After knocking off AP #1 Kansas yesterday thanks to some clutch free throws by freshman Desmond Bane, TCU will be facing off with #4 seed Iowa State tonight in the Semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament. The Frogs are looking to play their way into the NCAA Tournament field, but most likely must win tonight. For more on tonight's game, the full preview can be seen here. Here are three things to watch as the action unfolds tonight.
1 - Bench Production
Yesterday’s victory over the Jayhawks was due in large part to the play of the Horned Frogs bench. Kansas uses a very limited rotation and it showed on the court, as TCU’s bench outscored Kansas’ bench 34-3. In addition to Bane’s 16 points, Parrish contributed 12 points and Karviar Shepherd added in another 6 points.
Bench production could be key in today’s game as well. Since it’ll be the 3rd game of the tournament for TCU, the Frogs will likely need to rotate more and get productive minutes from the bench. Also, bench scoring was an indicator against the Cyclones, as TCU won when they got 33 points off the bench, but lost when they were held to 13 points .
2 - Defending the Three
If there is one thing that Iowa State knows how to do, it’s shooting from beyond the arc. The Cyclones have 3 players in the top 10 of the Big 12 in terms of three point field goal percentage, and Thomas and Mitrou-Long combine to average more than 5 made threes per game. In both games these teams played, Iowa State shot well from deep, so TCU can beat them if they get going, but it’ll make things much more difficult. Lucky for the Frogs though, they can stay outside more and pressure the ball because the Cyclones lack a dominant interior big man.
3 - Finishing Halves Strong
One thing that TCU has benefited from in each of the first two Big 12 Tournament games is strong finishes to their halves. In the 1st half of the Oklahoma game, they closed on a 15-2 run to take a 13-point lead into the half. In the 1st half of yesterday’s game, the Frogs trailed 39-27 with 4:23 to go, but closed on a 16-3 run to take a 43-42 lead into halftime. TCU also finished the game against Kansas on a 7-0 run to win after going down 80-76 with 2:19 left in the game. The Frogs have shown great resilience and grit in both games, but they’ll need to show it again in order to win tonight.
So kick back and join us as we follow along with tonight's game!