Oklahoma vs. TCU Preview: Sooners have a wounded animal on their hands

The Oklahoma Sooners look to pick up their fifth victory against a ranked team this season when the No. 16 TCU Horned Frogs come to the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday. The Frogs are a talented, well-coached team that is in desperate need of a win, so the Sooners will need to do quite a bit to avoid an upset.

No. 9 Oklahoma (13-2, 3-1) vs. No. 16 TCU (13-3, 1-3): 12 p.m. CT

TV: ESPNU

Commentary: Lowell Galindo, Reid Gettys and Kris Budden

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)

Line: Oklahoma -6 (as of 8:10 a.m. CT)

About TCU

  • After entering Big 12 play with a 12-0 record, the Horned Frogs have stumbled a bit in conference play. Since OU’s 90-89 win in the last meeting, TCU has dropped games to Kansas (88-84) and Texas (99-98 in 2OT). TCU’s lone conference win against Baylor was also hotly contested (81-78 in OT), so the Frogs are battle-tested to say the least.
  • TCU is among the nation’s best in assists (4th, 19.9), assist/turnover ratio (9th, 1.58), field goal percentage (16th, 50.3), rebounding margin (25th, +7.4), scoring (10th, 87.6) and 3-point percentage (9th, 41.4).
  • Oklahoma leads the all-time series 20-4. The Sooners have never lost to TCU in Norman, carrying a 9-0 advantage.
  • Kenrich Williams leads the team in both scoring (15.3) and rebounding (9.3) and is coming off of a fantastic performance. In Wednesday’s 2OT loss in Austin, Williams was 7-11 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points.

3 Things

  • Trae Young vs. Aggressive Defense – Big 12 teams have defending Young pretty well in the first halves of games, but he (and Lon Kruger) have always found a way to adapt and put him in a position to get into a groove later on. Whether that’s finding a way to get him into the lane or occasionally moving him off the ball, those adjustments have typically worked in Oklahoma’s favor.
  • Manek’s Confidence – West Virginia played Brady Manek quite aggressively in Morgantown and sort of put him into a shell. He didn’t quite come out of that shell against Texas Tech on Tuesday, as he always seemed a bit hesitant when shooting threes. When Manek utilizes that quick release of his and gets into a rhythm, Oklahoma becomes damn near impossible to stop. We’ll see if he can get back on the right track against the Frogs, who held him to two points on 1-4 shooting in the last meeting.
  • Improved D – Oklahoma put together its best defensive performance of the season on Tuesday, holding a very solid Texas Tech team to 65 points and forcing 11 first-half turnovers to keep themselves in the game despite cold shooting. If OU can replicated the intensity on that end it’ll go a long way in potentially avoiding an upset.

Prediction

A wounded animal is a dangerous animal. TCU isn’t on the verge of death, but they’ll be in quite a hole if they lose today and drop to 1-4 in conference play. A .500 conference record would most likely be enough to get them to the Big Dance for the first time since 1998 (when Billy Tubbs was their coach). However, they’ll have to scratch and claw in an extremely tough conference in order to reach that goal, and that’s especially true if they drop another one today. This is a very well-coached team with a considerable amount of talent and its back against the wall, so the Sooners have a tall task today. I think playing at home will put the Sooners over the top in the end, but I would definitely take the Frogs to cover today.

Oklahoma 86, TCU 84

Source: Crimson and Cream Machine

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