Top-50 Team Countdown: #31.TCU Horned Frogs
31.TCU Horned Frogs
In year two of the Jamie Dixon era at TCU, the Horned Frogs made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over 20 years. After doing that the Horned Frogs lose some good pieces to their team but will have a talented roster that should allow them to compete atop the Big 12. The Horned Frogs return the guard trio of Desmond Bane, Jaylen Fisher, and Alex Robinson, which will be one of the better ones in the Big 12 but the main questions are up front, where the Horned Frogs lack in experience.
The Horned Frogs will get back All-Big 12 level guard Jaylen Fisher, who helped TCU get off to a great 13-4 start that led them to the tournament. Fisher is an elite level point guard, having the ability to score while having an elite ability to get other players involved. He’ll be joined in the backcourt with fellow point guard Alex Robinson, who took over the Horned Frogs starting point guard duties and flourished. He too is an elite level passer, however, he’s not as much as an offensive weapon shooting the ball. Desmond Bane will start at the wing position, which is in large part due to his ability to knock down threes. Bane shot the ball at a 46 percent rate, which led the Big 12. The Horned Frogs also bring back guard Shawn Olden, who came off the bench last season and was a good three-point shooter. The Horned Frogs redshirted four-star guard RJ Nembhard last year but this year he will get minutes as he has been through the system. Kendric Davis and Kaden Archie are both freshmen who will look to get minutes this season for the Horned Frogs. This backcourt should be one of the best offensive backcourts in the country this season, as they have elite shooting and elite passing.
The Horned Frogs have two returning veterans in Kouat Noi and JD Miller but everyone else is new to the program and will have to adjust early on. The Horned Frogs best offensive weapon at forward is stretch four Kouat Noi, who was an elite shooter from beyond the arc last year for the Horned Frogs. JD Miller is one of the more experienced players on TCU, which should allow him to start at the beginning of the season. The Horned Frogs add JUCO star Yuat Alok, who is a versatile player, who can shoot threes and play well inside. Alok should at some point move into the starting lineup in part due to his ability to provide a defensive presence inside. Kevin Samuel and Russell Barlow are two freshmen who add some size and will both get minutes this season.
The Horned Frogs have once again scheduled pretty easily in non-conference play, however, playing in the Big 12 will provide the Horned Frogs with chances to get quality wins needed to get a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Horned Frogs start the season with six buy games before they head across the city to play at SMU. They will also play USC in Los Angeles for the Basketball Hall of Fame classic before they head to the Diamond Head Classic. The Diamond Head Classic field is pretty weak, so the Horned Frogs should be able to win the event. The Horned Frogs start Big 12 play on January 5th against Baylor and will end the season March 9th at Texas. The Horned Frogs will also play Florida at home in the SEC/ Big 12 Challenge on January 26th. The Big 12 Tournament runs March 13th-16th, with the NCAA Tournament starting on March 19th if the Horned Frogs make it there.
What to expect this season
The Horned Frogs should once again be one of the better teams in the Big 12 this season, which is in large part due to their offensive abilities. The Horned Frogs have three players who shot better than 40 percent from three last season, which means the Horned Frogs should be able to stretch the floor well. The real key for TCU will come in closing out games, as they lost 10 games by seven points or less last year, however, with more experience the Horned Frogs should be able to win a few more of those games. I look for the Horned Frogs to once again finish the regular season around the middle of the pack of the Big 12, which will get them back into the NCAA Tournament and will give them a chance to pull off an early upset to get to the Sweet 16.
PG: Jaylen Fisher
SG: Alex Robinson
SF: Desmond Bane
PF: Kouat Noi
C: JD Miller
Key Reserves: RJ Nembhard, Kendric Davis, Shawn Olden, Kaden Archie, Yuat Alok, Kevin Samuel, Russell Barlow
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