Big 12 Semifinal Game: #22 TCU Horned Frogs vs #7 Texas Longhorns (3/10 @ 9:30 PM EST)
Spread: Texas -2.5
Money Line: TCU +120 / Texas -140
Overview and Betting Info
The #22 TCU Horned Frogs (21-11) will be taking on the #7 Texas Longhorns (24-8) in the Big 12 semifinals on Friday night. These two teams split their regular season series with the home team winning each game by less than five points. Texas is the Big 12 two-seed while TCU comes in as the sixth seed.
TCU is 16-15-1 against the spread this season but have covered just three of their last ten games. They’ve gone over the total 16 times but have gone under in seven of their last ten.
Texas is 15-17 versus the spread and have covered four of their last five games. Texas has gone over the total 16 times but have been under in four of their last five.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU capped an impressive end to its season with a win against Texas. However, they dropped to the sixth seed after an embarrassing blowout loss to Oklahoma. The loss didn’t affect them, as they surprised many by crushing #12 Kansas State in their quarterfinal matchup. The Frogs have been well balanced all season, ranking in the top four in the Big 12 in scoring (75.7 PPG), opponent scoring (68.0 PPG), field goal percentage (46.0%), offensive rebounds (11.4 ORPG), total rebounds (35.7 RPG), assists (16.9 APG), steals (8.3 SPG), and blocks (4.7 BPG). Their biggest weakness has been shooting the three, as they are dead last in the conference with a 30.2% three-point percentage. TCU has won all four neutral court games, including impressive wins over KSU and Iowa.
The Frogs have been led by the play of Mike Miles Jr (17.4 PPG, 1.2 SPG), Damion Baugh (12.8 PPG, 5.9, 1.9 SPG), and Emanuel Miller (12.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG). Miles is one of the top players in the Big 12, ranking third in scoring. He’s making 50% of his shots from the field and over 40% of his threes in five of his last six games. He had the worst game of his college career against Texas last week, going 0-8 from the field and fouling out. He bounced back to score 22 against KSU last night, so expect a better effort on Friday night. Baugh is third in the conference in assists and fifth in steals. He’s a talented point guard, but his shooting can be extremely streaky. He is making just 37% of his shots over his last five games, but had his best performance against Texas by making 58.3% of his shots and adding 24 points, nine assists, and three steals. Miller is fifth in the conference in field goal percentage (51.9%) and was incredible in both games against Texas, scoring over 20 points in each. He’s been a rebounding machine of later, averaging 8.4 over his last five games (including 10 against Texas).
TCU’s stars are supported by Chuck O’Bannon Jr (7.4 PPG), Micah Peavy (7.3 PPG, 1.1 SPG), and Eddi Lampkin Jr (6.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG). O’Bannon has been one of their better shooters and had 22 points and seven rebounds in their quarterfinal game. He can be streaky, but he’s good about limiting his shots when he isn’t feeling it. He’s our top player to watch, as when O’Bannon gets hot, it’s hard to beat the Frogs. Peavy has struggled with his shot this season (38.4% FG), but he is a solid defender and has been improving his shot selection in the second half of the season. While he has just four points in their quarterfinal game, he also added two blocks and three steals. Lampkin was their top center and second-leading rebounder but left the teams after their last Texas game. That means you can expect more time for O’Bannon and JaKobe Coles (8.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG). Cole has made over 40% of his shots in each of their last six games and has been adding steals to go along with it.
Texas closed its season by playing four ranked teams in a row. They lost to Baylor and TCU on the road but beat Kansas and Iowa State at home. They followed up that run with a blowout of Oklahoma State in their Thursday quarterfinal. The Longhorns’ success has come from their offense which leads the Big 12 in scoring (78.3 PPG), field goal percentage (46.9%), and turnovers (11.8 TO/G). They also rank in the top five in assists (16.3 APG) and three-point percentage (34.5%). Texas hasn’t been overwhelming on defense but is playing well enough to get wins. They rank fifth in opponent scoring (68.0 PPG), sixth in field goal percentage (42.3%), eighth in three-point percentage (32.7%), and seventh in rebounds (34.1 RPG). They generate turnovers, ranking fourth in steals (8.0 SPG) and blocks (3.7 BPG). The Longhorns have gone 5-5 against ranked opponents this season.
Texas is led by Marcus Carr (16.1 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.7 SPG) and Sir’Jabari Rice (12.7 PPG). Carr is among the Big 12’s elite players, ranking fifth in scoring and seventh in steals. While he dominated scoring for most of the season, his numbers have been dropping alarmingly. Over his last six games, he is making 29% of his shots (20.5% from three) and averaging 11.3 points. Carr was held under 12 points and a 32% shooting percentage in both games against TCU this season. One reason for his scoring decline can be attributed to the increased usage of Rice. He came off the bench for most of the season, but Texas turned him loose down the stretch. He’s making 46.2% of his shots (37.5% from three) on the season. Ricee only made 30% of his shots in their quarterfinal win but finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Texas has plenty of support for its stars, including Timmy Allen (10.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG), Tyrese Hunter (10.5 PPG), and Dylan Disu (7.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.4 BPG). Allen is a physical forward that has been a solid source of points and rebounds, but he’s missed the last week with a leg injury and is questionable for Friday’s semifinal. He was great in their lone win against TCU, so his status is something we are tracking closely. Hunter has become one of the best three-point shooters in the conference, thanks to making 52% of his attempts and averaging 14.8 points over their last five games. He’s made up for Carr’s drop in production and was excellent in their previous game against TCU. Disu ranks fourth in the Big 12 in field goal percentage (58.9%) and second in blocks. He is coming off an excellent quarterfinal game where he finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and a block. Disu has six blocks between their two games against TCU this season.
Free Pick: TCU +2.5
We expect this to be the third close game between these two teams, so we are taking the points here. It’s not many, but considering their first two games were decided by a total of six points, we think it’s worth taking.
Texas has been excellent this season, but we have concerns about Carr. Hunter has been able to cover for it, but it’s hard to believe that will continue indefinitely. With TCU’s guards playing aggressive defense, we expect them to give Carr and Hunter problems and force them to rely on Disu to score with Allen out. That’s what TCU wants, as their lack of three-point shooting is a concern. The Frogs defend the three well, making opponents go inside where TCU is strongest. We saw them crush a top-12 team in KSU yesterday, and that should give them plenty of momentum coming into tonight.
Before placing your bet, do check on Timmy Allen’s status. We expect them to site him to prep for the Big Dance, but he’ll likely be limited even if he does play. However, if he’s healthier than they’ve let on, that could be a problem for the Frogs.
Either way, we’re taking the points to hop on the TCU bandwagon on Friday.