Pregame: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Saturday Dec 7, 1:00 AM ET, ESPNU
TCU is fresh off an impressive 11-point win over SMU on Tuesday night, and the Frogs are last unbeaten team in the Big 12. Meanwhile, No. 22 Nevada is coming off a devastating overtime loss at Texas Tech, the Wolf Pack’s first defeat of the season. However, this will be both teams’ first matchup against a ranked opponent, and what better venue than the Staples Center in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.
The Horned Frogs took care of SMU at home, 94-83, earlier this week behind Kenrich Williams’ 27 points and 9 rebounds. Sophomore point guard Jaylen Fisher added 11 points and 9 assists himself, and as a team, TCU totaled 21 assists on 26 made field goals. The Frogs average 20 assists per game, which ranks fifth in the country. One cause for concern for Jamie Dixon’s group is the turnover number. The Frogs had to overcome a season-high 20 turnovers to remain unbeaten, a total they will have to bring down to knock off Nevada.
Nevada may have lost its two leading scorers from a year ago, but make no mistake about it, this Wolf Pack team can light up the scoreboard. NC State transfers and brothers, Caleb and Cody Martin, have been a huge reason for that. Caleb Martin averages a team-leading 20 points per game, while Cody averages 15 a game himself. Add in junior forward Jordan Caroline (17 points per game) to the mix, and Nevada has a trio of extremely talented scorers. The Wolf Pack already have a marquee out-of-conference win over Rhode Island, but a win over TCU would significantly improve their resume.
Players to Watch:
TCU: #10 Vladimir Broadziansky
Broadziansky was a preseason All-Big 12 first team selection, and has about as a complete offensive game as you will see from a 6’11” forward. However, in TCU’s most recent game, Broadziansky was held to just 7 points on only 4 shot attempts. A lot of that was due to SMU playing small and double-teaming Broadziansky every time he got the ball in the post. He struggled against SMU’s high-pressure defense, and can expect to see the same thing against Nevada. The Wolf Pack are severely undersized down low, and will not let Broadziansky beat them. It will be up to the Slovakian-born center to handle the double teams and find open shooters on the perimeter.
Nevada: #24 Jordan Caroline
If you don’t watch a lot of mid-major college basketball, Jordan Caroline is the Bonzie Colson of mid-major hoops. At just 6’7”, Caroline will play a lot of minutes at the center position, but can guard 1 through 5. He is outstanding around the rim, but can also step outside, and is a 37% 3-point shooter. On the defensive end, Caroline leads Nevada with 9.4 rebounds per game. However, Texas Tech held Caroline to just 6 points, his first game not scoring in double digits this season. Caroline is going to need to have a bounce-back performance if the Wolf Pack are going to knock off TCU.
TCU 83 – 77 Nevada