Getting to know TCU
After a perfect 13-0 start to the season, Big 12 play hasn’t gone quite as well for Trent Johnson and his TCU Horned Frogs (14-5 overall, 1-5 Big 12).
Still, TCU has competed, with two of its losses coming in overtime, including a wild, near-upset at West Virginia.
Johnson, who is 2-3 all-time vs. Kansas, including a December 2003 win when he coached at Nevada, is turning things around for the program, which last advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1998. Remember: Last season TCU went 0-18 in the Big 12 and 9-22 overall.
Entering Tuesday night, TCU ranked third in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 35.1% shooting. The two teams ahead of the Horned Frogs? Undefeated Kentucky (31.7%) and Virginia (34.1%).
In Big 12 play, TCU leads the league in FG% defense at 37.4% (ahead of second-ranked KU’s 38.6%), as well as 3-point FG% defense (25.3%).
Part of TCU’s success on the defensive end comes from its shot-blocking — 5.8 denials a game, which ranks 12th in the nation. On the season, the Horned Frogs are allowing 57.3 points a game (15th nationally). In Big 12 games, the Horned Frogs rank sixth in blocks (4.3) and are tied for fifth in scoring defense (66.0).
Defense has allowed TCU to battle better than its Big 12 record indicates. In four of its five losses in the league, the Horned Frogs either led or trailed by single digits in the final five minutes of the game.
TCU has lost its last 17 games against ranked opponents, with its last top-25 win coming in February of 2013 against Kansas — the infamous “Topeka YMCA” game.
So between the way their road trip to West Virginia ended and their eagerness to prove they can beat a ranked team, expect nothing to come easy for No. 9 Kansas (16-3, 5-1) at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center.
Here are the Horned Frogs the Jayhawks will have to worry about Wednesday night at Fort Worth, Texas.
HORNED FROGS STARTERS
No. 5 — Kyan Anderson, 5-11, senior G
TCU’s leader in points (13.7) assists (3.9), and steals (1.4), his scoring actually has dipped from last season (17.0 points), but that’s a good thing for the Horned Frogs and Anderson, because it means he isn’t being forced to do so much on his own.
Still, he has scored in double figures in 14 games this season — not surprising, considering his name, face and efforts have been the most consistent thing about TCU the past few seasons. Anderson ranks in the program’s top five in career games started, minutes played and steals. He’s top-10 in TCU history in scoring, 3-pointers, free throws made and assists.
His 30 3-pointers this season lead the team — by 16 — but he only hits 32.3% from long range.
The Horned Frogs visit the charity stripe 27.9 times a game, and Anderson is a big part of that. He shoots 89.2% at the foul line (tops in the Big 12) on 83 attempts (4.4 tries a game).
Unfortunately for TCU, he’s the only reliable free-throw shooter on the team — more on that to come.
Anderson put up 22 points at West Virginia, bouncing back from a 2-point night in a loss to Texas.
— hoop-math.com nugget: While the rest of Anderson’s teammates don’t shot the ball from deep too often, he more than makes up for it, taking 52.5% of his shots from 3-point range. 73.3% of his 3-point makes have been assisted.
No. 32 — Trey Zeigler, 6-5, senior G
An explosive guard, he has upgraded TCU’s experience this season. Zeigler played at Central Michigan and Pitt before landing in Fort Worth. He has posted more than 1,300 points and 500 rebounds in his career.
Averaging 8.7 points and 3.9 rebounds this season, Zeigler has facilitated TCU’s offense of late, leading the team in assists in six of the last eight games. In Big 12 play, he’s averaging 11.3 points and shooting 46% from the floor.
The veteran guard knocked in clutch jumpers at the end of regulation and in overtime at WVU.
Zeigler had a season-high 19 points at Kansas State, hitting 7 of 14 shot attempts.
Though he plays in the backcourt, he has not made a 3-pointer and attempted just 5 all season. Likewise, he isn’t a good free-throw shooter. While he has taken 81 attempts (just behind Anderson’s 83), Zeigler has connected on just 58% of his tries.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Zeigler, obviously not much of a shooter, takes 60.2% of his shots at the rim, which leads TCU. He has made 59.7% of his 77 attempts.
