Game Time: 8:00 PM CST | Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena – Fort Worth, TX | TV: FSSW Plus | Series: First Meeting | Game Line: TCU -17
Get excited Frog fans, because it’s time for basketball in Fort Worth! The #20 TCU Horned Frogs will be in action Wednesday night against the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners. Expectations are high once again, with an elite group of incoming players and quite a few returning studs. The Frogs are looking to build on their most successful season in years, which was capped by the first March Madness appearance this century. There is a lot of hype, but first the Frogs must take care of business in the opener.
The Roadrunners had a middling season a year ago, going 12-18 and finishing 6th in the WAC. They return leading scorer Damiyne Durham, who averaged 12.3 points on 38/31/68 splits a season ago. Key players Rickey Holden and Jarkel Joiner also return. KenPom has the Roadrunners at #202 to start the season, which would place them 4th in the WAC.
Three Things to Watch
Defense was the biggest weakness of the Frogs’ 2017-18 squad, and will need to improve in order for this iteration to reach their full potential. For this first game, they draw one of the worst offenses from a year ago. CSU-Bakersfield ranked 308th in offensive efficiency, and shot a dreadful 29.9% from three (ranking them 345th out of 351 teams in D1). With an offense that bad, we need to look at fundamentals rather than results. Are the rotations good? How is individual positioning? How have players like Kouat Noi and Alex Robinson improved over the offseason?
Young Guns Join the Fray
No matter who starts on Wednesday for the Frogs, this team is full of exciting young players. Kaden Archie, Kevin Samuel, RJ Nembhard, Angus McWilliam, and Yuat Alok are just a few of the guys who will see major minutes. This is our first look at them in live action, and they will each have a role to play in this team reaching their full potential.
The Roadrunners were actually a decent rebounding team last season, and this is a major question mark for the Frogs after losing Kenny Hustle to the pros. Replacing that level of ability is tough no matter who you are. Look out for who will control the boards for TCU this year.
This should be one of the easiest matchups for the Frogs this season (knock on wood). It’s a terrible matchup for the Roadrunners, as their offense won’t be able to keep up with the high flying Frogs. The TCU defense will be athletic enough to cause havoc and force turnovers, and there’s no one player on the Roadrunners I could pick out that could take the game over. The young guys should get plenty of burn, and the Frog faithful will enjoy an exciting product.
Prediction: #20 TCU 95, CSU Bakersfield 71
Here are the official game notes via GoFrogs.com
- No. 20 TCU will begin its 108th season of men’s basketball when it hosts CSU Bakersfield Wednesday at 8 p.m.
- The Frogs have won 11 of their last 12 season openers and are 70-37 all-time in Game 1. TCU is 56-13 in home openers and have won its last 11.
- For just the second time in school history, TCU will begin the season ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The last time the Frogs were ranked in the preseason was when they were No. 24 prior to the start of the 1998-99 season.
- TCU was picked tied for fourth with Texas in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. Last season the Frogs were picked third in the preseason and finished fifth, both the highest in what was then their six years in the conference.
- The Frogs hope to continue the momentum in November like they have in the past. Over the last four years, the Frogs have gone 24-2 in the month of November and have gone 7-0 in each of the last two seasons.
- TCU returns five players who made a significant amount of starts last season. Altogether, the Frogs return 56 percent of their scoring, 69 percent of their assists and 57 percent of their minutes. They also welcome nine newcomers, seven on scholarship, six of which are freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
- Senior guard Alex Robinson was named Preseason Honorable Mention All-Big 12 and is one of 20 on the preseason watchlist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award.