IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa isn’t a place Texas Christian University looks forward to visiting. The Horned Frogs history in the Hawkeye State is one they’d probably like to forget.
TCU has won one game there…ever. It was a 74-66 victory in Ames against Iowa State in 1982. It lost in its only two trips to Iowa City.
The Horned Frogs will attempt to change their fortunes Sunday (4 p.m. CT, ESPN2) when they face Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the NIT’s second round. They’ve won three of their last four games this season, including a 66-59 home triumph against Fresno State in Wednesday’s opening round.
The Hawkeyes (19-14) knocked off TCU twice during the 1940s. They haven’t faced each other since then.
Sunday will feature a contrast of styles. Iowa wants to push the pace while the Horned Frogs prefer to make it a half-court game.
TCU (20-15) allows just 70.0 points per game and the Hawkeyes yield 77.6. Iowa scores 80.2 with the Horned Frogs are at 73.7.
Longtime Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is in his first season at TCU. His teams are known for their toughness, especially on defense.
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The Horned Frogs had fallen on hard times before Dixon’s arrival. Their six Big 12 games this winter matched their total from the last three campaigns combined.
TCU is averaging 16.4 assists per game, which ranks 22nd nationally. Its 35.6 rebounds a contest are its the most since the 2002-03 season.
The Horned Frogs have shown an ability to win away from home this season. They picked up victories at Texas and Kansas State, who earned an NCAA Tournament bid. They also knocked off Iowa State in Fort Worth.
TCU’s biggest win of the season came against NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed and Big 12 champion Kansas during last week’s conference tournament in Kansas City. It held the Jayhawks to 37.9 field goal shooting in the second half and out-rebounded them, 36-31, for the game.
The upset of Kansas was made more surprising considering how the Horned Frogs entered the postseason. Before beating Oklahoma, 82-63, in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, they had dropped seven games in a row. Six of those setbacks did come against NCAA Tournament teams, however.
Vladimir Brodziansky (6-11, 220), a second-team all-Big 12 pick as well as a member of its all-defensive team, could challenge Iowa’s shorter front line. He averages 2.3 blocks per game, 25th best in the nation. He delivers 13.5 points and 5.6 rebounds overall, numbers that rose and 15.7 and 5.9 in conference play.
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Sophomore guard Alex Robinson (6-1, 180), a Texas A&M transfer, earned a spot on the Big 12’s all-newcomer team. He’s averaged a team-best 5.6 assists to go with 11.2 points. He handed out five or more assists in 23 games this season.
Kenrich Williams (6-7, 210) is listed as a guard but ranks second among league performers with 9.4 rebounds per game to go with 10.8 points. Freshman guard Jaylen Fisher (6-2, 195) contributes 9.9 points and 4.0 assist per outing.
The Hawkeyes tend to wear down teams with their depth. TCU also likes to dip into its bench with nine guys playing at 11.8 points per game.
Freshman Desmond Bane (6-5, 215) averages 6.8 points in 19.5 minutes a game as a reserve. Brandon Parrish’s 42 three-pointers off the bench ranks second on the team to Fisher’s 54.