Special to RattleandHumSports.com
TCU takes to the floor for the final time prior to its Holiday Break on Saturday when it travels to Houston to face longtime rival Rice. Tip-off between the Horned Frogs and Owls is set for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Frogs look to build momentum heading into the break in their final non-conference road game. The squad posted a 68-57 home win over Southern on Tuesday to snap a two-game skid. Following Saturday’s matchup, only one more home game remains before the start of TCU’s Big 12 schedule on Jan. 5.
TCU’s coaching staff has strong ties to Rice. Head coach Trent Johnson served as an Owls assistant for four years (1992-96), while assistant coach Brent Scott was a standout forward (1989-93) who later coached for one season at his alma mater in 2007-08. As a player, Scott was a three-time All-Southwest Conference selection who finished his career as the Owls’ all-time leading scorer (1,906 points) and rebounder (1,049 boards), totals that today rank No. 2 in the school’s records.
The meeting between TCU and Rice marks the 177th game in the all-time series between the schools, which makes it the second-longest series for TCU behind only its 187 matchups vs. SMU. The teams will play for the third consecutive season.
Saturday’s contest will be TCU’s final non-televised game of the regular season. Brian Estridge (pxp) and John Denton (analyst) will handle the TCU-IMG Sports Network radio broadcast, which will air live in Metroplex on both 1460 AM KCLE and 88.7 FM KTCU as well as nationally on Sirius 137 and XM 192. Live stats will be available for free via GameTracker at GoFrogs.com, while a live stream of the radio broadcast will be offered online for FrogVision subscribers.
FROG QUICK NOTES
* Rice is the fifth and final Conference USA opponent on TCU’s 2012-13 schedule. The Frogs are 1-3 so far against the league with a win against UAB and setbacks to SMU, Houston and Tulsa.
* Trent Johnson is 7-5 in his career against the Owls, including 6-4 with Nevada and 1-1 with LSU.
* TCU ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 6 in the NCAA in scoring defense (52.9 ppg). The squad is No. 31 in the NCAA in overall field-goal defense (37.6%) and No. 28 in 3-point field goal defense (27.8%).
* TCU’s scoring defense average is nearly 20 points fewer than last season’s final figure (72.1 ppg).
* TCU has allowed 50 points or fewer five times in its 11 games. Its five previous efforts allowing 50 or fewer stretched back over 127 games to 2008.
* TCU players own the top individual performances in the Big 12 this season for both scoring (Kyan Anderson, 35 vs. UAB) and rebounding (Adrick McKinney, 20 vs. Houston).
* TCU has erased second-half deficits in five of its seven victories.
* TCU has outshot eight of 11 opponents this season. The Frogs are 7-1 in such contests.
* TCU is 4-0 this season when leading at the half and 4-1 when winning the rebounding battle.
* Kyan Anderson ranks among the Big 12 leaders in 3-point percentage (No. 4), steals (No. 7), assists (No. 8), assist/turnover ratio (No. 10), scoring (No. 13) and 3-pointers (No. 12).
* Garlon Green is 5-of-9 on 3-pointers in the last two games after starting the season 0-for-5 in the first nine contests.
* Green is 65 points shy of becoming the 31st member of TCU’s 1,000-point club.
* Adrick McKinney has led TCU in rebounding each of the last five games. He had paced the squad on the glass only five times in 37 career games entering the current stretch.
Rice, 3-7 on the season, enters Saturday’s matchup fresh off a home overtime victory Wednesday over Chicago State (63-60). The squad is 3-3 at home with other wins over St. Edward’s (75-63) and Houston Baptist (61-53).
Fifth-year head coach Ben Braun leads an Owls squad that posted a 19-16 overall record in 2011-12 and eighth-place finish in Conference USA with an 8-8 league mark. Two starters from last season’s team returned.
Senior guard Tamir Jackson serves as the team’s leader in scoring (17.3 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg) and assists (2.1 apg), while junior guard Austin Ramljak is another of the team’s outside threats (21 3-pointers). Sophomore guard Julian DeBose tops the squad in blocked shots (0.6 bpg) and is second in scoring (9.7 ppg).
The Owls own a season scoring average of 59.1 ppg and have been outscored on the year by 7.5 ppg. Rice has lost the rebounding battle on the season by an average of 10.4 rpg.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Rice and TCU have met 176 previous times, with the Owls owning a slim 90-86 advantage, including a 53-33 edge in games played in Houston. TCU has won three of the last five meetings and TCU is 9-6 since the breakup of the Southwest Conference in 1996.