Hoops Notebook: TCU Preview

Featured this week is a preview of Texas Tech's Big 12 matchup with TCU on Wednesday night, an update on former Red Raider Jaron Nash, an alarming statistic and conference power rankings.

For the longest time it looked like TCU’s undefeated run through its non-conference schedule, and brief appearance in the Top 25 were one big mirage. After all, the Frogs lost their Big 12 opener by 11 points to West Virginia in Fort Worth and just kept on losing. They lost three straight before beating Texas Tech in Lubbock, but then lost seven more conference games in a row to stand with a 1-10 Big 12 mark.

But then, just when it looked like TCU was completely down and out, the Frogs jumped up and beat Oklahoma State by 15 and Kansas State by 14. Then they put up a game fight against Kansas in Lawrence before losing by only nine.

In short, it took TCU a long time to adjust to Big 12 play, but it appears the Frogs have finally turned the corner. Better late than never.

Much like Texas Tech, TCU is a team without a true star. Guard Kyan Anderson is as close it comes. He leads the Frogs in scoring at 13 points per game, steals with 40, and assists at 4.2 per contest. Anderson also shoots at an 86-percent clip from the free throw line.

Kenrich Williams leads TCU in rebounding with seven per game, while Chris Washburn, Jr., son of a former third overall NBA selection of the same name, leads the club in blocked shot with 39, while also averaging seven points and six boards per contest.

TCU plays very sticky defense, allowing opponents to shoot only 39 percent from the floor, but is a terrible free throw shooting team, connecting on only 61 percent of their free throw attempts. The Frogs are plus-44 in assists/turnovers.

Tech takes on TCU 7 p.m. Wednesday at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center in Fort Worth.

Where Is He Now? Jaron Nash, who played for Texas Tech during Billy Clyde Gillispie’s 2011-12 season, may have been most noteworthy for being perhaps the worst free throw shooter in school history. He shot 28 percent from the line that season, and was as likely to hoist an air-ball from the charity stripe as he was to sink it.

But despite a less that impressive season in Lubbock, Nash has done alright for himself. He’s now a senior playing at the University of North Dakota (8-17), and is second on the squad in scoring (12.6 ppg), and first in rebounding (6.5). And that free throw shooting? Well, he’s still no Mark Price, but he has got his percentage up to a semi-respectable 57 percent, more than twice as good as he shot as a freshman. Tech fans can only hope Isaiah Manderson and Norense Odiase make similar progress.

Statistical Note: One of the primary reasons Tech wasn't able to pull out the victory over Oklahoma was turnovers. The Red Raiders turned the ball over 22 times in that game, and throughout the season have been bedeviled by ball-security problems. And, sure enough, Tech is among the nation’s worst in this category. The Red Raiders have turned the ball over 373 times, which puts Tech in a tie for No. 298 nationally alongside Nicholls State. Cleaning up this aspect of the game will be a huge priority for Tubby Smith and his staff next season.

Big 12 Power Rankings:
1. Kansas (11-3, 22-5)
2. Iowa State (10-4, 20-6)
3. Oklahoma (10-5, 19-8)
4. Baylor (8-6, 20-7)
5. West Virginia (9-5, 21-6)
6. Oklahoma State (7-8, 17-10)
7. Texas (6-8, 17-10)
8. Kansas State (6-9, 13-15)
9. TCU (3-11, 16-11)
10. Texas Tech (2-13, 12-16)

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