones’ usual starting lineup and he only played for three minutes in Fort Worth. However, he has started the past two games for Iowa State (both wins) and has been their main guy down low. In order to find a way to win, TCU’s bigs like Vlad and Shepherd will need to keep him from getting the ball and make sure he can’t get on the boards. Young has a knack for grabbing offensive boards and it can be costly to let a good offensive team like Iowa State get multiple chances per possession.

2 - Finding New Ways to Use Vlad

Over the past few games, Vlad’s production has fallen off as opponents have begun to apply double-teams and pressure him in the post. He has struggled to create offensively and has turned the ball over trying to pass out of the double-teams. If the Frogs want to get a win in Ames today, Vlad will have to be able to produce on the offensive end. I would not be surprised to see TCU go big against a guard-heavy lineup like Iowa State’s, which could be good if they put Shepherd down low and move Vlad further out. After all, he has shown a nice shooting touch from outside.

3 - Finishing the Game

Lastly, TCU needs to find a way to finish games when they have a lead late, something they couldn’t do against Oklahoma State this week. Down the stretch, the Frogs were shooting too many threes trying to find a dagger, even though they had had success attacking the basket. I’m not saying they shouldn’t take open threes if they have them, but it felt like so many were forced late against the Cowboys. They are a young team for the most part, but let’s hope they have learned from some of their mistakes and find ways to close out key games.

Prediction:

The Frogs have a chance to win this game, which would be a major boost to their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, but Iowa State is a very difficult place to play and the Cyclones will be looking for revenge. I don’t expect Vlad to be able to duplicate his performance against Iowa State earlier in the year and I believe Burton will be better for the Cyclones than he was in the first matchup. It’ll be close, but I expect the Frogs to come up just short and move closer to that bubble line.

Score Prediction: Iowa State 77, TCU 70

Fan Poll:

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

  • In its five seasons in the Big 12, TCU has three road conference wins, two of those wins coming this season.
  • In 12 Big 12 games, Jamie Dixon has coached as many conference wins (6) as TCU had in the last three years combined.
  • TCU's NCAA RPI is 49.
  • TCU last played in the NCAA Tournament in 1998 with its last win in the tournament coming in 1987 when Dixon was a player.
  • TCU is 17-5 against unranked opponents.
  • The Frogs are 13-4 at home this season and 3-5 on the road.
  • TCU is 16-4 when outrebounding its opponent.
  • TCU is 7-1 when shooting over 50 percent from the field.
  • TCU is 14-1 when leading at halftime (Baylor).
  • TCU is 10-3 when forcing more turnovers than it commits.
  • TCU's 74.7 points per game is the highest average since the 2002-03 season (80.4).
  • TCU is shooting 46.3 percent from the field, the most since the 1998-99 season (49.1).
  • TCU's 16.7 assists per game is the most since the 2000-01 season (18.9).
  • TCU's 36.0 rebounds per game is the most since the 2002-03 season (38.9).
  • TCU currently ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 21 in the NCAA in assists (16.7).
  • Kenrich Williams ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 38 in the NCAA with 9.3 rebounds per game.
  • Williams ranks No. 23 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds with a 3.3 average on the season.
  • Brandon Parrish is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.
  • Parrish ranks 4th all-time in games played in school history. He is 7 away from the most in school history (129).
  • Karviar Shepherd has tallied 617 career rebounds and needs 83 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.
  • Alex Robinson has led TCU in assists 19 times this season.
  • Robinson has at least four assists in all but four games this season.
  • Vladimir Brodziansky ranks second in the Big 12 and 28th nationally with 2.3 blocks per game.
  • Brodziansky's 60 total blocks ranks eighth for the most in school history for a single season.
  • TCU has two consecutive losses despite 7 and 10 turnovers in those games.