I would say tonight’s game between the No, 20 Texas Longhorns (19-8, 8-6 Big 12) and the TCU Horned Frogs (17-8, 6-7 Big 12) is a trap game, but every night in the Big 12 is a trap game.
But it really feels like a trap game with just four games remaining in the regular season, including contests against No. 10 Baylor and No. 5 Kansas.
The Longhorns currently sit in fourth place in the conference standings, one-and-half games up on the fifth place Horned Frogs. A win against TCU would not only sweep the season series but nearly clinch a finish no worse than fourth in Chris Beard’s first season at Texas.
Texas won the first matchup against TCU in a 70-53 blowout victory in front of the largest home crowd in the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Four Longhorns scored in double figures, with Timmy Allen’s 16 points leading the way.
The Horns stifling defense was on full display, limiting TCU to just 12.5 percent from the three-point line and 36 percent overall. The 23-point margin of victory is the Longhorns largest of the season in conference play.
TCU is coming off a much-needed win over West Virginia to snap a three-game losing streak and currently project to be a 10 seed per bracketology.
Jamie Dixon’s defense ranks as one of the best in the nation, 26th per KenPom (sixth in the Big 12), and holds opponents to just 63.9 points per game. The defense has regressed a little bit over the last four games, with their scoring average nearly at 69 points per game.
Big man Eddie Lampkin missed Saturday’s game against the Mountaineers with a knee injury and if he is unable to go, consider it an advantage for the Longhorns who will likely be without Tre Mitchell, who is on an indefinite personal leave of absence. The 6’11 Lampkin led TCU with nine rebounds in the last game between these two teams.
Texas is coming off a loss to Texas Tech and is now 1-3 against the top three teams in the Big 12.
Andrew Jones is starting to surge at the right time, coming off back-to-back 20-point games while Marcus Carr is trending in the wrong direction after going scoreless against Texas Tech on Saturday.
“I think Marcus will be the first to tell you we have to have a better performance and better production from him to beat teams in the Big 12,” Beard said during his weekly press conference. “The good thing about Marcus is he’ll use this and respond.”
Either way, Texas will need everything they can get out of Jones, Carr, and Courtney Ramey with the Texas frontcourt still missing Mitchell.
The Horns can’t afford to get caught looking ahead to Baylor and Kansas with two must-win games against TCU and West Virginia this week.
“The number one goal is right there in front of us... we control our own destiny in a lot of ways,” Beard said.
How to Watch:
Time: 6:00 p.m. Central
Radio: Texassports.com affiliates
Odds: The Longhorns are nine-point favorites over the Horned Frogs, according to DraftKings.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.