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TCU Basketball Preview: Texas (Round 2)

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The Frogs will be looking for their second season sweep of an opponent since joining the Big 12.

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

Game Time: 12:00pm CST | Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX | TV: ESPNEWS | Series: Texas Leads 107-64 | Game Line: TCU -7

The Frogs will be traveling back in time today to face Texas as part of their “Retro Rewind” game. TCU will be rocking some awesome Nike throwback jerseys in front of the home crowd as they look to take down the Longhorns for the second time this season. The awesome look can be seen below:

The team will also be honoring TCU Basketball great and 18-year NBA player Kurt Thomas at halftime and retiring his number.

On the court, the Frogs will be looking for a season sweep of Texas after beating them in Austin earlier this season 64-61. This would be the second time sweeping an opponent since joining the Big 12. Two seasons ago, TCU was able to beat Texas Tech both in Lubbock and at Wilkerson-Greines.

In the earlier matchup this season, it was Vladimir Brodziansky and Jaylen Fisher who helped carry TCU to the road victory. Vlad led the team in scoring with 19 points on 9/14 shooting and Fisher dropped in additional 16 points and knocked down 4 threes in the first half. Jaylen also added in a couple key free throws late that gave TCU their 3-point lead. Kenrich Williams was also a menace in that game, pulling down 13 rebounds to go along with 5 steals and 3 blocks.

After a four-game skid, the Frogs finally got back to their winning ways on Wednesday, taking down Kansas State in Manhattan 86-80 in OT. Neither team did a good job of taking care of the ball, but TCU shot the ball slightly better and a had a slight advantage on the boards. The Frogs also made plays when they needed to, especially JD Miller who was on fire from the corners.

Miller led the team in scoring with 18 points, but it was a group effort as every starter and Karviar Shepherd all finished in double-digits. Kenny Hustle ended the game with a double-double by pulling down 10 boards to go with his 11 points. He leads the Big 12 in double-doubles with 9 on the season, 5 of which have come in conference play. As a team, TCU shot 50% from the field in the game and was 10/17 from beyond the arc, by far their best three point shooting effort of the season.

Since the last time these teams met, Texas has gone 2-4, but three of those losses were a 2-point defeat at home against West Virginia and losses at Baylor and at Kansas. They also lost their Big 12/SEC Challenge match at Georgia, but picked up narrow home wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The Longhorns are now 9-13 overall and 3-6 in conference play and are ranked #123 in the RPI as of yesterday. Because of their low RPI ranking, this game should likely be considered a “must-win,” since a loss at home would greatly damage TCU’s #42 ranking.

Last time out for Texas, they took down Tech 62-58 in Austin behind a strong performance from star freshman Jarrett Allen. He led the game with 19 points on 8/11 shooting and also pulled down 8 rebounds. Sophomore guard Eric Davis Jr. also had a good game, adding in 15 points and going 3/6 from deep, including a late three that sealed the deal. However, one area the Longhorns struggled was free throw shooting, as they went 8/17 from the line.

Both Allen and Davis will be key players to watch in this game. Last time these two teams met, Allen dropped in 18 points and had 9 rebounds and was the main reason the Longhorns stayed with TCU. He is without a doubt one of the best freshmen in the nation, but the Frogs should be better prepared for him the second time around. Davis wasn’t as much of a factor, only adding in 7 points in 31 minutes off the bench.

Two other guards that TCU will have to keep an eye on are sophomore Tevin Mack and freshman Andrew Jones. Mack leads the team in scoring on the year with 14.8 points, but he has missed some games due to suspensions. Jones has really begun to emerge recently for the Longhorns and is averaging 14.5 points over their last 4 games. He was also the player that nailed the game-winning three to beat Oklahoma in Austin a few games ago.

Update: Tevin Mack is still suspended and will not be playing today.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Shutting Down Jarrett Allen

First and foremost, this will be the Frogs biggest concern as Allen caused the most problems for TCU in Austin. It will be important that Vlad and Shepherd are both physical with Allen and keep him off of the offensive glass. On the season, he is averaging 12.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, but is only shooting 59.8% from the free throw line. He has been on a roll recently and has been named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice over the past three weeks. If the Frogs can find a way to keep the ball out of his hands or get him in foul trouble and out of the game, that should make things much simpler.

2 - Getting Off to a Hot Start

TCU came out firing at Kansas State and was able to get out to a 29-15 lead to start the game, which provided a huge boost for the team. However, they were not able to hold the lead long as the Wildcats then went on a 14-0 run to tie the game in a matter of minutes. If the Frogs can find a way to start off on fire like that again today, then they should have a better chance of holding onto that lead in front of their home crowd. The sooner they can put away Texas the better, since you don’t want a talented team like them hanging around.

3 - Will the Hot Shooting Continue?

One reason that TCU was able to put an end to their four-game losing streak was an incredible shooting performance across the board in Manhattan. For a team that has struggled from deep this season, going 10/17 from beyond the arc should provide a huge confidence boost going into today. A major reason that they did well shooting the ball was because they did not hesitate when given open looks. JD and Kenrich took advantage of some good opportunities in key moments to help propel TCU to victory. The question now is will we see similar results today?

Prediction:

This will be an exciting game for Frog fans getting to see the team in their new throwback jerseys and I’m willing to bet the team is pretty excited to wear them. They should come out ready to go and get off to another good start, but not quite as good as the one at K-State. From there I expect the teams to trade mini-runs, but for the most part, TCU should be in control of this game and come away with another conference win. A fifth Big 12 win this year would make this the team’s best season in the conference so far, and we still have 8 more games to go.

Score Prediction: TCU 85, Texas 74

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

  • TCU has matched its record for most Big 12 wins, four during the 2014-15 season.
  • Only two of TCU's seven losses have come to teams outside the top 50 RPI (Auburn at 77, Texas Tech at 87).
  • TCU's NCAA RPI is 43.
  • TCU is 15-4 against unranked opponents.
  • The Frogs are 11-3 at home this season and 3-4 on the road.
  • TCU is 14-3 when outrebounding its opponent.
  • TCU is 6-1 when shooting over 50 percent from the field.
  • TCU is 12-1 when leading at halftime (Baylor).
  • TCU is 9-2 when forcing more turnovers than it commits (Baylor, Auburn).
  • TCU's 76.4 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 16.9 assists per game is the most since the 2000-01 season (18.9).
  • TCU's 36.9 rebounds per game is the most since the 2002-03 season (38.9).
  • TCU currently ranks No. 19 in the NCAA in assists (16.9).
  • Kenrich Williams ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 with 9.4 rebounds per game.
  • Williams is averaging 12.1 points and 9.1 rebounds, over the last seven games.
  • Williams ranks No. 30 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 10th all-time in games played in school history. He is 11 away from the most in school history (129).
  • 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 608 career rebounds and needs 92 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.
  • Alex Robinson has led TCU in assists 15 times this season.
  • Vladimir Brodziansky ranks second in the Big 12 and 25th nationally with 2.4 blocks per game.
  • Brodziansky's 52 total blocks ranks eighth for the most in school history for a single season.
  • TCU's win at Texas was its first in Austin in 30 years, which was Jamie Dixon's senior year.
  • TCU's win over Iowa State was its first in 20 years.
  • TCU's win at Kansas State was its first win in Manhattan in 18 years.