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TCU Basketball Preview: Oklahoma (Round 2)

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The Frogs head up to Norman looking for an insurance win for their NIT resume.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Christian Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 2:00pm CST | Location: Lloyd Noble Center - Norman, OK | TV: ESPNEWS | Series: Oklahoma Leads 18-3 | Game Line: Oklahoma -3

After a few weeks of heartbreaking losses had diminished TCU’s chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large, Wednesday night’s loss to Kansas State finished it off. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Frogs, three of which have come at home by a combined 5 points. However, if they want to feel safe about getting into the NIT, they’ll need to refocus and be ready for Oklahoma today.

These two teams met earlier in the season in Fort Worth, a game that TCU managed to win 60-57. It was the first win for the Frogs over the Sooners since 2013. In that first matchup, Oklahoma took a 38-34 lead into the half and led the entire game until the 4:20 mark in the 2nd half. The major difference in the game was free throw shooting, as the Sooners went 6/11 from the line whereas the Frogs went 13/18.

Alex Robinson led the way for TCU in the first game with the Sooners, finishing with 18 points and 6 assists. He was an impressive 7/13 from the field, including 2/4 from deep. Brandon Parrish and Desmond Bane both played well off of the bench against them, with Parrish scoring 10 points and Bane adding in 9 points. Bane also managed to pull down 6 rebounds. Two players that didn’t have great games in the first matchup were Vladimir Brodziansky and Kenrich Williams. Even with both starting, they only combined to score 6 points and grab 8 boards.

In their game Wednesday night, TCU kept it close until the final whistle, but just couldn’t find a way to win. Kansas State led 40-29 at the half and never relinquished that lead. The Frogs came within 1 point a few times in that 2nd half, but could never find a bucket to tie the game or take the lead. What hurts the most though is that TCU played very, very well in that game. The Frogs shot 50% from the field and 42.1% from three, while also going 14/17 from the free throw line. They also assisted on 73.1% of made field goals and only turned it over 12 times.

Vlad, Robinson, and Kenny Hustle were the key contributors in the game against the Wildcats. Vlad finished with a team-high 18 points on 6/9 shooting and Robinson added in another 14 points to go along with 6 assists. Kenrich finished with another double-double, dropping in 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Brandon Parrish provided a great spark off the bench for TCU, finishing with 11 points and going 3/5 from beyond the arc.

If the Frogs manage to play as well as they did against K-State, they’ll have a good shot at taking one from the Sooners. Since the last meeting between these teams, Oklahoma has gone 4-11, but has been very competitive recently. They are currently 10-19 overall and 4-13 in Big 12 play, which puts them in a tie with Texas for 9th. Despite losing their only key senior to a season-ending injury, they have continued to fight and their young players have shown a lot of grit. They may not be going to the Big Dance or even the NIT this season, but they have shown that they could be a team that causes problems next season.

In their last game out, Oklahoma traveled up to Lawrence to take on #1 Kansas and were tied with the Jayhawks 28-28 at halftime. To make things more interesting, they led Kansas 54-42 with 10 minutes to go in the 2nd half. Ultimately, the Jayhawks did come back and win 73-63, but Oklahoma showed they were capable of playing with anyone. Freshman Kameron McGusty led the Sooners with 14 points, but was 6/17 from the field. Also, in the game before their trip to Lawrence, they blew out Kansas State 81-51 in Norman.

Last time these teams met, McGusty led Oklahoma with 11 points and caused problems defensively, finishing with 4 steals. Kristian Doolittle was the most effective starter for the Sooners, finishing with 8 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes of action. One player to keep an eye on is the Sooners’ big man Khadeem Lattin. He finished with only 6 points and 3 rebounds in the first matchup, but helped shut down Vlad.

Three Things to Watch:

1 - Winning the Bench Battle

In the first matchup between these two schools, it was the bench for Oklahoma that kept the Sooners in the game for the most part. The bench for the Sooners was responsible for 35 of the team’s 57 points. Of those 35 points, 21 came from McGusty and Darrion Strong-Moore, who have both since worked their way into the starting lineup. In that first game, TCU had 27 of their 60 points come from the bench. Today’s game very well could come down to the which bench outplays the other, which could be TCU’s advantage with the Frogs’ experienced bench.

