Texas Christian University hosts its once and future conference mate Texas Tech tonight. The two schools, slated to be in the Big 12 together next season, are already familiar with each other — they played in the old Southwestern Conference together and have since been regular non-conference opponents. TCU (6-2) is coming off a three-win steak and Texas Tech (4-3) edged by Texas A&M- Corpus Christi. Can Robert Lewandowski and Ty Nurse topple the Horned Frogs at home?
Texas Tech has had a lackluster season under Billy Gillispie so far. Before a much-needed 61-54 victory over honorary Big 12 member Texas A&M-CC, the Raiders lost three games in the Old Spice Classic to Indiana State, DePaul, and Wake Forest. The entire team seems in a funk. But none more so than senior forward Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski, the only senior on the team, has the potential to be a force for the Raiders. At 6'10'' and 256 pounds, he should be doing serious damage against the relatively easy teams that Texas Tech has faced so far. Instead, his points and rebounds are down from last season. If Texas Tech wants to be competitive in the Big 12 (and against future Big 12-ers), they will need much more from their senior leader.
Lewandowski isn't the only Red Raider who could benefit from a little consistency. Junior guard Ty Nurse has been averaging 12.3 points per game, but his production is all over the place, running the gamut from zero to 29 points per game. He will need to be on for Texas Tech to live up to their reputation as a strong shooting team.
It's not all bad news for the Raiders, though. Freshman forward Jordan Tolbert has admirably stepped up to the plate with 11 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Jaye Crockett has also made an impact. Against Texas A&M-CC, he netted 12 points and nine rebounds.
TCU won their last contest against Evansville in overtime. Close games have been a calling card for the Horned Frogs this season — six of their wins have been by five points or less. The positive spin? TCU knows how to close a game. More of a glass-half-empty spin? TCU can't put a game away early. The Horned Frogs are led by a pair of senior guards: Hank Thorns, who averages 12.8 points and 4.8 assists per game, and J.R. Cadot, who averages 11.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. TCU is also forcing an average of 20.8 turnovers per game, something the Raiders should be careful of.
When the two programs met in Lubbock last year, TCU was triumphant. If the Raiders want revenge, Lewandowski and Nurse will need to turn in consistent performances.
The game is at 6:00 CST and will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.