Texas Tech (9-8 1-3) versus TCU (9-7 0-4)
Where: Daniel Meyer Coliseum, Ft. Worth, TX
When: 5 p.m. (CT), Saturday, January 18
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports
The Matchup: If any single word best describes the TCU Horned Frogs, it is “inconsistent.” In non-conference play the Frogs were anything from awful to outstanding and all points in between. Hence, TCU began the season by losing to SMU and Longwood and later fell by 21 to Harvard in the Great Alaskan Shootout. On the other hand, TCU has beaten Tulsa twice, and won at Washington State and Mississippi State. The Frogs also beat the same Texas Southern team that Texas Tech handled in Lubbock.
Having noted TCU’s inconsistency, it must be said that the Frogs have been quite consistent in Big 12 play--consistently bad. The Frogs are 0-4 and the only conference game in which they were competitive was a five-point home loss to West Virginia. TCU’s losses to Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State have been by an average of 25 points.
TCU’s wild swings and difficulties in conference play can be explained, in part, by the fact that the Frogs rely heavily on two freshmen. They are talented, but still freshmen.
Highly touted frosh Brandon Parrish and Karviar Shepherd (recruited by Kansas, no less) are each playing 30 minutes per game. Parrish averages 11 points and four rebounds per game, while Shepherd is good for eight and seven supplemented by two blocks per game. Both shoot 41 percent from the field.
Junior guard Kyan Anderson is TCU’s leader, however. He averages 15 points, three rebounds and nearly five assists per contest while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 82 percent from the charity stripe.
As a team, the Frogs shoot only 42 percent from the field and are a negative five in rebounding margin.
Unlike the mercurial Frogs, Texas Tech has slowly and steadily improved throughout the season, and this ascending curve culminated in a 10-point beating of then No. 12 Baylor in the Red Raiders’ last outing. And nowhere has the improvement been more in evidence than outside shooting and perimeter defense. Not so long ago Tech was shooting 29 percent from three-point range, but has now pushed that percentage up to 33. Likewise, the Red Raiders were once allowing opponents to hit nearly 36 percent of their three-point attempts but have pared that number down to 34 percent.
Senior forward Jaye Crockett continues to be Tech’s pacesetter. The Clovis, New Mexico product averages 15 points and six rebounds per contest, and is beginning to make a case for All-Big 12 honors. With great games back-to-back, point guard Robert Turner has pushed his scoring average to 10 points per game, and his assist-to-turnover ration is a rock solid two-to-one. Turner also leads the club in steals with 21.
Tech Player to Watch: Seven-foot senior Dejan Kravic had a Magical (the capital letter is a hint) game against Baylor with 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists. With his passing skills, Kravic could almost be described as a point center. Look for Tubby Smith to use Kravic ever more as a distributor, particularly against zone defenses.
TCU Player to Watch: Tech point guard Robert Turner has faced a murderers’ row of point guards this season, and the hits just keep coming with TCU’s Kyan Anderson. The junior from Ft. Worth can score and dish, shoot from deep and from the free throw line. And he rarely leaves the court, playing 33 minutes per game.
Notable: TCU guard Hudson Price is the son of former four-time NBA All Star Mark Price, a high school star at Enid, Oklahoma and a prime time performer for Bobby Cremins at Georgia Tech.
Quotable: “In this conference, you have to be ready to play every game. Right now we can celebrate, but we have to put this behind us. We can go to TCU and they’re playing to beat us, just like the next game at West Virginia. It’s the beginning of this conference—fight every day. This conference is going to be a dogfight.” —Tech forward Jaye Crockett