Huge thanks to Andrew Felts, who does great work over at FOW for taking the time out of his week to do this Q&A with me. Make sure you head over to Frogs O' War and read their stuff and interact with their fanbase. Let's get started!
CRFF: The last time these two teams squared off TCU embarrassed the Pokes, 70-55. What do the Pokes need to do to find success against the Frogs this time around?
The biggest key for Oklahoma State is going to be the deep ball. The Cowboys hit just three three-pointers in the first game, shooting 18.8% from deep. Phil Forte especially struggled as he was just 1/5 from deep. Forte has the ability to torch the Frogs from long-range, so he will likely need to be on his game if OSU wants to split the series. Another factor is going to be the Oklahoma State bench. In the first meeting, the OSU bench scored just five points. The reserves are going to have to contribute in the rematch.
Additionally, the Frogs were able to bully the Pokes in the paint in Fort Worth. The big men for the Frogs were able to score easily and often in the lane. Oklahoma State will need to create stops and limit TCU’s productivity inside if they want to come away with a win on Wednesday night.
CRFF: In the last meeting, TCU was fantastic at slowing down Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte who combined for 10-of-24 from the field. What will the Frogs do on Wednesday to try and recreate that result?
I think the Frogs are going to have to do just that – slow Nash and Forte down. In the first game, the TCU defense did a great job of knocking these two prolific scorers out of their natural rhythm. I thought Trent Johnson game-planned against Forte especially well. The TCU defense seemed to always collapse on him and prevent him from getting open looks at the basket. Additionally, Forte never really found his groove from deep, which is where he seems to be most deadly. The Frogs will certainly have to recreate this disruptive style of play on Wednesday night if they want to sweep the season series with Oklahoma State.
CRFF: Who would you rather have on your team, Kyan Anderson or Phil Forte? Why?
Ohhh, this is a great question. I have a ton of respect for Phil Forte. He is a pure shooter and is a lot of fun to watch when he isn’t lighting it up against your team. But I’m going to have to go with Kyan Anderson for one reason – I don’t think there’s another player that means as much to his team as Kyan Anderson means to TCU. Anderson is a Fort Worth kid who went to high school just seven miles from TCU’s campus. He is set to graduate in May having spent all four years as a starter. Anderson is in the top eight in program history in 12 different offensive categories including games played, games started, points scored, free throw percentage, assists, and steals. Even more remarkably, Anderson had the opportunity to transfer after his freshman season when the coach that recruited him bolted for Ohio University, but he decided to stay.
I don’t mean to discredit Forte’s accomplishments and the contributions that he has made at Oklahoma State, but Kyan Anderson is set to go down as one of the greatest athletes to ever don the Purple and White. Much like Forte, Anderson is a pure scorer that excels at creating opportunities for himself and for his teammates. He currently ranks 6th in points and 4th in assists in program history, which is a tremendous credit to his ability to not only score but to create scoring opportunities for others.
CRFF: What are TCU's biggest weakness? What are their strengths?
The Frogs’ biggest weaknesses are definitely on the offensive end. It sounds crazy, but the Frogs really struggle in the paint with open jumpers and layups sometimes. In many of TCU’s losses this season, the Frogs have struggled with hitting relative easy shots in from close range. Building on that, free throws have been perhaps the weakest link this season. Early in conference play, TCU was losing games mainly because of poor free throw shooting. Thankfully for Trent Johnson’s team, shooting has really improved as of late. The Frogs are really starting to find themselves on offense, which has been a big catalyst for TCU’s recent hot streak.
The Frogs’ biggest strength is their team defense. The Cowboys got to witness this first hand, but TCU has really excelled this season on the defensive end. Trent Johnson has always been a defensive-minded coach, and this season is no exception. The Frogs have posted some impressive numbers on defense this season, including a streak where TCU had the third best shooting percentage defense in the country behind Kentucky and Virginia. Much of TCU’s success this season has been predicated on the defensive end.
CRFF: You can never get through a Q&A without this question. What's your prediction for the game?
As you alluded to earlier, the Frogs really dictated the game against Oklahoma State the first time around. I think that Oklahoma State will make some adjustments and feed off their home crowd to make the score a little closer, but I’m going to be adventurous and pick the Frogs to sweep the Pokes. TCU is playing its best basketball of the season right now, and I am hopeful that will continue in Stillwater. The offense is really clicking, team confidence is at an all-time high, and the Frogs are still trying to play their way into the NIT. I’ll take TCU 68-64.
This is another great question. I really like this Q&A. There are so many things to love about Fort Worth. I think my favorite part about living here is the diversity of the city – Fort Worth has so much to offer. It is really a big city with a small town feel. There are so many museums and great restaurants, as well as professional and collegiate sports. Being in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex is another bonus. There is never a lack of things to do in North Texas.At the risk of sounding cliché, I think that the best part of campus is the people. I am a senior here at TCU and I have developed so many lasting relationships with friends, professors, and administrators. One of the nice things about the small enrollment at TCU is that as a student, I get to really know my professors and feel comfortable building personal relationships with them. I am a dual degree in Finance and Sports Broadcasting and within both the School of Business and College of Communication here at TCU, I have been fortunate enough to study under some really great professors and administrators. The people here are really what make TCU such a special place.