Just days after a lackluster performance and disappointing loss at the hands of Kansas State, the Texas Longhorns get a chance to move on. Shaka Smart's team heads to Fort Worth to face the TCU Horned Frogs (16-8; 4-7). Both teams have a lot to play for in the final weeks before the NCAA tournament selections are made.
A quick look at the Horned Frogs
I think it is safe to say that no team in the Big 12 is probably more disappointed by its record to date than the Horned Frogs. Coach Jamie Dixon's team came into the conference season with a deep roster, a national ranking, an undefeated record, and a lot of buzz, but this is a team that can't seem to catch a break. TCU has lost seven games by the following point margins: 1, 4, 1, 5, 5, 3, 12, and 7.
The Frogs spend much of the game with five skilled offensive players on the floor together. The front court is manned by Kenrich Williams and Vladimir Brodziansky, two talented and versatile scorers who usually start with JD Miller. Kouat Noi is a long shooter who will rotate in off the bench.
Due to an unfortunate injury to Jaylen Fisher, Dixon's impressive roster depth has been needed. Alex Robinson goes from being the league's best backup point guard to a quality starter, while Desmond Bane is still knocking down shots. Fisher's injury has created playing time for Shawn Olden.
The Frogs lead the Big 12 in three-point shooting percentage at just under 42 percent, and are among the best shooting teams in the country. Pretty much everyone who plays other than reserve big man Ahmed Hamdy can shoot.
If you want to know more about the Frogs, you can check out the preview from the last time they faced Texas.
What happened the last time these two teams met?
You may remember the game; it is a game I won't soon forget. Shortly after learning that guard Andrew Jones was starting treatment for leukemia, a Texas team that was also missing Kerwin Roach battled TCU and won in double overtime when a Jaylen Fisher layup rimmed out as time expired. Dylan Osetkowski and Eric Davis led the Longhorns with 20 and 22 points, respectively, and four Longhorns logged over forty minutes in a game that just wouldn't end.
What has TCU been up to since last facing Texas?
Not long after losing the thriller to Texas, TCU lost starting point guard Jaylen Fisher (one of the team's best players) to a season-ending knee injury. The good news for the Frogs was that they did have a capable backup and many other players to pick up the scoring load, making it a big loss that is somewhat mitigated by roster depth.
The Frogs can still score without their lead guard, but a defense that gets inconsistent results (at best) has kept them from winning more games. Since the Texas game TCU has wins against Iowa State, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. With only four victories in conference play, Coach Dixon's team has to make up a lot of ground pretty quickly to create the post season it wants.
What does this game mean?
This is a game that will potentially be very important for the post season hopes of both teams. After losing a game at home this week to Kansas State, the Texas Longhorns have some ground to make up on the road in terms of building a successful NCAA resume. The same goes for the Frogs, who at least right now look to be in even worse shape.
You should probably watch this game. It is important, and the last time these two teams played was exciting and highly entertaining.
The game tips in Fort Worth on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT, and airs on ESPNU.