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TCU Basketball Preview: @ Iowa State

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The Frogs need a key win in Ames to remain on track

TCU Basketball vs Oklahoma State 2.17.18
TCU Basketball vs Oklahoma State 2.17.18
Melissa Triebwasser

Game Time: 7:00 PM CST | Location: Hilton Coliseum – Ames, IA | TV: Cyclones.TV | Series: Iowa State leads 11-7 | Game Line: N/A

The TCU Horned Frogs (18-9) are looking for their first win in Ames in 35 years as they hit the road to face the Iowa State Cyclones (13-13). The Frogs ran out to a big win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, besting the Pokes 90-70. Lots of praise to go around in this one; Kouat Noi led the team in scoring with 19, Kenrich Williams was the KenPom MVP after scoring 16, and Ahmed Hamdy was the story of the game with his 12 off the bench. Also in double digits were Vladimir Brodziansky (14), Alex Robinson (11), and Desmond Bane (10). OSU ran out to a quick start, leading by as much as 12 in the early going, before TCU closed the gap right and took the lead before halftime. The second half was completely one sided, as the Frogs outscored the Pokes by 17. The Frogs’ defense was great, holding OSU to only 37% shooting from the field.

Iowa State is coming off a road loss to Kansas State, 78-66. Cameron Lard was the leading scorer for the Cyclones with 15, while Donovan Jackson and Lindell Wigginton contributed 13 and 11 respectively. KSU won in just about every important category, from shooting splits to boards, and ISU is still searching for its first conference road win. They’ll get two more shots, one against West Virginia and a season finale against slumping Oklahoma. It’s been a month since ISU lost in Fort Worth, and since then they’ve gone 3-6. All their wins have come at home, and they’ve been quality victories over West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. They got destroyed by Tennessee in Ames, but other than that they’ve proved a tough nut to crack at home, owning the #1 home court advantage in the nation per KenPom.

Here’s the player by player breakdown from the January 17 matchup. One of the major differences for Iowa State is that they had to play without Nick Weiler-Babb for an extended period of games. He has only recently returned, and over the past two games he has been coming off the bench as he eases back into things. Lindell Wigginton remains their most explosive player, but the anchor of the team has been center Cameron Lard, who has been playing very good basketball in February. Hans Brase played in the last matchup, but he’s been injured and has missed the past 4 games. The only other notable difference has been increased minutes for backup wing Jakolby Young, as he’s averaging 12 minutes a game over the past 5 games. He hasn’t been a huge factor this season, but expect to see #13 out on the court for the Cyclones.

The matchup in Fort Worth was perhaps TCU’s most convincing win during conference play, as it was a 96-73 beatdown. The Cyclones got a good performance out of Lard, but the TCU bigs simply dominated inside on the offensive end. Vlad shot a perfect 11/11 from two, and he and JD Miller combined for 47 points on 19/25 shooting. Kouat Noi also scored 16 off the bench, so there’s little reason to be concerned about that lineup change since the last matchup. Alex Robinson dished out a ridiculous 17 assists, and the Frogs as a team only turned it over 4 times. The Frogs simply outclassed the Cyclones, and I don’t think it’s a controversial statement to say they simply have more talent on their roster. The big thing will be keeping up the good work as the series shifts to a hostile environment in Ames.

Three Things to Look For

Limit turnovers

As I mentioned above, the Frogs only turned it over four times total in the last matchup. It’d be foolish to hold them to that standard again, but taking care of the ball could be the difference in this matchup. The Frogs rank #2 in conference play in turnover percentage, while ISU’s defense is bad at forcing turnovers, ranking #8. Taking care of the ball will allow for plenty of opportunities for the Frogs’ efficient offense to silence the ISU crowd.

Win inside

The Frogs have been bad at guarding the three this season. Thankfully, ISU gets the lion’s share of their points from two, despite having the worst 2 point FG% in the conference. The Frogs easily won this category in game one, and knocking ISU off their game inside will force them into shots out of their offense.

Keep the focus

Here’s a stat for you: the Frogs haven’t had a winning streak since December, before conference play even started. I don’t know if it’s a drop in focus after a win or what, but the Frogs need to string some good games together in a row. It’s a far cry from the insane losing streak they closed out last season with, but concerning nonetheless.

Prediction

The Frogs need this win in a bad way. 8-10 in conference play gets them into the tourney for sure, and this win would give them some wiggle room going into the home stretch. Ames is a hard place to play, I mean Texas Tech lost there, but I like how the Frogs match up with the Cyclones. Following the same formula as the first game, the Frogs will be able to neutralize what the Cyclones like to do on offense and make them uncomfortable. It won’t be a blowout like the game in Fort Dixon, but the Frogs win and help solidify their position.

Prediction: TCU 84, Iowa State 79

Here are the game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:

- A win over the Cyclones would be TCU’s fourth-ever sweep of a Big 12 team and the second this season (Oklahoma State).

- TCU is one win away from surpassing last season’s TCU record Big 12 win total of six.

- TCU last had seven conference wins during the 2011-12 season when it went 7-7 in the Mountain West Conference.

- The Frogs are coming off a 90-70 win over Oklahoma State Saturday, their largest win over OSU since 1986.

- Kouat Noi scored a career-high 19 points against the Cowboys. He ranks second in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage at 46.7.

- TCU has played in seven of the 31 Big 12 games that have been decided by six or fewer points.

- TCU leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks among the national leaders in assists per game (2nd, 19.6), assist turnover ratio (10th, 1.6), field goal percentage (12th, 50.1) and 3-point percentage (9th, 41.5).

- TCU also ranks among the national leaders in rebounding margin (23rd, +6.4) and scoring (14th, 84.4).

