Game Time: 8:00pm CST | Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX | TV: ESPNEWS | Series: Texas Tech Leads 79-50 | Game Line: TCU -2.5
Coming off of a 2-0 week after beating Kansas State in Manhattan and taking down Texas in Fort Worth, TCU will now welcome Texas Tech to town tonight. The Frogs will be looking for revenge after falling in Lubbock earlier this season, which was the first of four straight losses for TCU.
In Lubbock, the Red Raiders came away with a narrow 75-69 victory due to a considerable advantage at the free throw line. Tech went 25/31 from the stripe that night compared to TCU who was 5/9. The Frogs did manage to keep it close though due to shooting 47.5% from the field, as they consistently earned quality looks.
In that loss, Vladimir Brodziansky led the way for TCU with 22 points on 9/13 shooting and also blocked five shots on the defensive end. Alex Robinson stuffed the stat sheet that game and nearly finished with a triple-double, dropping in 11 points to go along with 9 assists and 8 rebounds. Kenrich Williams also had a good night, finishing with 16 points.
In their last game, the Frogs came away with a 78-63 victory over Texas, completing the season sweep of the Longhorns after beating them in Austin earlier in the year. It was a great game for the team, and was facilitated by some great ball movement on offense. TCU had 20 assists to only 10 turnovers and they shot 51.7% from the field. They also out-rebounded the Longhorns 36-29 despite having to contend with players like Jarrett Allen and Shaquille Cleare.
Vlad led the team in scoring yet again with 18 points on 6/11 shooting and he also had four blocks. Alex Robinson was 2nd on the team in scoring with 17 points and led the team with 8 assists. For his efforts last weekend, Robinson was named Big 12 co-Newcomer of the Week, which Melissa wrote about here. Against the Longhorns, Kenny Hustle was active in all facets of the game. Williams finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds to go along with 6 assists and 3 steals.
Since these teams met last time, Texas Tech has gone 2-3, with their only wins coming at home against 9-13 LSU and 8-14 Oklahoma. The Red Raiders are now 16-7 overall and 4-6 in the Big 12, which puts them tied for 7th in the conference with Oklahoma State. They are currently ranked #90 in the RPI, which they need to drastically improve before Selection Sunday. There are still 8 teams with a legitimate chance of making the NCAA Tournament from the Big 12, but Texas Tech has the worst chances due to such a low RPI ranking.
In their last game, Texas Tech was able to pull away from Oklahoma in the closing minutes to win 77-69 in Lubbock. Aaron Ross led the way for the Red Raiders with 18 points off of the bench, including going 8/10 at the free throw line. It was a good shooting night for Tech, as the team was 10/23 from beyond the arc and 17/20 at the stripe. They also took good care of the ball, only turning it over eight times.
Last time these two teams met, it was guard Keenan Evans and forwards Zach Smith and Justin Gray that did the most damage against TCU. Those three combined for 57 of the Red Raiders’ 75 points and shot 54.8% from the field. They also combined to go 20/24 at the free throw line, with Evans going 8/8.
Aaron Ross was not as much of a factor in the last meeting, only scoring five points in 26 minutes, but the Frogs must be prepared to keep him in check. Another player to keep an eye on is Anthony Livingston, a forward who can occasionally step back and knock down a three. Neither were major players in the Red Raiders’ earlier win over the Frogs, but both must be accounted for at all times, along with the three other main players.
Three Things to Watch:
1 - Foul Trouble
Whether or not the calls in Lubbock were justified or not, there is no denying that it played a major role in the outcome of that game. TCU, despite being called for 14 more fouls than Tech and shooting 22 fewer free throws, only lost by six in Lubbock. If the game is called more evenly tonight, the Frogs should be able to come away with the win. It will be especially helpful if they can get some of the key Red Raiders such as Evans, Smith, and Gray.
2 - JD Miller
The emergence of JD Miller has been a key reason that TCU was able to come out of their skid and pick up a couple wins last week. He could be the x-factor for tonight’s game considering he was a non-factor in Lubbock, despite being a starter. He only played five minutes that game, but if he can be as productive as he was in the games against Auburn and K-State, he could be the difference that puts the Frogs ahead of the Red Raiders tonight.
3 - Who Wants It More?
Both teams need to keep winning in order to find their way into the tournament and this game could be critical when looking at the bubble. Texas Tech needs to boost their RPI and the best way to do that is to pick up road wins against good teams like TCU. However, the Frogs do not want to drop a winnable home game and be 0-2 against Tech if both teams are on the bubble on Selection Sunday. As of today, TCU is likely on the good side of the bubble and the Red Raiders are not, but the Frogs can not afford to come out flat and let Texas Tech steal this one.
This is a very critical game for both teams as they try to make the NCAA Tournament, but more so for the Red Raiders who need a major boost in their RPI ranking, so TCU needs to be ready from the tip. However, the Frogs come in with a good amount of momentum after going 2-0 last week so they should get after it. Looking for revenge and in front of their home crowd, I expect TCU to find a way to come away with the win behind great play from Robinson and Kenrich.
Score Prediction: TCU 81, Texas Tech 74
Here are some additional game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:
- TCU’s five conference wins are its most in the Big 12. TCU is in its fifth season in the league.
- TCU’s NCAA RPI is 41.
- TCU is 16-4 against unranked opponents.
- The Frogs are 12-3 at home this season and 3-4 on the road.
- TCU is 15-3 when outrebounding its opponent.
- TCU is 7-1 when shooting over 50 percent from the field.
- TCU is 13-1 when leading at halftime (Baylor).
- TCU is 10-2 when forcing more turnovers than it commits (Baylor, Auburn).
- TCU’s 76.5 points per game is the highest average since the 2002-03 season (80.4).
- TCU is shooting 46.6 percent from the field, the most since the 1998-99 season (49.1).
- TCU’s 17.0 assists per game is the most since the 2000-01 season (18.9).
- TCU’s 36.8 rebounds per game is the most since the 2002-03 season (38.9).
- TCU currently ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 in assists (17.0).
- Kenrich Williams ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 with 9.4 rebounds per game.
- Williams is averaging 11.8 points and 9.0 rebounds, over the last eight games.
- Williams ranks No. 19 in the NCAA and No. 2 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 ranks 10th all-time in games played in school history. He is 10 away from the most in school history (129).
- Karviar Shepherd is No. 6 all-time in career starts at TCU with 97. He played in his 100th game against Arkansas State
- Shepherd has tallied 613 career rebounds and needs 87 to become only the 10th player all-time to capture 700 boards.
- Alex Robinson has led TCU in assists 16 times this season.
- Vladimir Brodziansky ranks second in the Big 12 and 21st nationally with 2.4 blocks per game.
- Brodziansky’s 56 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 swept the season series over Texas for the first time in 30 years.
- 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.