CCM - Trent Johnson has won Coach of the Year honors in three different leagues largely due to his ability to recruit top talent. Since taking over at TCU, Johnson has brought in some of the highest rated recruiting classes ever at Texas Christian. Is this a trend that has continued looking at the 2015-16 roster?
FoW - Trent Johnson has definitely had some major successes on the recruiting trail during his time at TCU. You could build a pretty solid argument that recruiting is as strong now as it has ever been, although that might not be saying much. This year's roster is certainly the product of those strides made in recruiting. Karviar Shepherd and Brandon Parrish, both juniors, are two of the highest rated recruits in the school's history. Sophomore Chauncey Collins was a highly touted player out of high school. Additionally, Chris Washburn received a good amount of attention after declaring that he was transferring away from UTEP a couple of years ago.
As far as this year's class is concerned, Trent Johnson brought in four players who were proven scorers at their previous stops. True freshmen Lyrik Shreiner and JD Miller both averaged over 25 points per game at their respective high schools, earning four-star accolades from various recruiting services. Pratt Community College transfer Vladimir Brodziansky and New Mexico Junior College transfer Malique Trent each lit up the scoreboard, establishing themselves as top scorers at the NJCAA level. It has taken some time for that talent to mesh well enough to turn into victories, but Johnson has certainly put the pieces in place for the Frogs to compete in the future.
CCM - Kyan Anderson was one of the most underrated players in the conference a year ago...at least in my opinion. Who has stepped up in his absence to fill the void left behind?
Playing 21 games without Kyan Anderson so far this season has helped to solidify just how important he was to the TCU offense. The Frogs have really struggled to replicate Anderson's production this season, resulting in some dismal offensive numbers. TCU enters tonight's contest 280th in the nation in scoring, averaging only 68.6 points per game. That number is even lower in Big 12 play, as the Frogs are dead last in the league, knocking in just 61.6 points per game.
So, to answer your question: nobody. Different players have stepped up at different points of the season. Vladimir Brodziansky burst on to the scene during the non-conference portion of the schedule, scoring about 13 points per game. Fellow transfer Malique Trent has had flashes of brilliance, but he has struggled to put up consistent shooting performances. Most recently, Chauncey Collins is putting up the best numbers of his career. While only averaging 10.5 points per game, he has dropped double-digits in six of TCU's nine league games.
CCM - The Sooners possesses the nation's top three-point shooters (by percentage) in Jordan Woodard and Buddy Hield. However, TCU allows opponents to shoot 32.2% from behind the arc ranking fourth in conference. How have the Horned Frogs been successful at chasing players off the three point line?
FoW - TCU's opponent three-point shooting percentage is one of the most misleading stats out there, in my opinion. Despite allowing opponents to shoot just 32.2% from behind the arc, the Frogs have really struggled to defend the perimeter, especially against their Big 12 foes. I think that the 32.2% stat was pulled down by some dismally bad deep shooting by the Frogs' non-conference opponents. Illinois State shot 3/18 against TCU, Abilene Christian had a 4/19 night, Prairie View A&M went 0/10, the list goes on and on. Case in point, the Frogs have allowed seven different opponents to shoot over 40.0% from deep, with five such instances occurring in league play.
Because the TCU offense has struggled so much, Trent Johnson is often forced to play his best scorers, who are also his weakest defenders. The Frogs seem to struggle to figure out how to counter basic screen plays, which often results in wide-open shooters, especially behind the arc. Teams that figure this out earlier rather than later usually make the Frogs pay for their struggles. Texas Tech, for example, found a ton of success in the second half of their game in Fort Worth by employing basic screen plays near the top of the key.
CCM - What is the biggest weakness of this team that OU may take advantage of?
FoW - To build on the point above, I think Oklahoma will find a ton of success behind the arc tonight. This Sooners team is packed full of talented shooters, and it shouldn't take much to create easy scoring opportunities against this TCU defense. I fear that the Frogs will rely too much on double-teaming Buddy Hield that other talented shooters are finding easier shots.
CCM - Give us your score prediction.
FoW - I have a hard time seeing this game decided by less than 20 points. The Frogs have showed a ton of heart this season, posting respectable losses to Kansas, West Virginia, and the like. But TCU hasn't seen a team as talented as Oklahoma yet. I think Buddy Hield goes off for 30+ tonight, a routine occurrence these days. Sooners take it 82-60 in a game where the score looks closer than it actually was.