2018 TCU Horned Frogs Basketball Predictions with Odds and Expert Picks
TCU is the only ranked team in Texas. Just think about that for a second - both how a state that big can be doing so poorly and how unlikely it is that TCU is actually good at basketball. And it's even more striking than it seems - there are 43 teams with more votes in the AP poll than the next-best team in Texas, Texas Tech. Coach Jamie Dixon returned to his alma mater two seasons ago after Pittsburgh made the moronic decision to retire him, and he is on quite the trajectory. In his first season he won the NIT. Last year he made the tournament for the school's first time since 1998. And now he starts the season ranked in the Top 20. The next logical progression is winning a tournament game or two, but he'll be working against history - the last time TCU made the tournament two years in a row was 1953. And at this pace by 2022 or so they'll be cutting down the nets.
TCU Horned Frogs Additions/Losses
You know a team has climbed to a new level when they lose their top two scorers and still are ranked here. Slovakian forward Vladimir Brodziansky was the leading scorer last year and led the team in blocks. Since graduating, he has played professionally in Spain. And forward Kenrich Williams was second in scoring and tops in rebounds. He was undrafted but has wound up with the Pelicans. Egyptian forward Ahmed Hamdy, who averaged 13 minutes a game, also graduated.
The team added a transfer and four recruits. The transfer, New Zealand center Yuat Alok, was the top-rated big man out of the JuCo ranks. He is going to be an important bench piece. Four-star forward Kaden Archie is the cream of the recruit crop, while small point guard Kendric Davis will provide depth. The other two, Kiwi center Angus McWilliam and local center Russell Barlow, are likely to redshirt. The team also gets a lot of help from guys coming off redshirts this year. Center Kevin Samuel is a good bet to start, or at least play significant minutes. Lat Mayen is a well-regarded wing from Australia who could be strong off the bench. And wing R.J. Nembhard saw a little action last year before a knee injury forced him into this redshirt.
TCU Horned Frogs Outlook
This team was a Top 10 squad in offensive efficiency last year, and despite losing their top two scorers there is a chance that they will be better this year. They seem likely to start two point guards, with senior Alex Robinson and junior Jaylen Fisher both likely to be key starters. Robinson is more of a traditional pass-first guard, while Fisher is a scorer. Fisher has missed large chunks of both of his seasons to injury already, so staying healthy will be a priority. But, when healthy, he can have a big impact. Together they could be as good as any backcourt in the Big 12. Desmond Bane is an excellent shooter who will see much more time with Williams gone, and Kouat Noi was strong as a freshman and is a good candidate to break out. And Samuel will likely start at center, with Alok also in the mix. J.D. Samuel is a senior with starting experience off the bench to join what will be a young relief rotation beyond him. Add it all up, and you have a talented squad that is going to score a lot of points. They are relying on young guys to step up, but there is talent and plenty of experience of a sort - either at another school or while redshirting, -- so they should be fine.
They will need to be strong, because they will have to score since the defense is going to be a question mark. Dixon isn't exactly known as a defensive coach at the best of times, and he lost his best defender in Williams. There is not a lot of raw defensive talent here.
TCU Horned Frogs Schedule
The team should head into conference play with a fair number of wins banked, because this is a joke of a nonconference schedule. Their toughest game before Christmas may be against USC, and the Trojans aren't exactly great - at best they are the fifth best team in the PAC-12, and the PAC-12 will never be mistaken for the ACC. Their preseason tournament is the Diamond Head Classic, which could see them face teams as scary as Rhode Island or Bucknell,
and then perhaps UNLV or Colorado. It's silly, really - and the lack of quality games could hurt them if they hit the bubble. Their lone big test comes later in January when they host Florida in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
In conference play they caught a break in that they have to play Kansas only once, and they get them at home. Their toughest test comes in January when they host West Virginia and then visit Kansas State four days later.
TCU Horned Frogs Futures Odds
TCU is ranked 20th in the AP poll, but oddsmakers sure aren't buying into the hype. The Horned Frogs sit at +12500 to win the national title at Bovada , which places their chance behind 41 other teams. That's the biggest discrepancy between rank and futures odds in the top 20.
TCU Horned Frogs Predictions
I like this team more than the oddsmakers do. The defense is a little concerning. But how much do you really need to play if you can score a lot? It might not be enough to win titles, but it can certainly win games. The schedule helps them, and the talent is real. No one is touching Kansas, obviously, but this team is definitely in the mix to finish second, and a top four result in the conference would certainly be a success. I don't think this team will come anywhere close to a title, but at least in relative terms there is some value in this futures price.
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