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Preview: TCU Basketball vs UC Irvine

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Anteaters!!!

NCAA Basketball: Long Beach State at UC Irvine Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

TCU Basketball will have their toughest test of the young season Thursday night when they welcome UC Irvine to Schollmaier Arena Thursday evening. The Anteaters, a tournament team last season, sport a 3-2 record, with losses to Pepperdine (on the road) and #23 Colorado. They advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last spring, upsetting Kansas State in round one before falling to Oregon. Irvine returns nine players and three starters from a squad that went 31-6 in 2018-2019.

GAME INFORMATION:

Broadcast: FSSW+

Play-By-Play: Brian Estridge

Analyst: Colin Boddicker

Online: FOXSportsGo.com

Radio: KTCU 88.7 FM // SIRIUS 976 (online)

Play-By-Play: Jeff Williams Analyst: John Denton

Online: HFTV // TuneIn

Series: UCI leads 1-0

In Fort Worth: -

In Irvine: UCI leads 1-0

Neutral: N/A

First Meeting: UCI won 83-75 (Nov. 26, 1988) in Irvine

Last Meeting: -

Winning Streak: UCI W1

Dixon vs. UCI: First meeting

GAME NOTES:

  • TCU will face defending Big West Conference champion UC Irvine Thursday at Schollmaier Arena. n TCU is off to a 3-0 start for the third consecutive season.
  • TCU ranks 9th in the nation with 20.7 assists per game and 10th the nation with 11.7 3-pointers made per game. n Jamie Dixon is one win away from 400 for his career.
  • Since the 2014-15 season, the Frogs have gone 35-3 in the month of November and 58-8 in November and December combined. Under Jamie Dixon (since 2016-17), TCU has gone 37-4 in November and December combined. Also, under Dixon, TCU has gone 49-9 in nonconference games.
  • TCU has two returning starters from last season, senior Desmond Bane and sophomore Kevin Samuel. Bane has scored over 25 points twice and ranks second in the Big 12 with a scoring average of 19.3 points per game. Samuel has recorded three double-doubles and leads the Big 12 with 11.7 rebounds per game.
  • Bane has earned multiple preseason honors. He was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, was one of 20 players nationally named to the watch list for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year award and was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 which is given to the best player in the nation.
  • At 1,311 career points, Bane is 14th on TCU’s all-time scoring list. He is seven points shy of Bingo Merriex (1,318, 2000-03) for 13th and 12 points away from Mike Jones (1,323, 1997-98) for 12th.

LAST TIME OUT:

Kevin Samuel scored a career-high 19 points and added 11 rebounds as TCU improved to 3-0 with a 65-54 win over Air Force Tuesday. Samuel was 9-of-12 from the field, six of which were dunks. Sophomore guard RJ Nembhard had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists and freshman guard Francisco Farabello had a career-best 11 points.

ABOUT THE OPPONENT:

UC Irvine is 3-2 and is coming off a 69-53 loss at No. 23 Colorao Tuesday. The Anteaters are led by senior guard Eyassu Worku who is averaging a team-best 13.4 points and 3.4 assists per game. UCI returns nine letterwinners, including three starters, from last year’s team that went 31-6 overall and defeated No. 4 seed Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, its first win in the big dance. That team finished fourth in the nation in field goal percentage defense at 38.2 percent. This year’s team was picked to repeat as Big West Champions.

SERIES HISTORY:

UC Irvine won the only meeting in the series, 83-75 on Nov. 26, 1988 in Irvine. It was the third place game of the Western Digital Freedom Bowl Classic held at the Bren Events Center. Rod Palmer led UCI with 25 points and Craig Sibley led the Frogs with 15 points, while John Lewis added 11 points and seven rebounds.

UP NEXT:

TCU will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to face Clemson in the first round of the MGM Resorts Min Event at T-Mobile Arena.