No. 34 — Kenrich Williams, 6-7, sophomore F
The second-year small forward chips in 8.4 points a game and leads the Horned Frogs with 6.6 rebounds.
His 11-point outing at West Virginia marked his ninth time in double figures this season. TCU is 7-2 when he scores 10 or more.
A junior-college transfer, Williams leads TCU with 50 offensive rebounds (2.6 a game).
Like Zeigler, he is a poor free-throw shooter: 33 of 56 (58.9%).
— hoop-math.com nugget: Here’s another Horned Frog who knows where he needs to be shooting. Williams takes 56.5% of his shots at the rim and makes 67.2% at that distance.
No. 33 — Chris Washburn, 6-8, sophomore F
A transfer from UTEP, the son of the No. 3 overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, Chris Washburn Sr., was a four-star prospect coming out of high school.
The younger Washburn is averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in his first season playing for TCU.
His eight dunks lead the Horned Frogs this season, but he is active defensively, too, averaging 1.53 blocks and 1.0 steals. Washburn had 3 steals against Baylor and blocked 2 shots at Texas Tech and at West Virginia.
He has missed both of his 3-point tries this season. And, guess what, he also stinks as a free-throw shooter: 38 of 57 (49.1%).
— hoop-math.com nugget: While Washburn has taken 53 shots at the rim this season, making 66% of those, he has only connected on 16 of his 48 2-point jumpers. … His 15 put-backs on the offensive glass lead TCU.
No. 14 — Karviar Shepherd, 6-10, sophomore C
The big man has only contributed 6.7 points this season, which has a lot to do with him making just 48 of his 109 field goal attempts (44%).
The highest-rated prospect (No. 46 in Class of 2013 by Rivals.com) ever to choose TCU, Shepherd has just three double-digit scoring games this season after accomplishing that feat 16 times as a freshman.
The center had 15 rebounds last season against Iowa State, but this year he is averaging just 6.2 boards (5.5 in Big 12 games).
He has 17 blocks in 19 games and leads TCU with 52 personal fouls.
Compared to TCU’s other top rotation players, he’s not atrocious at the free-throw line: 31 for 49, 63.3%.
— hoop-math.com nugget: The majority of his shots — 58.7% — have come on 2-point jumpers, and Shepherd has made only 24 of 64 (37.5%).
HORNED FROGS BENCH
No. 4 — Amric Fields, 6-9, senior F
Contributing 7.1 points and 3.1 rebounds off the bench in just 16.2 minutes, Fields takes smart shots and makes them. He’s hitting at a 60% clip on the season — 42-for-70.
Six times last season, he led the Horned Frogs in scoring and reached double digits in 14 of the 18 games he played in, averaging 13.8 points.
Now that he’s in a backup role, it hasn’t affected Fields’ approach on offense. He scored 11 points and hit all 5 of his shots at West Virginia.
While he is typically efficient within the flow of the game, he too struggles at the foul line: 19 for 41 (46.3%).
— hoop-math.com nugget: Fields is actually the team’s most effective shooter. His eFG% of 62.1% leads the team.
No. 11 — Brandon Parrish, 6-6, sophomore F
The second-year forward had a career-high 22 points back in November against New Orleans. He blocked five shots in December vs. Texas-San Antonio.
On the season, Parrish averages 5.9 points and 2.3 rebounds.
He spent 16 games as a starter before Williams replaced him in the top five.
In his three appearances off the bench, Parrish had 0 points at Texas Tech (3 minutes), 5 points vs. Texas and 3 points at West Virginia. He has only made 2 of 9 shots as a backup.
His 14 3-pointers this season ranks him second on TCU, and he has made 38.9% from long range.
Oh, year. Parrish is 23 of 40 at the foul line (57.5%).
— hoop-math.com nugget: Parrish has taken 37.1% of his shots at the rim and 37.1% from 3-point range. He has made 18 of 36 inside.