We sat down with Andrew Felts from Frogs O' War to discuss the upcoming game. Here's the transcript:
1. As of right now, who’s your pick for MVP of the 2015-2016 TCU Horned Frogs?
This is actually a pretty difficult question to answer. As a group, the Frogs' struggles are no secret. Different guys have stepped up over the course of the season, but there hasn't been a ton of consistency throughout the year. If I had to pick an MVP right now, I think I would go with Brandon Parrish. As one of the more experienced Frogs on this roster, Parrish has provided some much-needed leadership for the younger core of players. He is the only Frog to have started in each of TCU's 27 games, and has been a pretty consistent performer for Trent Johnson throughout the year. Parrish won't light up the scoreboard every night, but he is pretty solid on defense and usually does a lot of the little things well that helps keep the team on track. He is going to be a main centerpiece on this TCU roster as a senior next year.
2. TCU has definitely struggled this year. What are the top 3 reasons for their woes?
Without question, the biggest issue this season has been scoring. Trent Johnson brought in a bunch of talented shooters in this year's recruiting class, but it hasn't panned out quite the way anybody imagined it would. No single player has stepped up to help fill the void left by Kyan Anderson and Trey Zeigler, and that has caused major problems on the offensive end.
To build off that point, I think the team struggles from a confidence issue that further compounds the talent gap between TCU and the rest of the Big 12. I don't blame the players at all, but their level of intensity and determination typically diminishes as each game goes on. With the conference as good as it has ever been, losses mount quickly and light at the end of the tunnel seems to get more dim with each passing game.
Finally, and I hate to use this as an excuse, but the team has struggled with injuries throughout the entire season. Kenrich Williams had season-ending knee surgery before the season even began. Chris Washburn missed the first 11 games with a broken bone in hand and hasn't looked the same since. Chauncey Collins battled a quad injury, Malique Trent was suspended three games, and now Karviar Shepherd has missed nearly two weeks with a lingering back issue. With a team as thin as TCU, injuries like these are devastating.
3. Who needs to step up for the Horned Frogs in order to get the win against Texas Tech?
If the Frogs are going to knock off Texas Tech, they're going to need production from the guards. Chauncey Collins and Malique Trent are both going to have to step up in a big way in Lubbock. Trent is the only player on the TCU roster with more than 20 points in a single game, which has happened only once. Both Trent and Collins struggle with turnovers and poor shooting at times, so both of them will have to be on their A-game if TCU is to pull off an unlikely road win.
4. TCU somehow makes the Big Dance. Give me a doomsday scenario of how this happens.
This would definitely be a sign that the end of times are upon us. The only way for TCU to make it to the NCAA Tournament would be to win the Big 12 Tournament. Unless something really crazy happens, TCU will be the 10-seed in Kansas City next month, meaning the Frogs will have to win four games in the span of four days to steal the Big 12's automatic bid. For a program that is a combined 9-53 against conference opponents since joining the league in 2012, winning four games in four days is an impossible task. To further compound that issue, TCU has yet to beat Baylor, Iowa State, or West Virginia as a member of the Big 12. Avoiding all three of those foes in KC would be very difficult.
5. How do you expect the game to turn out?
TCU fought hard with Iowa State in Ames on Saturday night, only falling by nine. I expect the Frogs to build off of that slight uptick in intensity and keep things relatively close in Lubbock. But I think there's no way Texas Tech drops this game at home. The Red Raiders are playing some inspired basketball right now and they look determined to steamroll right into the NCAA Tournament. I think Texas Tech holds off TCU late, 71-59.
A huge thanks to Andrew for this Q&A.