Oklahoma State heads back home to Stillwater after a tough loss in the Big 12/SEC Challenge to the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. The Cowboys led through the entire first half, but OSU was unable to maintain their lead as their second-half struggles continued in Fayetteville. The Cowboys were unable to generate offense as they shot 22.7 percent from the field in the second half, including 1-for-8 from 3. Now, let’s put that one in the rear view and get to today’s preview.
Who: TCU Horned Frogs (15-6, 3-5 Big 12)
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena - Stillwater, Oklahoma
When: January 30, 2018 - 6:00 p.m. CT
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network
Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com
Odds: TCU (-1.5)
The TCU Horned Frogs head to Stillwater sporting the same conference record as the Pokes; three wins and five losses. The Frogs were also losers in the Big 12/SEC Challenge as they fell in Nashville to Vanderbilt (where they attempted 0 free throws!!). However, they did beat a solid West Virginia team right before their loss to the Commodores.
Like the Cowboys, TCU has had their share of injuries this season. They recently lost point guard Jaylen Fisher for the remainder of the year. Alex Robinson is now their only real point man, and he’s been averaging an absurd amount of minutes since Fisher went down with a meniscus tear. But, Robinson has been making the most of it as he’s played extremely well since assuming the point guard role pretty much solely by himself.
TCU’s strength this season has been on the offensive end of the floor. They haven’t had any trouble putting up points as they are currently 6th in scoring offense averaging 86.8 ppg. Two major keys to this are their ability to move the ball and setup others for good looks (second in assists per game with 19.9), and making those good looks count (12th in effective field goal percentage at 57.6 percent). In addition, although the Horned Frogs don’t take many shots from beyond the arc — 199th in percentage of total shots that are 3’s — they shoot them very efficiently at 40.3 percent.
Now on the other hand, the defensive side of the ball is where this Horned Frog team struggles. TCU ranks 302nd in scoring defense, allowing opponents to put up 77.5 ppg on average. They don’t force a lot of turnovers, they don’t block a lot of shots, and, according to KenPom.com, they are allowing opponents to shoot an effective field goal percentage of 53.1 percent... ranking them 261st in the nation.
TCU is currently not ranked in the AP or Coaches Poll, and KenPom.com has them ranked No. 26.
Players to Watch:
I already mentioned Alex Robinson above, the TCU on-court general is averaging 8.5 ppg and 6.1 apg. Also, fun fact, he needs only ten more assists to tie his head coach Jamie Dixon for eighth all-time in career assists at TCU. Along with Robinson, the Frogs have another talented guard in Kenrich Williams. He’s a long 6’7 and can score inside and out (40.3 percent from deep). He’s second on the team in scoring at 14.5 ppg and leads the team in rebounds with 9.6 per game.
On the inside, TCU is led by the 6’11 Slovakian, Vladimir Brodziansky. He leads the team in scoring with 15.3 ppg and is one of the main reasons the Horned Frogs are one of the top paint scoring teams in the nation.
Three Big Things:
Oklahoma State could also be with only one point guard when they take on TCU as Kendall Smith is still recovering from the flu. There’s been no word yet on whether he’s feeling well enough to return to the lineup, but if not, that means another heavy dosage of minutes for Brandon Averette. The sophomore point guard played 37 (!) minutes on Saturday against the Hogs, that’s about 14 more than his season average. Additionally, the Pokes will be without junior guard Tavarius Shine, who is out indefinitely with a wrist injury.
We saw the Cowboys play a good amount of zone defense against Arkansas to try and conserve some injury on the defensive end, and I would expect to see this zone against the Horned Frogs as well. Everyone will have to step up, whether it’s one or both of these guys out, it will take a team effort to replace them.
2. Inside Scoring
As I mentioned above, TCU does a lot of damage in the paint. They rank 31st in percentage of total shots taken at the rim, and they are shooting 62.4 percent on those attempts. In Big 12 play they are averaging 36 points per game in the painted area, and scored 40 inside on Vanderbilt this past weekend. Most of the offense down low is handled by Brodziansky, Williams, JD MIller and Ahmed Hamdy (who missed the Vandy game due to illness).
They can hurt you in the pick and roll. Here you see it with Brodziansky.
Off of a set out of bounds play.
With back-door cuts.
Or just clearing out and letting their man go to work down low.
And, once they begin abusing you inside and you over help... they will kick it out to one of their many efficient 3-point shooters.
3. Second Half 3’s
Shoot better from beyond the arc in the second half. That’s it. 1-for-8 in the second half against Arkansas, 2-for-7 in the second half against Texas Tech, and even in their Bedlam victory, 2-for-9 in second half against OU. The Cowboys haven’t shot well from deep all season, but in the second half it’s been especially awful. They will need an efficient shooting night against this TCU team to have any hope of winning.
In conclusion, without Shine (and possibly Smith), I think the Pokes lose this one at home 77 - 70.