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NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Baylor

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MBB Scouting Report: TCU Horned Frogs

Home Sweet Home (Hopefully)

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup: TCU (14-5 / 3-3) @ Baylor (14-4 / 3-2)

Time: Saturday, January 27, 2024, @ 3:00 PM CT

Place: Foster Pavilion, Waco, Texas

Where to Watch: ESPN2

Big Picture

TCU comes in after narrowly avoiding a 3-game losing streak. They beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Tuesday (a game in which they trailed by as many as 16 points), notching their first road win in conference play.

Baylor enters this game after back-to-back road losses to KSU and UT (one in OT and the other on a buzzer-beating final shot). If the Bears want to avoid their first 3-game losing streak since last season (which also featured an OT loss to KSU), they need to defend their shiny new arena this weekend.

Baylor leads the all-time series 69-58. TCU is Baylor’s 4th most-played all-time opponent. Since 2013 the Bears are 17-5 against the Frogs (a stretch which featured an 11-game winning streak).

Season Recap

TCU’s best wins are those against Houston and Oklahoma. Their losses have come at the hands of Iowa State, Cincinnati, Kansas, Nevada, and Clemson (none of which are outside the top 60 teams in the NCAA NET rankings).

TCU has dropped out of the rankings after losing both their games last week. They are still receiving votes in the AP poll. KenPom has TCU as the 24th-best team in the nation while Evan Miya’s metric ranks them 23rd nationally.

Frogs’ Style

  • The Horned Frogs play almost exclusively man-to-man defense and they almost never press.
  • TCU scores more fastbreak points than any other team in the nation (over 26% of their points come in transition). In the halfcourt, this team loves the skip pass.
  • They don’t attempt many three-pointers (they are 330th nationally in 3P attempt rate). TCU gets a ton of shots at the rim (highly correlated with the fastbreak scoring). Although they don’t take a ton of midrange shots, they convert those shots at a high clip.

Frogs’ Strengths

  • TCU is an elite offensive-rebounding team (they are in the 95th percentile nationally in Offensive Rebound Rate). Their ability to create a lot of second-chance opportunities is a big part of their success.
  • The Horned Frogs create a ton of turnovers with their defense (they are 9th nationally in steals per game). These turnovers help fuel the team’s high volume of scoring in transition.
  • This is an excellent passing team (11th nationally in assists per game) and their ball movement drastically improves their scoring efficiency. They have assists on over 53% of their made two-pointers (98th percentile nationally) and nearly 87% of their made three-pointers (69th percentile nationally).

Frogs’ Weaknesses

  • While TCU’s defense is great at forcing turnovers, their offense is not great at avoiding turnovers. For the season, the Frogs rank 12th among Big 12 teams in turnovers surrendered per game, and over their last 5 contests, TCU has turned it over on nearly 18% of their offensive possessions.
  • As with turnovers, rebounding is another area where TCU is excellent on one end of the floor and abysmal on the other. TCU opponents come down with an offensive rebound on over 27% of their missed shots. It is truly perplexing that such a good offensive rebounding team would struggle so much on the defensive glass.
  • A disturbing recent trend for the Frogs has been their struggles at the charity stripe. Over their last 4 games, TCU is converting just 62.4% of their FT attempts.

Players to Watch

Emanuel Miller (Forward, No. 2, Super Senior, 6’7” 210 lbs.): 16.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.3 SPG on 49/39/83 splits. Miller has averaged 10+ PPG in each of his last 3 seasons going back to his time at Texas A&M. He is the team’s leading scorer and averaging career highs in scoring, assists, and steals. Miller has transformed himself into a do-it-all wing who leads the nation in fastbreak scoring and is in the 96th percentile or better nationally in Assist-to-Turnover Ratio and steals per game. He leads all Big 12 players in Offensive Win Shares (per sportsreference.com).

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Peavy (Forward, No. 0, Senior, 6’8” 210 lbs.): 10.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.3 SPG on 50/26/59 splits. The former Texas Tech transfer is a versatile wing who is having his best season. He has started every game and is an excellent defender and finisher near the rim. He is in the 96th percentile nationally in second-chance points per game. Over 48% of Peavy’s scoring this season is either in transition or on second-chance opportunities.

Avery Anderson III (Guard, No. 3, Super Senior, 6’2” 170 lbs.): 9.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1.6 SPG on 47/28/83 splits. Anderson came off the bench for the team’s first 11 games of the season but has now started 8 consecutive games. The Oklahoma State transfer is a true two-way point guard who sets his teammates up well and uses his long wingspan to disrupt opposing offenses. He doesn’t take many three-pointers but is lightning-quick in transition and loves to get downhill. He is top 10 among Big 12 players in both Assist Rate and Steal Rate.

Trey Tennyson (Guard, No. 11, Super Senior, 6’3” 180 lbs.): 9.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 1.7 APG on 47/45/85 splits. Like Anderson, Tennyson came off the bench for the first 11 games of the season before being moved into the starting lineup over the last 8 games. As a starter, he is averaging over 12 PPG on 47/48/100 splits. The Texas A&M Corpus Christi transfer is a sharpshooter who does the majority of his damage behind the arc.

Ernest Udeh, Jr. (Center, No. 8, Sophomore, 6’11” 260 lbs.): 4.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 0.8 BPG on 56/NA/55 splits. The Kansas transfer big man has started every game for TCU. He is an old-school center who is primarily out there to set screens, grab rebounds, defend, and draw fouls. He is in the 99th percentile nationally in fouls drawn per shot attempt.

Jameer Nelson, Jr. (Guard, No. 4, Super Senior, 6’2” 200 lbs.): 10.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 2.3 SPG on 44/25/70 splits. The Delaware transfer was unceremoniously benched after starting the first 11 games of the season. Since being benched, Coles is 14/28 (50%) from the FT line (he 84% from the FT in his 11 games as a starter). Nelson is a defensive menace and a quality point guard, but his scoring efficiency leaves something to be desired.

JaKobe Coles (Forward, No. 21, Redshirt Junior, 6’8” 220 lbs.): 9.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.7 APG on 47/37/72 splits. Like Nelson, Coles was moved to the bench after starting the first 11 games of the season. In 11 games as a starter, Coles is averaging 11.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.1 APG on 50/38/76 splits. In 5 games off the bench, he is averaging 5.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 0.8 APG on 38/33/50 splits. Coles is another TCU guy who has dominated in transition this season (he is in the 96th percentile nationally in fastbreak scoring), but despite the fact that he gets over 45% of his points in the paint, he is in the 13th percentile nationally in FT Attempt Rate.

Predictions

Key(s) to the Game:

  • Avoid sloppy turnovers and SPRINT back on defense.
  • Close out defensive possessions with good rebounding, BLOCK OUT.

Player of the Game: Yves Missi (Baylor): Despite only averaging 5 PPG and 4 RPG over the last 4 games, Missi should bounce back against this opponent that allows a lot of offensive rebounds, struggles to defend alley-oops, and lacks elite rim protection.

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Final Score: Baylor wins 79-73 (clutch FT shooting from Ja’Kobe, RayJ, and Jalen help close out another tightly contested game, Sic Em!).

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