College Basketball Pick
At a time, TCU was looking close to a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but then the Big 12 happened. The Horned Frogs only had one loss in non-Conference play, but haven’t been able to get that one big win in the Conference which is why they’ve had these long losing streaks throughout the season. Having to travel to Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas in three of Four Games isn’t fun, but someone has to do it. To get back on the winning side, the Frogs get to face a West Virginia team that has had some issues closing out Games.
The first time these teams played, the Mountaineers led almost the entire way, but TCU battled to tie the Game with about 10 minutes to go. But instead of putting its foot on the pedal, the Frogs didn’t have enough to win in Morgantown. And that’s kind of been the case in Fort Worth too, at least against good teams. TCU failed to get home wins against OK State, Kansas and Baylor with this being their last chance to get one of those elite wins. Unfortunately, West Virginia can play its brand of basketball anywhere as seen in double-digit road wins at OK State, Iowa State and Oklahoma.
In the first meeting, TCU turned it over 18 times with guards Alex Robinson and Jaylen Fisher combining for 11 of those. The Frogs weren’t terrible offensively, but no one really stood out. Robinson and Vlad Broziansky combined for 31 points, but 13 of them come from the charity stripe. On the other side, Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles hit three threes each, while Esa Ahmad did what he wanted en route to 16 points. Ahmad missed Monday’s Game due to back spasms, so his status should be monitored ahead of time.
To win this Game, TCU has to do a few different things better and that’s mainly turning the ball over less. The Frogs are one of the worst in the Conference at giving the ball away and that could easily be a problem in the rematch. Robinson and Fisher can be good, but they combine for 5.6 turnovers per Game, which has cost the team a couple of late wins. If that’s the case, it’ll be a long Game, even at home. In addition, someone else will need to step up offensively. Brodziansky had some success last Game, but Kenrich Williams didn’t do much going 3-of-14 from the field matched against the length of Ahmad and Nathan Adrian most of the Game. If those turnovers continue and TCU can’t get more production from role players, then this could be yet another loss and the Horned Frogs may lose their chance at an NCAA Tournament bid.
But if those turnovers don’t come, things could change just like that. West Virginia doesn’t have the best half cOurt offense, with a lot of its points coming in transition. However, as seen last meeting between these teams, the quickness of Carter, Miles and Tarik Phillip was a major difference. Even then, the Mountaineers still have the versatile Adrian and Ahmad to worry about.
WVU swept this series last season for a reason as it’s not a great matchup for the Horned Frogs. JD Miller barely played in that first Game for TCU, but he’s been a nice stretch-Four over the last few weeks and that could in turn open up the cOurt for Robinson or Williams to work. But that’s easier said than done, especially for a team that has turnover issues going against a team that’s the best in the country at forcing them.
Our pick – WVA by 8