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January 12, 2013

Full Court Focus: Previewing TCU vs. Baylor

TCU hits the road again today, making the short drive to Waco to face the Baylor Bears. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest.

Here are some things to get you prepped for the game.

Last Time Out

TCU (9-6 overall, 0-2 Big 12) struggled in its first conference road game, losing 63-45 to Oklahoma State and shooting just 36 percent (17-of-47) from the field. Garlon Green had a game-high 20 points and became TCU's 31st 1,000-point scorer. Markel Brown and Marcus Smart led the Cowboys with 14 points each.

Baylor (10-4, 2-0) is coming off an easy 82-48 win at Texas Tech. Pierre Jackson led the Bears with 18 points. Freshman Isaiah Austin scored 17 points in 19 minutes.

Taking a Look at Baylor

The Bears are 6-2 at home, losing 63-59 to College of Charleston and 74-70 to Northwestern, a team that beat TCU. Jackson leads the team with 19.8 points a game. Austin averages 14.3 points a game and a team-high 8.6 rebounds a game. Baylor's other two losses came to Colorado (60-58) and at Gonzaga (94-87).

Three Things

1.Get Kyan Anderson Back Into Rhythm I wrote about this Wednesday, and Anderson struggled again against the Cowboys, shooting just 3-of-10 from the field and not registering a point until the second half, when the game was well beyond reach. He finished with 10 points. Maybe that second half was what he needed to re-boot his game for conference play, but TCU has to have him produce, alongside Green, who continued his stellar play against Oklahoma State. TCU is limited enough as it is without Amric Fields. The Frogs, to have a chance against upper-tier teams like OSU and Baylor, have to have Anderson and Green be driving forces on offense.

2.Establish a Three-Point Game Hate to keep harping on the offense, but that's been the definitive mark of this team's struggles so far - establishing something from three-point range has to help. If anything, it keeps games within reach. And, really, TCU wasn't that bad at all against the Cowboys, shooting 6-of-14 from behind the arc. Green led the way with three three-pointers, and Anderson had two. If someone else - maybe Nate Butler Lind or even Charles Hill - can produce a semi-threat from three-point range, that should relieve Anderson and Green from having to score on every possession.

3.Be Physical With Austin Austin sure hasn't played like a freshman this year, and he sure won't begin to against the Frogs. He's a skilled offensive threat. Devonta Abron and Adrick Mckinney? Not so much. At least not on the same level as Austin, who already seems to have a refined post game. Still, Abron and Mckinney are physical - that's their trademark. Using that physicality, if anything, could keep Austin out of a rhythm and lessen his effect. That would put the scoring pressure on the Bears' perimeter game.

Numbers Watch

These courtesy of the TCU media relations department…

- Adrick Mckinney has led TCU in rebounding seven of its last nine games, averaging 9.2 rebounds a game over that stretch. He had led the team only five times in 35 career games before this current run.

- Devonta Abron's current field goal percentage, 59.1 percent, would rank fourth in TCU single-season history. Abron isn't known for his offensive prowess, but the man converts when he gets the chance. Hint: Get him that chance.

The Bottom Line

It feels tired already, but I'll say it again: TCU has to score more. It has to have some sort of consistent, across-the-board production on offense. Green or Anderson or even both can't be burdened with that task. And even when they've proven to be capable of scoring in the 20s (and sometimes 30s), it's proven to be not enough. They need help. Speaking of help, Pierre Jackson might lead the Big 12 in scoring, but he has plenty of help. Austin and Cory Jefferson both average around 14 points a game, while Brady Heslip puts in 9.6 points a game. Heslip has made 30 three-pointers this year. Baylor has the firepower to put TCU - and several Big 12 teams - away quickly.



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