One game at a time. Yes, the TCU Horned Frogs are atrocious and winless in conference play. TCU sucked last year, too. It still managed to upset Kansas, the eventual Big 12 champions, at home.
The Texas Longhorns are coming off of four straight wins against ranked opponents. It will be very easy to overlook the Horned Frogs. For TCU and head coach Trent Johnson, there's a little talent, a little potential, and a long road towards respectability. The Frogs will look to steal one tonight in Fort Worth.
Kyan Anderson: The 5' 11" junior point guard is TCU's best player by a gaping chasm. He averaged 15.3 PPG and 4.7 APG, which is 11th and 5th best in the conference, respectively. He's a capable scorer, pesky defender, and good passer. Isaiah Taylor will have his hands full, especially with Javan Felix out with a concussion.
Brandon Parrish: The 6' 6" freshman guard from Arlington Juan Seguin is another underrated 3* Texan who has shown flashes of goodness this year. He averages 10.2 PPG and is TCU's best three point shooter. Parrish played AAU ball for Urban DFW Elite, alongside another more heralded TCU frosh (Shepherd), as well as Longhorn Kendal Yancy.
Jarvis Ray: The 6' 6" senior wing is a New Orleans native who has struggled through both injury and academic concerns. He's a two-year starter. My favorite stat: his career 3-pt shooting percentage is 13.2% (7-53)! Josh Smith is jealous.
Hudson Price: The 6' 6" freshman wing is the son of Mark Price. I'd be interested to know the backstory for why he picked TCU. He functions as TCU's sixth man, and has moved into the starting rotation due to injury.
Amric Fields: The 6' 9" junior big man is a poster child for injury 101, but he's managed to stay healthy through Big 12 play. When he plays, he's pretty good, averaging 13.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG this year. Can hit a 3.
Christian Gore: The 6' 2" sophomore guard is an El Paso native that became eligible this year after transferring from Brown. Backup guard who averages 18 minutes per game.
Michael Williams: The 6' 2" freshman guard from San Antonio Reagan is another 3* Texan who has potential. He's been pushed into minutes due to injury.
Clyde Smith & Thomas Montigel: Fringe backups forced into action due to injuries.
Karviar Shepherd: The 6' 10" freshman center was the jewel of Johnson's 2013 recruiting class. He was a top 50 prospect coming out of high school, and one of the players embroiled in the transfer controversy from Arlington Grace Prep (Isaiah Austin's alma mater) to Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Academy. He's had a decent freshman season, averaging 8.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG. Unfortunately, he just injured his hand and is out indefinitely, leaving TCU with just 7 scholarship players.
Charles Hill: The 6' 2" sophomore guard decided to skip one too many classes and is academically ineligible.
Trey Ziegler & Chris Washburn: Two once-highly touted high schoolers who have transferred to TCU. Sitting out the year due to transfer requirements.
Keys to Victory:
1. Don't sleepwalk. Easier said than done, yeah? TCU is (by far) the worst team in the Big 12. For now, at least: check the roster breakdown above. Things are looking up.
2. Mitigate the height differential on the perimeter. TCU actually has some tall bodies flanking the wing. The Horned Frogs can't shoot the 3, so I don't know if that means anything.
3. Don't let TCU get to the line. One thing the Horned Frogs are good at is drawing fouls and making freebies. Their FTA/FGA is 46.4%, which is 61st nationally. TCU shoots a respectable 72.4% from the line. If TCU is going to score, at least make them do it the hard way.