The results have swung once again for the Texas Longhorns, but the grind of Big 12 play continues on Saturday with a road trip to Fort Worth to face the No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs coming off of the consecutive losses to ranked opponents that followed two big wins over teams ranked in the top 15. So Saturday’s matchup marks the fifth straight ranked opponent the Longhorns have faced in the crucible of conference play.
Texas came close to upsetting No. 4 Houston in Austin on Big Monday, falling in overtime, 76-72, after allowing three offensive rebounds and making only one basket once regulation ended. Overall, Houston turned 15 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points while scoring 32 points in the paint. After the Longhorns took a six-point lead with 8:23 remaining in the second half, the Cougars used an offensive rebound out of a timeout to create a three for guard Jamal Shead that started a 9-0 run. In overtime, Houston rebounded three of its four misses, resulting four critical second-chance points as Texas struggled to score, hitting only 1-of-6 shots and turning the ball over twice.
The loss left head coach Rodney Terry and players admitting that there aren’t moral victories, but Terry still believes in his team’s upside, though the Longhorns are nearly halfway through conference play.
“We think we can be as good as we want to be this year. We have a good team. We’ve just got to take the next step. We’ve got to be completely bought in and we’ve got to stay the course, can’t listen to the outside noise — we control our own destiny in terms of what we do and how we do it the rest of the way, said Terry on Monday.
TCU hosts Texas with a 16-5 record overall, 5-3 in conference play, and as the No. 22 team nationally in KenPom.com’s adjusted efficiency metric with the No. 20 offense and No. 46 defense. An adjusted tempo of 62nd doesn’t quite capture how the Horned Frogs like to play — head coach Jamie Dixon’s team leads the nation in fast-break points, averaging 21.1 points per game in transition, aided by turnovers forced on 21 percent of opposing possessions, 34th in the country. Like Houston, TCU is also a force on the offensive glass, rebounding 36.3 percent of its misses, No. 19 in the country.
Stylistically, the Horned Frogs take only 29.8 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, No. 329 nationally, while posting average numbers in turnover rate and free-throw percentage, opponent effective field-goal percentage, opponent offensive rebounding rate, opponent free-throw rate, and block percentage.
Fifth-year senior forward Emanuel Miller leads TCU in scoring at 16.5 points per game and rebounding at 5.9 rebounds per game while ranking third in assists at 3.0 per game. Four guards further propel the scoring for the Horned Frogs — Micah Peavy, George Washington and Delaware transfer Jameer Nelson Jr., Texas A&M-Corpus Christi transfer Trevian Tennyson, and Oklahoma State transfer Avery Anderson. Tennyson is the only real volume three-point shooter for TCU, as no other player on the team has made more than Miller’s 18, and is extremely efficient from beyond the arc at 46.4 percent. The two players the Longhorns will have to keep off the offensive glass are forward Ernest Udeh Jr. (18.0 percent offensive rebounding rate) and forward Essam Mostafa (16.8 percent).
Texas leads the all-time series 117-70, including a 66-60 win in the Big 12 Tournament last year. BartTorvik.com gives the Horned Frogs a 62-percent win probability with a projected score of 79-76. TCU is on a three-game winning streak with victories at Baylor and at home against No. 15 Texas Tech and is 10-1 at Schollmaier Arena.
How to watch
Time: 1:00 p.m. Central
Odds: TCU is a 4.5-point favorite, according to DraftKings.
Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.