- TCU ranks third in offensive efficiency, the best in the Big 12, according to KenPom.com.

- Kenrich Williams has recorded 10 double-doubles and is averaging 13.6 points and a team-best 9.3 rebounds this season.

- Williams is the only player in the Big 12 in the top 16 in rebounding (2nd, 9.3), assists (7th, 4.2) and scoring (16th, 13.6).

- Williams ranks No. 5 in career rebounding at TCU with 822 boards.

- With a balanced scoring attack, TCU has five players averaging double-figures, seven averaging 8.7 points or more.

- Vladimir Brodziansky ranks No. 9 in the Big 12 in scoring (15.5) and has scored in double figures in the last 18 games.

- Brodziansky is a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award and the Senior CLASS Award.

- Desmond Bane leads the Big 12 and ranks fifth in the NCAA in 3-point percentage at 50.5.

- Bane ranks in the top 15 in field goal efficiency (6th, 67.6) and true field goal percentage (12th, 68.6).

- Bane has made 12 of his last 16 3-point attempts over the last six games.

- The Frogs were ranked for eight consecutive weeks. They are receiving votes in this week’s AP and USA Today poll.

- TCU was ranked as high as No. 10 in the AP Top 25 on Dec. 25, which was its highest ranking in school history.

About the Opponent

- Iowa State has dropped two-straight games, including Saturday’s 78-66 loss at Kansas State.

- The Cyclones are 9-5 at home, with wins over Baylor, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

- Iowa State is led in scoring by freshman Lindell Wigginton. His 16.0 points per game rank eighth in the Big 12.

About the Series

- Iowa State leads the all-time series 11-7, including a 6-1 advantage in Ames.

- Behind 26 points from Vladimir Brodziansky and 21 points from JD Miller, TCU won 96-73 on Jan. 17 in Fort Worth. It was a game the Frogs had a season-high 29 assists and a season-low four turnovers.

- Iowa State won last season’s meeting in Ames, 84-71, on Feb. 18, 2017. TCU’s only win in Ames was a 74-66 victory on Dec. 18, 1982.

Chasing 20

TCU is two wins away from 20. The Frogs can reach 20 wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign when they won 20 for the third-straight season. If the Frogs reach 20 wins during the regular season, it will be the earliest they reach 20 since the 1997-98 season when they won No. 20 on Feb. 7. Last season, TCU’s 20th win came on March 15 against Fresno State, the first game of the NIT.

Conference Wins

The Frogs have matched last season’s conference win total with six. In TCU’s previous four seasons in the Big 12, it had only eight wins. The Frogs last had seven conference during the 2011-12 season when they went 7-7 in the Mountain West Conference.

- With one more road win, TCU will have three road wins in conference play for the first time since the 2003-04 season when three of its seven Conference USA wins came away from home. Four road wins would be the most since eight during the 1997-98 season.

- TCU has three season sweeps of Big 12 teams in its history. The Frogs swept Texas Tech in 2015, Texas in 2017 and Oklahoma State this season.

TCU’s All-Around Player

One season after becoming the first player in TCU history and one of six in the NCAA in 2016-17 to record over 400 points (421), 300 rebounds (359) and 100 assists (101) in a season, Kenrich Williams is at it again. The senior guard is one of six players currently over 300 points, 200 rebounds and 100 assists for the season.

Shooting and Scoring

- TCU ranks second in the Big 12 and 14th in the NCAA in scoring offense (84.4). TCU has not averaged 80 or more points per game in a season since the 2002-03 campaign where it averaged 80.4. Last year’s NIT championship team averaged 69.7 points.

- The Frogs rank first in the Big 12 and second in the NCAA in assists per game (19.6).

- TCU ranks first in the Big 12 and 12th in the NCAA in field goal shooting (50.1%). TCU has never averaged 50 percent or better in a season.

- TCU ranks second in the Big 12 and ninth in the NCAA in 3-point shooting (41.5%).

- TCU’s offensive efficiency ranks third at 122.3 according to KenPom.com. It is up from last season’s 114.5 (37th), which was the best offensive efficiency TCU has ever had, since KenPom started in 2002. Dixon’s top offensive efficiency was 121.2 at Pitt during the 2008-09 season.

- TCU has three among the top 11 in shooting percentage in the Big 12... 5. Vladimir Brodziansky - 57.4, 8. Desmond Bane - 55.4, 11. Kouat Noi - 52.6. TCU and Baylor are the only teams with three players ranked in the top 15 in shooting percentage in the Big 12.

- Sophomore Desmond Bane (50.5) leads the Big 12 in 3-point shooting. Freshman Kouat Noi (46.7) is second. The school record for 3-point shooting percentage in a season is 47.7 percent by Henry Salter in 2007-08. Only three players in Big 12 history have shot 50 percent or better in a season, the last being Alan Voskuil of Texas Tech at 50.0 during the 2007-08 season.

- Vladimir Brodziansky ranks ninth in the Big 12 in free throw shooting (81.2).

- TCU has scored 90 points or better nine times this season. It’s the most times the Frogs have scored 90 or more in a season since the 2001-02 season when they did it 13 times.

Brodziansky and Williams Get Historic

Seniors Vladimir Brodziansky and Kenrich Williams both went over 1,000 points for their careers this season. Brodziansky went over 1,000 during the game with Nevada (Dec.8) and Williams entered the club at Oklahoma State (Jan. 30).

- Brodziansky ranks No. 13 on TCU’s all-time scoring list with 1,287 points. Williams ranks No. 29 with 1,058 points.

- Williams is one of five players in TCU history with 800 career rebounds. The senior ranks 5th on the all-time list with 822 boards. The last person to record over 800 rebounds was the TCU’s all-time rebounding leader, Reggie Smith (1988-1992).