This is the first (re)installment of Know the Foe on VTF. Know the Foe is a feature that will help us get to know who exactly we're playing. I'll mostly do these for opponents we haven't played before, specifically OOC games, or for big events. (Eg. Conference tournaments, bowl games, NCAA tournament, etc.)
It's called "March Madness" for a reason; and on the first day of the Mountain West Conference Tournament we were treated to a perfect example. Yesterday the 9th seeded TCU Horned Frogs "upset" the 8th seeded Wyoming Cowboys in the play-in game of the MWC tourney. But can we really call this an upset? TCU was favored by 1 point despite being the lower seed. According to Greg Wrubell's twitter this is the fourth straight year the 9 seed, with a regular season conference win total of one or less has beat the 8 seed. In fact, the 9 seeds have a winning record against 8 seeds in the tournament at 4-2. So should this be considered an upset? I don't know, but does it really matter? March Madness is upon us baby! And the BYU Cougars kick it off in Sin City today against the TCU Horned Frogs.
So who exactly is TCU this year? For starters, they're just not that good, at least since Ronnie Moss was suspended. There's a reason why they were the 9 seed with only one conference win. Before yesterday they had lost 13 in a row and 17 of their past 18! Their last win, ironically enough, was over Wyoming on January 12th. That's their only win in 2011 with their last win before that on December 28th over Chicago State.
But why do they suck so much? Well first of all they lost their best player, Ronnie Moss, at the end of January. He was their top scorer and best defender and his loss has definitely affected the team. Also, let's look at some of the numbers. TCU has a negative differential at -2.8. They score 67.6 ppg and give up 70.4. They also don't shoot the ball very well at a 43.6% clip.
Who should we look out for? There are a few players to watch out for throughout the game; although one less since Ronnie Moss was suspended in late January. Let's start with the most obvious, point guard Hank Thorns. Thorns leads the league in assists per game, at 7.1, while still pitching in 10.5 points per game. He's also been playing pretty well lately, averaging 12.9 points and 8.8 assists. He has two double-doubles in that span and one of the two times he scored below 10 he had 12 assists (against BYU).
Another guy to watch out for is J.R. Cadot who, as a guard, leads TCU in rebounds as a guard. Against BYU he averages 13 points, 5 above his average, and 6 rebounds which is his average. He only has two single digit games since the beginning of February, 2 points against UNLV and 1 against UNM. Cadot also shoots an amazing 67.1% from the field and 37.5% from three, but only 54.2% from the line.
Other facts of note: BYU has beaten TCU in 15 straight games! And in 12 of those 15 we beat them by 10 or more points. BYU and TCU have met in two previous MWC quarterfinal games (or first round games as I prefer). The first, in 2007, BYU won 77-64 and the second, just last year, BYU beat the Horned Frogs by a margin of 95-85 with Jimmer Fredette recording 45 points. This will almost certainly be the last time we'll play TCU in basketball.
Overall this should be a game that we win. TCU will have something to play for and could be dangerous but if the team stays on track and focused they should get the W.