Oscar Tshiebwe is really good. He didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but he might as well have; not many people outside of West Virginia and Mountaineers opponents know much about 6’9” Congolese freshman that has burst onto the scene, averaging .2 rebounds shy of a double-double in just 23 minutes per night. Tshiebwe leads the Eers in points and rebounds per game, and his stellar play has helped elevate a team that was an also-ran a season ago into a top 12 unit in 2020.
Stopping Tshiebwe — and fellow forward Derek Culver — will be a tall task for TCU, a team that itself has come out of nowhere to start 3-0 in conference including a road win at Kansas State (something that hadn’t happened since 2017). Despite the hot start (especially impactful considering these Horned Frogs were picked to finish dead last in the conference), we still don’t know all that much about this team or their long-term prospects; Desmond Bane is really good, Kevin Samuel is on the precipice of a sophomore leap, and RJ Nembhard has been a late hero on more than one occasion since the calendar turned — but beating the bottom three teams in the Big 12 doesn’t necessarily mean we should expect a road win in Morgantown. But, for a team that many didn’t expect to be an NIT bubble-burster, talking of a return to March Madness sure is fun.
This is the best team TCU Basketball has played this season, and the hardest venue they’ve visited. Compete with the Mountaineers and the vibe will stay positive around the program. Pull off the upset and you might as well start putting those pennies away and keep the back half of your spring break schedule open ;).
JAN. 14 | WVU COLISEUM (14,000) | MORGANTOWN, W.VA. | 8 PM
TCU Horned Frogs (12-3, 3-0 Big 12) at #12 West Virginia Mountaineers (13-2, 2-1 Big 12)
HC: Jamie Dixon (TCU ‘87)
At TCU: 80-44 (4th)
Career: 408-167 (17th)
HC: Bob Huggins (West Virginia ‘03)
At School: 293-153 14th)
Career: 873-364 (38th)
Play-By-Play: Rich Hollenberg
Analyst: King McClure
Online: WatchESPN.com // ESPN App
Radio: KTCU 88.7 FM // KLIF 570 AM SIRIUS XM 383 - (973 online)
Play-By-Play: Brian Estridge
Analyst: John Denton Online: HFTV // TuneIn
Series: WVU leads 13-2
In Fort Worth: WVU leads 5-2
In Morgantown: WVU leads 6-0
Neutral: WVU leads 1-0
First Meeting: WVU won 71-50 (1/23/13) in Morgantown
Last Meeting: WVU won 104-96 (3ot) (2/26/19) in Morgantown
Winning Streak: WVU, 1
Dixon vs. WVU: 14-11
- TCU (12-3, 3-0) will aim for its first-ever win in Morgantown when it plays at No. 12 West Virginia (13-2, 2-1) Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
- TCU is 3-0 in the Big 12, its best start in conference play since going 14-0 in the Western Athletic Conference during the 1997-98 season.
- TCU leads the Big 12 in 3-pointers made per game (9.8), 3-point field goal percentage (36.8), blocks per game (5.1) and assists (17.0).
- TCU ranks in the top 30 nationally in assists (10th, 17.0), points allowed (20th, 60.2), 3-point field goals made (22nd, 9.8), defensive efficiency (24th, 89.4) and assist/turnover ratio (26th, 1.27).
- TCU has two returning starters from last season, senior Desmond Bane and sophomore Kevin Samuel. Bane, who earned multiple preseason honors, ranks high in the conference in several categories including second in scoring average at 17.1 points per game. Bane is one of three players nationally averaging at least 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
- Samuel ranks eighth in the nation in shooting at 66.4 percent from the field and is fifth in the Big 12 with 8.9 rebounds per game. Samuel’s eighth double-doubles this season leads the Big 12 and ranks 14th in the nation.
- RJ Nembhard is averaging 17.0 points in Big 12 play, which ranks fourth. He scored 31 points against Iowa State on Jan. 4, tied for the most by a Big 12 player this season.
- At 1,510 career points, Bane is 8th on TCU’s all-time scoring list. He is two points shy of Kurt Thomas (1,512, 1991-95) for seventh. Bane is one 3-pointer away from 200 for his career.
- At 121 career blocked shots, Samuel is sixth on TCU’s all-time list. Reggie Smith is next on the chart with 133.
LAST TIME OUT:
TCU’s stifling defense and Desmond Bane’s 17th career 20-point game led the Horned Frogs to a 52-40 win over Oklahoma State Saturday afternoon inside Schollmaier Arena. OSU’s 40 points were the fewest scored by a TCU opponent in a Big 12 game. It was also the fewest scored by OSU ever in a Big 12 game.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
West Virginia is 13-2 overall, 2-1 in the Big 12, and is coming off a 66-54 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. The Mountaineers are 7-0 at home with their losses coming at St. John’s and at Kansas. WVU is led by freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who is averaging a team-best 11.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. WVU ranks second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense (23.3%), third in field goal percentage defense (35.1%) and sixth in rebounding (42.3).
West Virginia leads the all-time series 13-2 with a 6-0 advantage in Morgantown. The Frogs have won the last two meetings in Fort Worth. The last meeting had 21 lead changes and 13 ties, which resulted in a 104-96 triple overtime win for WVU in Morgantown on Feb. 26, 2019. Jamie Dixon is 14-11 all-time vs. WVU and last won in Morgantown on Jan. 30, 2012 (72-66) while the head coach at Pitt.
TCU will play at Oklahoma (12-3, 2-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. on Big 12 Now/ESPN+.