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Men’s Basketball preview: Texas Christian @ Oklahoma State

What to watch for when Jamie Dixon and the Horned Frogs come hopping into town.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

*Disclaimer: I don’t actually know if Horned Frogs hop or not. I don’t think they do, but I’m a Sports Media major, not a Zoology major. Google it if you are curious.

The Cowboys look to capture their first conference victory at home in front of what should be a lively and rowdy Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tonight, they go for their second win in as many games when they welcome Jamie Dixon and the TCU Horned Frogs to Stillwater.

Also, I am officially putting us on Phil Forte watch. The fifth-year senior is only five buckets from beyond the arc away from passing Cowboy great (and Oklahoma State Assistant Director of Player Development) Keiton Page for the most made 3 point baskets in Oklahoma State University history.

Here are the quick hits for tonight’s matchup against the TCU Horned Frogs.


Horned Frogs (14-5, 3-4 Big 12) vs. Cowboys (11-8, 1-6 Big 12)

Time: 6:00 p.m. CST

Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Oklahoma

TV: ESPNU

Radio: Cowboy Radio Network / Tunein

Stream: WatchESPN.com (requires provider login)

Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com


The Opponent

Last season, the Horned Frogs finished all alone in the cellar of the Big 12 with a 2-16 record in Big 12 play, and a 12-21 record overall. There wasn’t much to look forward to for TCU fans coming into the preseason, as they were picked to finish last in the conference once again.

Enter Jamie Dixon. The Frogs’ new head coach has the team out to a 14-5 start this year. The Frogs have already surpassed their total conference wins from last year, defeating OU, Texas, and Iowa State - the Cowboys lost to the latter two as you probably remember. With a 3-4 record in conference play, TCU is in sixth place in the conference, ahead of Texas Tech, the state of Oklahoma, and the University of Texas.

The Frogs lost a key piece of their team in Chauncey Collins, but appear to be getting along fine, thanks in large part to the emergence of junior forward Vladimir Brodziansky.


Player to Watch

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As I just alluded to, Vladimir Brodziansky is stepping up for the Frogs this season. The 6-11 Slovakian import is the Jeffrey Carroll of the TCU Horned Frogs. Last season, he averaged a little more than nine points, 4.5 rebounds, and one block per game. This season, his numbers have jumped to 13.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and 2.4 bpg. He is shooting 60% from the field, and almost 79% from the free throw line. Look for Brodziansky to go to work on the Oklahoma State interior defense, especially if they get in to foul trouble (as is the norm) and are forced to play more cautiously.


Three Big Things

1. Pass the Ball

I hate watching the Cowboys dribble the ball. Brad Underwood’s offense is at it’s best when the Cowboys are passing the ball around before shooting the ball. When the offensive possession is mainly dribbling out beyond the arc, it is boring and mainly ineffective. The only time I want to see the Cowboys dribble is when they are bringing it up the floor or driving to the basket.

2. Continue Defensive Intensity

The defense we saw against Texas Tech was the defense that we grew used to seeing during non-conference play and got everyone excited about. Prior to holding Tech to 64 points only Baylor has scored less than 80 points (61) on us in conference play. We shot the lights out in Lubbock, hitting 55% of our field goals, and 69% from beyond the arc. We aren’t going to shoot like that every night, but if the defense can hold the opposition to 65 points or less, Brad Underwood’s high powered offense (which scores 87.8 points per game - eighth best in the nation) should be able to manufacture enough offense to win the game.

3. Avoid stupid mistakes.

How many times has this happened this season? The Cowboys go up, grab a rebound, then they lose it as they come down because they didn’t secure it? Or they blindly throw a pass expecting a teammate to be there, but nobody is home and it goes out of bounds or is stolen for an easy layup? *Cue Mitchell Solomon’s “man I shoulda had that” hand clap*

The point is, the Cowboys consistently shoot themselves in the foot. The opponent already makes it tough to win, why make it any tougher on yourself by making silly mistakes? In seven conference games, the Pokes are averaging 15.4 turnovers per game. They could easily cut that down to a dozen or less by simply playing fundamentally sound basketball and not getting in too much of a rush.


Back in the Iowa State preview, I predicted the Cowboys would do much better once they earned Brad Underwood his 100th win.

My prediction is still the same. With TCU, Arkansas, and OU upcoming, and Underwood’s 100th win now in the rearview, I am going to guess the Cowboys go on a run in the Big 12 before starting the second half of conference play in February.