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Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ TCU

Time to start a new winning streak.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Cyclones’ Last Time Out

On Tuesday, the Cyclones’ dropped a road loss to Texas Tech 72-60, though the Red Raiders had held a 20+ point lead early in the game. Iowa State actually led the game in made threes, steals, and blocks, but were doomed at the free throw line, where they finished 9-of-15, but Tech finished an astonishing 29-of-38(!). It’s difficult to win games against good defensive teams when they shoot twenty-three more free throws than you.

Horned Frogs’ Last Time Out

TCU lost on the road at Oklahoma State by a score of 57-56. Charles O’Bannon led the scoring with 13, and was joined in double figures by Francisco Farabello.

Player to Watch

Mike Miles is the clear leader of the Horned Frogs. He uses a massive number of possessions at 28.6%, and takes 28.6% of TCU’s shots when he’s on the floor. He’s an okay three-point shooter at just under 32% and shoots just 40% from the floor overall. Where he excels is getting to the free throw line, leading the team by far in fouls drawn per game (5), and free throw rate (35.1%). For his usage rate, he also has an impressive assist rate, registering an assist on 27% of possessions.

Pick Three

1 - Iowa State registers two “kills”, a new stat from the program that denotes three-straight stops on defense.

2 - Iowa State makes 7+ threes as a team

3 - Both teams shoot less than 12 free throws.

What Will Happen

Jamie Dixon was arguably on the hot seat coming into this season, but he’s got his Horned Frogs heading in the right direction so far this season (much like every single other team in this ridiculous buzzsaw of a conference. And while TCU may be the lowest-ranked Big 12 team on KenPom, they still sit at 60th in the country which is a middle-of-the-road team or better in virtually every other conference.

Mike Miles is the unquestioned leader of this team. If you slow him down and make life difficult for him, and especially keep him off the free throw line, TCU struggles a bit on offense. He’s certainly not their only scorer, but he’s the gas that makes the engine go.

Much like the rest of the conference, TCU is an excellent defensive team, sitting at 25th nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (in comparison to Iowa State’s 5th). Overall, TCU is just a solid ball club that doesn’t anything exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly. For the most part, they essentially are just slightly behind Iowa State in most every state with one major exception. Offensive rebounding.

The Frogs are number one in college basketball in offensive rebounding percentage at 40.4%, which is really incredible number. For contrast, Iowa State sits at 31.8%. It’s absolutely imperative that the Cyclones box out on defense and keep TCU off the offensive glass. With the bigs continuing to be foul machines, that’s potentially quite a few and-one opportunities that could make this game tricky.

However, count on Otz to have his guys rebounding the hell out of the ball to take away an extreme strength for TCU and get another conference win.

Iowa State - 68

TCU - 62