Texas-TCU Preview

The Longhorns grabbed a 17-point victory over the Horned Frogs the first time they met up. How will Texas fare in Fort Worth?

No Offense

The Horned Frogs (10-15, 1-11) aren't especially great defensively, ranking 135th nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. But it's safe to say that the majority of their woes come on the offensive end. TCU has scored more than 56 points just once since conference play started, a random 62-55 shock-the-world upset over Kansas where the Jayhawks scored just 13 points on 13.6 percent shooting.

Included in those performances was a 60-43 loss in Austin, when Texas — playing without Myck Kabongo and Jonathan Holmes — shot 52.3 percent to TCU's 32.7 percent. Texas led by double digits from the end of the first half nearly through the entire game, though TCU did close to within nine on multiple occasions before Texas pushed it back out.

The book on TCU is simple: the Horned Frogs simply don't excel at any single area on offense. The Horned Frogs are 331st nationally in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. Part of that is because TCU gets 60 percent of its points from two-point range (18th), an area where the Frogs shoot just 42.5 percent (323rd) from.

But it's not like they have better scoring options. TCU shoots 28.6 percent from three (329th), which combines with the two-point percentage for the nation's 334th-ranked Effective Field Goal percentage. Getting to the free throw line is a no-go as well, with TCU making just 58.7 percent of their free throws (343rd).

Seem like it can't get worse? Add to that the Horned Frogs' struggles protecting the ball. TCU turns the ball over on 22.4 percent of their possessions, 288th nationally.

So with an offense that can't shoot, turns the ball over and plays at the 322nd-fastest tempo, it's easy to see why the Horned Frogs score such a paltry number of points.

TCU Individually

Kyan Anderson (5-11 175) is the kind of shot-happy, turnover-heavy point guards that drives efficiency nuts crazy. Anderson leads TCU in both points per game (11.2) and assists per game (3.24), but he's shooting worse than 40 percent from the field and he commits 2.92 turnovers per contest. He did have a nice step in the right direction as a ball-handler in TCU's last time out, dishing out eight assists to two turnovers in an 87-53 loss at Iowa State. But he also shot just 4-for-15, showing that he doesn't quite have everything put together.

Garlon Green (6-7 210) is the only other Horned Frog in double-figures (10.0) and he grabs 4.0 rebounds per game. But like Anderson, he doesn't shoot well, making just 37.4 percent of his shots.

TCU typically rotates through some combination of Adrick McKinney (6-8 250) and DeVonta Abron (6-8 255) down low, with the duo combining to grab almost 12 rebounds per game. Connell Crossland (6-7 190) should emerge as more of a weapon. He makes 51.2 percent of his shots and grabs nearly six rebounds per game thanks to his quickness. But he only shoots 46.3 percent from the free throw line, and hasn't been able to turn the corner into a consistent double-figure scorer.

Charles Hill Jr. (6-2 180) got the start against Iowa State and put in a nice effort, scoring nine points and dishing out two assists to one turnover in 29 minutes. Could he be in line for more consistent playing time? Nate Butler Lind (6-6 200) brings another forward off the bench who can do some different things.

Texas Vs. TCU

The biggest mismatch of the game is Texas's defense against TCU's offense. The Longhorns are elite at making opponents miss shots, while TCU is elite at, well, missing them. The next key will be rebounding. If Texas can rebound, the Longhorns can get the ball out and run. Because Texas's main weakness is scoring in the halfcourt, so every transition bucket is key.

The last time these two met up, Texas held TCU to 43 points. And if that happens again, this is likely a Texas win. But whether Texas finds itself in a close game or runs away with it depends mostly on one thing: shot-making. Early against Kansas, Texas generated some open looks but didn't knock them down. The Jayhawks likely would have won anyway, but missing those looks made it so that Texas never had a shot. Texas went down by double digits early and never recovered.

Make those shots, and Texas wins going away. Miss them, and this game could be a little closer-for-comfort than Texas fans would like. And as Kansas found out the hard way, in a close game, on the road, anything can happen.

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