Game Time: 8:00 PM CST | Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena – Fort Worth, TX | TV: ESPNU | Series: Kansas State leads 12-5 | Game Line: TCU -7
The TCU Horned Frogs (20-9) will play host to the Kansas State Wildcats (20-9) for senior night on Tuesday. The Frogs are coming off a huge win over Baylor, 82-72, that basically sealed up their spot in the NCAA Tournament. Desmond Bane and Alex Robinson registered huge performances, with Bane dropping a 16/8/4 line and A Rob a 22/4/6. Vladimir Brodziansky (14) and Kouat Noi (11) also registered double digit scoring. The Frogs played inspired defense in the first half, and weathered the storm as Jo Lual-Acuil had a big start to the second half. They completely shut down Manu Lecomte for the second straight matchup, and the Frogs’ offense was firing on all cylinders. TCU now has back to back 20 win seasons under Jamie Dixon, and their 8 conference wins likely ensured a March Madness bid. Now, the Frogs can improve their seeding (they are a 6 seed in Nashville according to Joe Lunardi) with a few more wins in the regular season.
Kansas State dropped their most recent matchup, an 86-77 decision at Oklahoma. The Wildcats had no answer for Trae Young, who broke out of a funk to snap OU’s 6 game losing streak. Barry Brown was in lockstep with Young, dropping 28 points, and Dean Wade (15) and Xavier Sneed (12) also had double figures, but even those three shot poorly from three along with their teammates. KSU shot 4/21 from three, a bad sign when a Trae Young-led team gets hot. K State has been playing good basketball this season, sporting a 6-4 record against tough competition since they last faced the Frogs. Their only losses have been to the top teams in the conference, sans the most recent loss to OU. They actually won their matchup with Georgia in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, and went from bubble team to virtual lock very quickly.
Kansas State won the matchup in Manhattan with the Frogs, 73-68. The score is misleading in terms of how close the game was, as TCU never led and the Wildcats were in control for the whole 40 minutes. Dean Wade caused problems for the Frogs early, and then Barry Brown exploded down the stretch after a nice defensive effort through 30 by the Frogs. Makol Mawien also had a nice game, and watching the game it was clear it was just one of those nights for the Frogs. None of the bounces were going their way, and sometimes that just happens to a team on the road. Hopefully the Frogs will have some of that home court mojo for senior night.
K State is trotting out the same starting lineup that they had on January 20, Barry Brown and Cartier Diarra in the backcourt combined with a frontcourt of Xavier Sneed, Makol Mawien, and Dean Wade. Kamau Stokes has returned from injury, he missed the game on the 20th, and has taken up the backup point guard role. He hasn’t been scoring at the same rate as he was pre-injury, but Wildcats fans are surely excited to see him back out there. If Stokes can get back into a rhythm headed into March, K State will be even more dangerous. Amaad Wainwright also missed the last TCU game, but should be on the court for 10 or so minutes Tuesday night. K State is very reliant on their starters though, so the Frogs need to focus more on what went wrong with their defense against Wade and Brown rather than these new faces off the bench.
Three Things to Look For
Dean Wade’s hot start for the Wildcats really set the tone last game, and he has been K State’s most consistently good player this whole season. Stopping him is a job easier said than done, as he’s scored in double digits in all but three games this season. The thing that makes him so tough to handle is his versatility: he can bang inside and step out and hit threes; carry an offense or become a lead distributor; crash the glass or hang around the perimeter. It’s a tall task for Vlad and Hamdy, but it’s their senior night and they should be ready.
It’s unfair to say that Kenny Hustle has struggled recently. In fact, Kenny’s best attribute is that he can contribute to a team in so many ways, including those that don’t show up in the box score. Still, even as the team has won the past two games, Williams has been relegated to a side role on the offense. He’s scored 6 points on 3/13 shooting, and some of the shots he’s taken have been forced simply for the sake of taking a shot. I still believe Kenny is the team’s best player, and the Frogs are going to need him down the stretch.
Alex Robinson has been playing outstanding basketball as of late, but his fatal flaw has always been turning it over. A lot of times his errors are unforced and don’t lead to runouts, but losing possessions is never a good thing. KSU is really good defensively at getting ball pressure and turnovers, so A Rob will need to bring focus in that department. Same goes for the backup units that spell him, when Bane or Kenny takes it up the court. Under 12 turnovers wins this game for the Frogs.
The Frogs are on a roll, their first win streak since December, and I think the energy of senior night combined with that momentum leads them to a win. It’s a sendoff for a lot of guys: Kenrich Williams, Vladimir Brodziansky, Ahmed Hamdy, Dalton Dry, Austin Sottile, and Clayton Crawford. These guys want a senior night to remember, and a newly energized student body will want to see this TCU squad one last time. The Frogs ride some hot shooting to a win, and a guarantee of .500 play in conference.
Prediction: TCU 80, Kansas State 75
Here are the game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:
- TCU has not won four-straight conference games since the 1998-99 season.
- TCU’s last win on senior night came on March 9, 2013, a 70-67 win over Oklahoma.
- TCU’s eight conference wins are the most since the 2004-05 season when it went 8-8 in Conference USA.
- TCU has won 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign.
