Here is everything you need to know about Texas and TCU in our Longhorns vs. Horned Frogs Big 12 Tournament men’s basketball preview.
Game 7: No. 2 Texas (24-8) vs. No. 6 TCU (21-11), 8:30 p.m. (or 30 minutes following Game 6), ESPN 2
Season series (tied 1-1): Texas def. TCU, 79-75, in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 11; TCU def. Texas, 75-73, in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 1.
Winner gets: a berth in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship Game.
Projected starting lineups
Texas: G Marcus Carr, G Tyrese Hunter, G Sir’Jabari Rice, F Dylan Disu, F Dillon Mitchell.
TCU: G Mike Miles Jr., G Damion Baugh, F Chuck O’Bannon, F Emanuel Miller, F Xavier Cork.
Player to watch
F Dylan Disu: If forward Timmy Allen is unable to play then Disu the player to watch inside. His play has been on an ascent the past few weeks as he’s emerged as a more efficient and consistent scorer. He had 11 points and 11 rebounds against Oklahoma State on Thursday night. But in his last six games he’s averaged 11.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Disu never really got on track last season due to a knee injury that he had to rehabilitate the summer before. This season he’s avoided injury and been a consistent contributor who is seeing his numbers go up at the right time of the year.
G Chuck O’Bannon
TCU head coach Jamie Dixon called O’Bannon “Mr. Postseason” after his 22-point performance against Kansas State on Thursday night. That game included O’Bannon connecting on four 3-pointers. O’Bannon has been up and down all season, but Dixon credited the senior for doing everything that was asked of him, whether it was start or come off the bench, whether it was to pour in points or play good defense. O’Bannon has done it to the best of his ability. And entering this game TCU will likely need every bit of scoring and rebounding it can get from one of its most experienced players.
The Longhorns went through a coaching change at mid-season when Texas fired Chris Beard after he was charged with domestic assault. The charges were dropped, but by then Rodney Terry was the interim head coach and had the Longhorns in the race for the Big 12 regular-season title. At one point, Texas won five of six in January. The Longhorns ended the season with a 4-4 record in their final eight games, but the wins included victories over then-ranked Iowa State and No. 3 Kansas.
The injury to Allen adds some complexity to whether Texas can win the Big 12 Tournament. But, after one game, sliding guard Sir’Jabari Rice into the starting lineup seems to be the right choice. Plus, the improved play of Disu continued with a double-double.
The Horned Frogs have never had expectations like they had this season, and they managed them well considering they finished .500 in Big 12 play. TCU scored some big wins, including a 23-point blowout of Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse. TCU also absorbed some big losses, including a four-game losing streak after losing Miles to injury. That included three straight losses to ranked teams. The Horned Frogs won three of their last five entering the Big 12 Tournament, and last season they beat Texas in the quarterfinals.
The Horned Frogs carried that momentum into the Kansas State win, where they drained 11 3-pointers, forced 20 turnovers and limited Markquis Nowell’s ability to create in the paint to secure the quarterfinal victory.
TCU 78, Texas 76. Both games have been close this season. I suspect that Allen won’t play, and that will give the Horned Frogs a bit of an advantage inside. TCU won’t shoot the 3-pointer the way it did on Thursday, but the other positives should carry over and take the Horned Frogs to their first Big 12 Tournament championship game.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.