2 - Controlling the Paint

One of the major matchups to watch today will be Vlad vs. Lattin in the post. Neither really had much of an impact in the first meeting between the teams, but if one can outshine the other today, it could be the difference. Over the past couple of games, Vlad has looked much more comfortable when getting doubled and has continued to show an excellent touch around the rim. While Vlad is more of a skilled big man, Lattin is an explosive athlete that will try to use his strength to cause problems. It’ll be interesting to watch how these styles clash and if either player can be the x-factor.

3 - Brandon Parrish Nearing a School Record

If Parrish gets his name called into the game today and in the first game of the Big 12 Tournament, he will tie Kyan Anderson and Garlon Green for the school record for most career games played. Should TCU advance in the Big 12 Tournament or get chosen for the NIT, he would have a chance to sit atop that list alone. It would be a neat honor for the senior who has become a fan favorite through his passionate style of play and his work off the court with animals.

Prediction:

This game is very difficult to call. On one hand, Oklahoma has been very competitive in their past few games and has looked a lot better than their record suggests. On the other hand though, TCU has come so close to winning their past two games and you have to think that at some point they’ll find a way to close one out. I’ll take the Frogs today mainly because I think they know the importance of today’s game and they match up very well with the Sooners.

Score Prediction: TCU 66, Oklahoma 61

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

  • TCU has dropped three-straight home games by a combined total of five points after back-to-back one-point losses.
  • TCU is in seventh place in the Big 12 standings. The Frogs were picked last (10th) in the preseason poll.
  • TCU is guaranteed to have its highest finish in the Big 12 Conference in its five seasons in the league.
  • Jamie Dixon has won the most games of any TCU head coach in his first year with the program.
  • TCU's six-game slide is the second longest losing streak of Dixon's career. He lost eight straight in 2011-12 at Pittsburgh.
  • In its five seasons in the Big 12, TCU has three road conference wins, two of those wins coming this season.
  • Jamie Dixon has coached as many conference wins (6) as TCU had in the last three years combined.
  • TCU's NCAA RPI is 69 and strength of schedule is 25.
  • TCU's last postseason tournament bid came in 2012 with the CBI.
  • 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 last played in the NIT in 2005.
  • The Frogs are 13-6 at home this season and 3-7 on the road.
  • TCU is 16-5 when outrebounding its opponent.
  • TCU is 7-2 when shooting over 50 percent from the field.
  • TCU is 14-2 when leading at halftime (Baylor, WVU).
  • TCU is 10-3 when forcing more turnovers than it commits.
  • TCU's 73.8 points per game is the highest average since the 2002-03 season (80.4).
  • TCU is shooting 46.2 percent from the field, the most since the 1998-99 season (49.1).
  • TCU's 16.5 assists per game is the most since the 2000-01 season (18.9).
  • TCU's 35.6 rebounds per game is the most since the 2002-03 season (38.9).
  • TCU currently ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 23 in the NCAA in assists (16.5).
  • TCU currently ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and 32nd in the NCAA in blocked shots (4.9).
  • Kenrich Williams ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 38 in the NCAA with 9.3 rebounds per game.
  • Williams ranks No. 26 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds with a 3.25 average on the season.
  • Williams ranks second in the conference with 12 double-doubles this season.
  • Jaylen Fisher leads the Big 12 freshmen in assists per game at 4.3. He has made at least one 3-pointer in 16 consecutive games.
  • Brandon Parrish is a 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team® nominee.
  • Parrish ranks third all-time in games played in school history. He is 2 away from the most in school history (129).
  • Alex Robinson has led TCU in assists 22 times this season and has had at least four assists in all but five games this season.
  • Robinson is five assists shy of cracking the top 10 for the most assists in a season at TCU. Jamie Dixon (86-87) is No. 10 (168).
  • Vladimir Brodziansky ranks second in the Big 12 and 22nd nationally with 2.4 blocks per game.
  • Brodziansky's 72 total blocks ranks as the third most in school history for a single season.