Game Time: 11:30 AM CST | Location: Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO | TV: ESPN or ESPN2 | Series: Kansas State leads 12-6 | Game Line: TCU -2.5
It’s postseason time for the TCU Horned Frogs (21-10), as they take on the Kansas State Wildcats (21-10) in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament. The Frogs ended their regular season with a close road loss to Texas Tech by a score of 79-75. TCU led for the majority of the game, before Keenan Evans came alive in the second half and the Frogs couldn’t buy a three. Evans ended up with 23 points, all in the second half, while the Frogs shot 5/23 from three. Desmond Bane still had a great game, pacing the team with 21 points. Kenrich Williams logged a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Vladimir Brodziansky had a double double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Alex Robinson was the other Frog in double figures, as dropped in 11 points to go with his 7 assists. Overall, it was a tough loss considering they had control for the first half, but not a bad loss as it was on the road against a ranked team.
Kansas State ended their season with a 77-67 drubbing of Baylor in Manhattan. Dean Wade made the most of his last home game, scoring 25 points and grabbing 7 boards. As usual, Barry Brown also had a solid performance, scoring 18 to go along with 9 assists. Makol Mawien joined the party with 14 points of his own. TCU fans are pretty familiar with this Kansas State team at this point, as just the game before was the senior night matchup with the Frogs in the Fort. TCU had no control of their destiny when playing Tech, just whether or not they would be the “home” team in this matchup.
This will be the second time in nine days that these two teams have faced each other, and therefore not much has changed since the last time we looked at the Wildcats (check out that preview here). This game does have tournament implications though, as the Frogs could perhaps gain a little seeding if they can win this game and get a big matchup with Kansas in the semis. KSU hasn’t done quite enough to earn lock status, but they are as close as a team can be, and barring a major collapse Thursday afternoon they should be in. Even if TCU wins by 30, KSU would likely only be out if a ton of mid major at large teams win their respective tournaments. In short, this matchup is only likely to affect seeding at best.
Three Things to Watch For
Three Ball Blues
The Frogs went ice cold from three in Lubbock, a big shock for one of the best three point shooting teams in the nation. The shots they were taking were pretty open, especially quality going against a defense like Tech, and those have to go down for this team to go far. The Frogs won the matchup in Fort Worth despite shooting 5/20 from deep, and they haven’t shot over 40 percent from three since February 17 against Oklahoma State. Waking up from downtown will be a big key for the Frogs in March, and they could really use this game to get going.
So, this guy has been pretty good in both matchups. I still don’t entirely know what the Frogs’ best option is to defend him, as he’s dropped 24 and 20 in the two games thus far. The bright side is that everyone else has been held relatively in check, at least at or below their season averages, so the Frogs can afford for Wade to get a little extra. Still, it would be nice to see a defensive game plan that could stop the versatile big man. There aren’t many players in the country like Wade, but those few players are on the teams that populate the field of 68.
Stay the Course
As long as there are no injuries, I feel good about this Frogs team regardless of this game’s results. I’m not sure there is much we can glean from this game, as the two squads are already familiar with each other and are making adjustments for the second time. The Frogs need to iron out a few kinks before March Madness, but there’s no need to make any drastic shifts at this time. Get the guys going from three again, hunker down on the boards, and continue the high effort on defense. Those kinds of constants will pay dividends for this team moving forward.
Here are some fun stats: the Frogs have won at least one game in the Big 12 Tournament the last three years, and this is the first time they haven’t had to play on opening weekend. Their 5 seed is the highest in team history, and they are considered 100% locks on Selection Sunday. There is still a game to play, but we should all take a step back and appreciate just how far Coach Dixon, his staff, and these players have taken this program in just two years. It truly is one of the great turnarounds in college sports.
As for the game, I like the odds for the Frogs. They’ve been playing really good basketball as of late, and have already proven they can beat K State while shooting poorly from the floor. If the Frogs can get the lid off the basket, they could really get something going moving forward.
Prediction: TCU 78, Kansas State 73
Here are the game notes, courtesy of GoFrogs.com:
- TCU is 4-5 all-time in the Big 12 Championship and last season advanced to its first semifinals.
- TCU has won at least one game in each of the last three Big 12 Championships including last season’s win over No. 1 KU.
- TCU has never won a postseason conference championship.
- TCU is 8-1 in neutral site games in its two seasons with Jamie Dixon as head coach.
- TCU has won four of its last five games and is coming off a 79-75 loss at No. 12 Texas Tech Saturday.
- TCU’s 21 regular season wins are its most regular season wins since the 1997-98 season.
- Kenrich Williams was named All-Big 12 Second Team by the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.
