A pair of Big 12 Conference rivals are set to square off in the second semifinal of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The TCU Horned Frogs just missed out on the NCAA Tournament this season, and were given a number one seed in the NIT. Texas was a few wins short of reaching the Big Dance, but have made the most of their NIT bid with a number two seed. TCU and Texas have already met twice this season, and the Horned Frogs won both of those regular season matchups.
TCU has been very impressive since the NIT began, and they haven’t really been challenged in any of their first three wins. The Horned Frogs began the tournament with a 13 point win over Sam Houston State, and have also recorded double-digit wins over Nebraska and Creighton. TCU would love to cap off a terrific season with an NIT Championship. Texas has had to sweat out a few games in this tournament, but have found just enough offense to stay alive. The Longhorns began their run with a six point win over San Diego State, and then survived an overtime thriller against Xavier. Texas reached the NIT Final Four with a 13 point win over Colorado. The Texas Longhorns are +1.0 point underdogs in this game.
Texas Defense Getting It Done
The Texas Longhorns have struggled to score points all season long, but their defense has carried them. Texas is allowing just 67.1 points per game this season, and they were terrific on that end of the floor against Colorado. The Longhorns try to force steals with their pressure defense, and they need the easy buckets to help their offense. Texas has played well against TCU in their two losses, but their offense hasn’t showed up.
Guard Kerwin Roach II is the main offensive weapon for the Longhorns this season, and he is trying to cap off a terrific career at Texas. Roach leads the team with 14.8 points per game, and is shooting 36 percent from deep. Forward Dylan Osetkowski has chipped in with 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season, and has been playing well in this tournament. The Texas defense always shows up, but they will need their stars to provide scoring to win this game.
TCU Has Plenty of Balance
TCU has five different players averaging double-figures this season, and they are a pretty good offensive team. Guard Desmond Bane leads the team with 15.3 points per game, but he gets plenty of support from his teammates. Point guard Alex Robinson is the player that makes the Horned Frogs go on offense, and is dishing out more than 7.0 assists per game. It’s hard to know who will step up for TCU each game, but someone always does.
The Horned Frogs have struggled on defense for much of the season, but that hasn’t been the case in their first two wins over Texas. TCU has held the Longhorns to just 58.5 points per game in their first two meetings, and will look to do the same in this one. The Horned Frogs will need to take care of the ball to avoid careless mistakes and run outs for the Longhorns.
Texas Moves On To Final
The old adage says that it is tough to beat the same team three times, and that will be the case in this one. Texas and TCU are extremely familiar with each other, and this should be a close game throughout. TCU has had a terrific season up to this point, but their run is going to end in this game. Look for Texas to get stops and find just enough offense to sneak past their conference rival in this game. Bet the Texas Longhorns +1.0 over the TCU Horned Frogs in the NIT Semifinals.