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Baylor

vs.

TCU

College Basketball Pick

1/21/17

This might be the year TCU finally makes it back to the NCAA tournament, but its job isn't done yet. Without many great wins in non-conference play, the Horned Frogs need a win or two against good competition in the Big 12. They'll have plenty of opportunities, but getting Baylor at home may be one of their best shots at taking down a top-10 team.

Baylor is cruising, still with only one loss, but its schedule will pick up starting with this game. The Bears will have back-to-back games at Ole Miss and Kansas and those could be the deciding factor if this team is good enough to unseat the Jayhawks at the top of the conference. Outside of the loss to West Virginia, Baylor has done enough to get past most Big 12 competition, already beating Oklahoma and Kansas State on the road. This one could come down to the wire.

TCU already gave Kansas a run for its money in Fort Worth and just beat Iowa State last weekend. The test for the Frogs will be trying to contain the Baylor bigs and keeping them off the offensive glass. Johnathan Motley has turned into one of the best players in the conference, if not the country, averaging 15.8 points and 9.7 boards per game. However, his splits are much different on the road as seen when he combined for 15 points and 14 rebounds in road games at WVU and KSU, but went for 32 and 20 against Texas earlier this week. But in addition to Motley, Baylor still has Jo Lual-Acuil and Nuni Omot, who is only recently making an impact. The Bears are the best rebounding team in the conference for a reason.

That means TCU may turn to Karviar Shepherd and JD Miller a little more in order to maintain a presence in the paint. Of course, the talk of the town remains 6-11 Slovakian Vladimir Brodziansky, who has been an absolute force for the Frogs. He dropped 28 points and 9 boards against Kansas and 25 and 14 against Iowa State. But against the bigger Bears, he could have a harder time hitting those numbers. And if Brodziansky can't reach those levels or can't play good enough defense, that could be a problem. But the 6-7 Kenrich Williams may be the more important player when the game is done, as he leads TCU in rebounding. His athleticism will be key as he may be forced to guard Motley at times if Baylor decides to go big.

Neither one of these teams has an overwhelming backcourt with both being subpar at shooting the three. Both have trouble turning the ball over, but also forcing turnovers themselves. Baylor runs with a slew of guys in Manu Lecomte, Al Freeman, Ishmail Wainright and Jake Lindsey, but that doesn't mean everything. Only Lecomte and Freeman have made more than 30 threes this season. TCU is in a similar situation with Alex Robinson, Jaylen Fisher, Desmond Bane and Brandon Parrish.

If someone like Robinson or Fisher finds success on the offensive end, that would be a huge bonus for TCU, but if the Frogs think they can win down low through Brodziansky as has been the case in recent games, it may be a little more difficult than projected. This isn't a great matchup for the Horned Frogs, but this is their chance to knock off a top team. Baylor isn't unstoppable, especially if their bigs can be matched, so a loss for them wouldn't be surprising, either.

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