- Williams also earned a spot on the USBWA All-District VII team.
- Vladimir Brodziansky was named All-Big 12 Third Team by the league’s coaches and honorable mention by the AP.
- Brodziansky is a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award and the Senior CLASS Award.
- TCU’s nine conference wins are the most since the 2000-01 season when it went 9-7 in the WAC.
- TCU has won 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign.
- TCU leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks among the national leaders in assists per game (2nd, 18.9), assist turnover ratio (12th, 1.5), field goal percentage (9th, 50.3), rebounding margin (19th, +6.5) and 3-point percentage (18th, 40.0).
- TCU also ranks among the national leaders in scoring (16th, 83.6).
- TCU ranks sixth in offensive efficiency, the best in the Big 12, according to KenPom.com.
- Kenrich Williams has recorded 12 double-doubles and is averaging 12.9 points and a team-best 9.3 rebounds this season.
- Williams ranks fourth on the TCU all-time rebounding list.
- Vladimir Brodziansky ranks No. 11 in the Big 12 in scoring (15.2) and third in shooting percentage (57.7).
- Brodziansky is five blocks away from tying the all-time TCU record held by James Penny (171).
- Desmond Bane leads the Big 12 and ranks 16th in the NCAA in 3-point percentage at 47.1.
- 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
- KSU is led by All-Big 12 First Team forward Dean Wade who averages a team-best 16.7 points and 6.4 rebounds.
- Junior guard Barry Brown ranks sixth in the Big 12 at 16.6 points per game.
- The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in steals with 7.7 per game.
About the Series
- Kansas State leads the all-time series 12-6 after splitting the season series with each team winning at home.
- TCU senior Kenrich Williams recorded a double-double in each meeting including 16 points and 11 rebounds on Feb. 27.
- TCU has faced K-State in the Big 12 Championship once, a 67-65 win by the Horned Frogs in the first round on March 11, 2015.
TCU’S All-Around Player
Kenrich Williams is one of 11 players with 1,000 career points, 800 career rebounds and 200 career assists. Joining Williams on that list is Peyton Aldridge (Davidson), Bogdan Bliznyuk (Eastern Wash.), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Xavier Cooks (Winthrop), Angel Delgado (Seton Hall), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Kevin Hervey (UT Arlington), John Konchar (Fort Wayne), Jahad Thomas (UMass Lowell) and Bryce Washington (Louisiana).
Brodziansky, Williams Earn All-Big 12 Honors
Seniors Vladimir Brodziansky and Kenrich Williams were named All-Big 12 Conference by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press. Williams was named to the second team by both and Brodziansky was named to the third team by the coaches and honorable mention by the AP. The senior duo became the first repeat winners of a conference postseason award since Kyan Anderson, who was All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2014 and 2015.
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.
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 nine Big 12 wins were its most conference wins in a season since going 9-7 in the WAC during the 2000-01 season.
- In the two seasons Jamie Dixon has coached TCU, the Frogs have gone 15-20 in the Big 12. TCU was 8-64 in its previous four season in the league.
- TCU’s fifth place finish in the Big 12 is its best finish in a conference since finishing fifth in the Mountain West during the 2011-12 season.
- TCU won four consecutive conference games for the first time since going 14-0 in the WAC during the 1997-98 season.
- TCU won three conference road games for the first time since the 2003-04 season when three of its seven Conference USA wins came away from home.
- TCU swept three Big 12 teams this season, Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The Frogs have five sweeps of Big 12 teams in their six seasons in the league. They swept Texas Tech in 2015, Texas in 2017.
Record Home Attendance
TCU averaged 6,561 per its 18 home games this season, a school record for highest average attendance in a season. The old record was 6,341 during the 1986-87 season at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. It was Jamie Dixon’s senior season.
- Last season’s attendance average of 6,127 is the third-most in program history. The top three attendance averages in TCU history all came with Jamie Dixon on the court.
Shooting and Scoring
- TCU ranks second in the Big 12 and 16th in the NCAA in scoring offense (83.6). 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 (18.9).
- TCU ranks first in the Big 12 and ninth in the NCAA in field goal shooting (50.0%). TCU has never averaged 50 percent or better in a season.
- TCU ranks first in the Big 12 and 18th in the NCAA in 3-point shooting (40.0%).
- TCU’s offensive efficiency ranks sixth at 121.7 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.
- Sophomore Desmond Bane (47.1) leads the Big 12 in 3-point shooting. Freshman Kouat Noi (43.4) is fourth. 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.
- Vladimir Brodziansky ranks 10th in the Big 12 in free throw shooting (82.2). He is first in Big 12 only games at 88.8 percent (79-of-89).
- 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.