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January 8, 2013

Full Court Focus: Previewing TCU vs. Oklahoma State

TCU travels to Oklahoma State tonight for its first Big 12 road game. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game can be seen on the Big 12 Network, which, for those in Fort Worth, will be carried on TXA-21.

Here's a few things to get you prepped for the game:

Last Time Out

Devonta Abron scored 16 points, but it wasn't enough, as TCU lost to Texas Tech, 62-53, on Saturday to open up Big 12 play. The Horned Frogs (9-5 Overall, 0-1 Big 12) kept it close at times, but, lacking an offensive spark, they couldn't seem to build much momentum in the second half.

Oklahoma State (10-3, 0-1) lost 73-67 Saturday to Kansas State. Freshman Marcus Smart led the Cowboys with 25 points.

Taking a Look at the Cowboys

Oklahoma State started hot, winning its first six before losing Dec. 1 at Virginia Tech. The Cowboys lost Dec. 31 to Gonzaga before dropping Saturday's contest. They've seemed to have struggle of late, but this is a dangerous team, one that will likely contend for a Big 12 championship with Smart and stud sophomore Le'Bryan Nash leading the way. Both guys were five-star recruits, Smart last year out of Flower Mound and Nash out of Dallas Lincoln. The Pokes' best scorer, though, has been Markel Brown, a guard putting up 14.5 points a game. Phil Forte, Smart's high school teammate last year, has also provided quality minutes, averaging 11.0 points a game.

Three Things

1.Get Production from Anderson. Before the Texas Tech game, I wrote how the Frogs needed to get Anderson some help, particularly from Garlon Green. Well, TCU got that Saturday against the Red Raiders with Green scoring nine points and Abron totaling a team-high 16 points. The problem? Anderson was virtually non-existent, especially away from the free throw line. He scored six points on 1-of-12 shooting, including 0-for-4 from three-point range. Unsurprisingly, the Frogs' offense hit several lulls, keeping Texas Tech's lead out of reach in the second half.

2.Limit Nash. Obvious, I know, but Nash struggled against Kansas State, shooting 2-for-7 from the field and finishing with just six points. TCU can't let Wednesday night be a comeback from game for Nash. Learn from what Kansas State was able to do, and limit his production. Doing that, naturally, will limit the rest of the Pokes' offense, so even when Marcus Smart has a big game (as he did against the Wildcats, scoring 25) it isn't nearly as effective.

3.Feed Abron. Abron shot 7-of-9 from the field against Texas Tech, and most of those were inside the paint. He isn't a polished offensive force, but he was able to body up against Texas Tech's big guys and produce on the block. Take advantage of that, especially if Anderson isn't shooting well.

Number Watch

A few interesting figures courtesy of Andy Anderson over at TCU media relations:

- Since switching to guard on Dec. 8, Garlon Green is averaging a team-high 18.2 points a game and shooting 52.6 percent from the field. Green needs just 10 points to join the TCU 1,000-point club.

- Adrick McKinney has four double-doubles in the last six games. The senior had eight points and seven rebounds against Texas Tech. His play inside has improved remarkably.

- TCU players own two of the top three individual scoring performances by Big 12 players this year, Anderson with 35 against UAB and Green with 31 against Rice. The Frogs might need that kind of production out of both guys to have a shot Wednesday night.

Bottom Line

Let's not be nave - TCU might have missed its shot against the Red Raiders, who lost 82-48 at home to Baylor on Tuesday night. It's going to be a struggle for the Frogs to win a game down the stretch. Wednesday night, against one of the top teams in the league, probably won't be their chance to steal one. Oklahoma State has lost two straight, so there's a chance the Cowboys could be vulnerable, playing some not-so-solid basketball. But there's a greater chance they'll be all the more hungrier for a bounce-back win. Might want to check this one off as a "growing experience."


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