- The Frogs are coming off their first sweep of Baylor since the 1988-89 season.
- Against the Bears, Alex Robinson scored 22 points, on 8-of-10 shooting and dished out six assists.
- TCU leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks among the national leaders in assists per game (2nd, 19.4), assist turnover ratio (10th, 1.5), field goal percentage (7th, 50.5) and 3-point percentage (9th, 41.2).
- TCU also ranks among the national leaders in rebounding margin (18th, +6.4) and scoring (14th, 84.5).
- The Frogs have shot over 54.0 percent from the field in their last three games and have won by an average of 12.0 points.
- TCU ranks fourth in offensive efficiency, the best in the Big 12, according to KenPom.com.
- Kenrich Williams has recorded 10 double-doubles and is averaging 12.9 points and a team-best 9.2 rebounds this season.
- Williams is the only player in the Big 12 in the top 18 in rebounding (2nd, 9.2), assists (7th, 4.1) and scoring (18th, 12.9).
- With a balanced scoring attack, TCU has five players averaging double-figures, seven averaging 8.5 points or more.
- Vladimir Brodziansky ranks No. 10 in the Big 12 in scoring (15.4) and has scored in double figures in the last 20 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 12th in the NCAA in 3-point percentage at 49.1.
- Bane ranks in the top 10 in field goal efficiency (8th, 67.7) and true shooting percentage (9th, 69.0).
- The Frogs were ranked for eight consecutive weeks. They are receiving votes in this week’s AP and USA Today poll.
About the Opponent
- Kansas State has won three of its last four games, but lost its last contest, 86-77, at Oklahoma Saturday.
- The Wildcats are led by junior guard Barry Brown, who is averaging a team-best 16.6 points and 3.3 assists per game.
- After being picked eighth in the Big 12 preseason poll, K-State is currently fourth in the conference, one game ahead of TCU.
About the Series
- Kansas State leads the all-time series 12-5, including a 5-1 advantage in Fort Worth.
- In the first meeting this season, Kenrich Williams had 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 73-68 KSU win.
- TCU’s last win over KSU came last season, 86-80 (OT) in Manhattan. The last TCU win in Fort Worth was 69-55 on Feb. 18, 2015.
- Last season’s meeting in Fort Worth was a close, 75-74 win by the Wildcats on March 1, 2017.
Academic All-Big 12
A TCU record, five players, were named Academic All-Big 12 on Feb. 23. Five selections were also the most of any school in the conference. Seniors Vladimir Brodziansky (psychology), Clayton Crawford (finance and real estate), Dalton Dry (management) and Austin Sottile (accounting) were named to the first team with GPAs of 3.20 or better and senior Ahmed Hamdy (master of liberal arts) earned second team honors with a GPA of 3.00-3.20.
Vladimir Brodziansky has scored in double-figures in each of the last 20 games. That is the most consecutive games of at least 10 points for TCU since Kevin Langford went 21-straight games from Nov. 17, 2007 to Feb. 13, 2008.
TCU has won at least 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign when it won 20 for the third-straight season. With their 20th win coming on Feb. 24, it is the earliest the Frogs have reached 20 wins 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.
- Jamie Dixon has won at least 20 games in 14 of his 15 seasons as a head coach. Of the five Big 12 coaches who have at least 15 years of head coaching experience, only Bill Self (15-of-15) has more 20-win seasons over the last 15 years. Dixon went 19-15 in 2014-15 at Pittsburgh.
TCU’s eight Big 12 wins are the most its ever had in six seasons as a member of the conference. The Frogs went 6-12 last season, Jamie Dixon’s first season with the team. In TCU’s previous four seasons in the Big 12, it had only eight wins.
- Eight conference wins are the most since going 8-8 in the Conference USA during the 2004-05 season. TCU has not recorded nine wins in conference since going 9-7 in the WAC during the 2000-01.
- TCU has won three consecutive conference games for the first time since last season. The Frogs have not won four-straight conference games since going 14-0 in the WAC during the 1997-98 season.
- TCU has three conference road wins 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 sweeps of Big 12 teams this season, five in its history. The Frogs swept Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State this season. They swept Texas Tech in 2015, Texas in 2017.
Shooting and Scoring
- TCU ranks second in the Big 12 and 14th in the NCAA in scoring offense (84.5). 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 (19.4).
- TCU ranks first in the Big 12 and seventh in the NCAA in field goal shooting (50.5%). TCU has never averaged 50 percent or better in a season.
- TCU ranks first in the Big 12 and ninth in the NCAA in 3-point shooting (41.2%).
- TCU’s offensive efficiency ranks fourth at 122.8 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 10 in shooting percentage in the Big 12... 4. Vladimir Brodziansky - 57.7, 6. Desmond Bane - 56.2, 10. Kouat Noi - 52.3. TCU is the only teams with three players ranked in the top 10 in shooting percentage in the Big 12.
- Sophomore Desmond Bane (49.1) leads the Big 12 in 3-point shooting. Freshman Kouat Noi (46.6) is second. The school record for 3-point shooting percentage in a season, with a min. of 2.0 makes per game, 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 (81.7). He is first in Big 12 only games at 88.2 percent (75-of-85).
- 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.