For the first time this season, the Oklahoma Sooners and TCU Horned Frogs meet on the hardwood. Building momentum over the past two games, the potential for a trap is there as OU host a tough Iowa St. team on Monday. On the other side of the equation, the TCU looks to get their second conference win of the season. Here to preview the game with us is Andrew felts of Frogs O' War.
CCM - Trent Johnson enters his third season as head coach at TCU. Rattling off an impressive opening streak to break into the rankings things quickly went south. What are the realistic expectations for the remainder of the season?
FoW - TCU started the season 13-0, mostly thanks to a soft non-conference schedule. Since then, the Frogs are 1-8 and still looking to gain some traction in the Big 12. Realistically, I think that TCU can win three or four more games before all is said and done. The Frogs' Big 12 schedule was pretty front-loaded, resulting in four of TCU's final seven games to come against unranked opponents, with three of those at home. I don't think it's out of the question for the Frogs to sweep these remaining home matches against unranked teams. The Frogs have proven that they can compete with the likes of Kansas and West Virginia, but TCU needs to turn their toughness and competitiveness into wins. If the Frogs can get hot late and finish the season with five or six Big 12 wins, I think that TCU has an outside shot at the NIT.
CCM - With a group of transfers coming in, it appeared a supporting cast would finally be in place for star guard, Kyan Anderson. Who are a few names Oklahoma fans should familiarize themselves with outside of Anderson?
FoW - Transfers have definitely had a major impact on this year's TCU team. The biggest weapons that TCU has, other than Anderson, are all transfers. Trey Zeigler (Pitt), Chris Washburn (UTEP), and Kenrich Williams (New Mexico Junior College) have all entered the starting lineup in their first seasons at TCU, and are all contributing significantly on both ends of the floor. Zeiger and Williams in particular have been impressive as of late, both scoring in double-figures in four of the last five games. The trio of transfers have combined to make up more than 35% of TCU's total offensive output, and have collected nearly half of TCU's total rebounds this season. Watch for these three to have significant contributions today against the Sooners.
CCM - The Sooners like to get up and down the court in a hurry but also have the ability to play in the half court if need be. What are the Horned Frogs strengths heading into Saturday?
FoW - TCU's biggest strength is its team defense. Trent Johnson-coached teams seem to always be aggressive defensively, and the Frogs have really prided themselves on their tough defense throughout the season. Coming into today's game, TCU has the 8th best field goal percentage defense in the country, allowing opponents to shoot just 37.3% on average. The Frogs allow fewer than 60 points per game, and only three Big 12 opponents have cracked the 70 point mark against TCU this season. How well the Frogs' team defense performs will likely be a deciding factor in today's contest.
CCM - Oklahoma has a handful of athletic big men. However, the general rule of thumb is to switch on every screen around the perimeter. How big of a factor will the pick and roll (and high ball screens in general) be in putting points on the board for TCU and to create mismatches?
FoW - The Frogs have really struggled to score as of late, so creating and exploiting mismatches is going to be huge for TCU today. The Frogs often work the best in the paint because of their height and physicality, so I expect TCU to try and break Oklahoma's ball screens in order to go to work down low in the paint. The Frogs have been okay at breaking zone defenses this season, but often struggle to actually put up points. TCU will look to create opportunities offensively through exploiting mismatches this afternoon.
CCM - Give us your score prediction?
FoW - A lot of TCU fans, including myself, have been waiting for the day where the Frogs put everything together and knock off a ranked team. TCU has been so close on a number of occasions, but mistakes and missed opportunities have cost them wins. I think today is the day that the Frogs find themselves offensively and finally put up enough on offense to knock off a ranked team. With that being said, TCU will have to earn it today. Oklahoma is very good defensively, so the Frogs will have to play a full 40 minutes with a high level of intensity. If the Frogs can put it all together, I'll take TCU 68-62.