PREVIEW: Men’s basketball heads to Fort Worth on Saturday for showdown with TCU

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Senior forward Xavier Sneed looks down the court for an open play during the men’s basketball game against TCU in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 8. The Wildcats fell to the Horned Frogs in a game that was close until the very end with a final score of 59-57. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State and TCU square off on Saturday evening in Fort Worth, Texas. Both teams currently hold the two longest losing streaks in the Big 12 Conference. Both starving for a victory, Saturday’s game could go a long way in determining how each team finishes out its 2019-20 Big 12 campaign.

Kansas State

The Wildcats have found themselves on a four-game losing skid for the second time this season after a tough 64-59 defeat to Oklahoma State (12-12, 2-9) in Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.

Holding an overall record of 9-15 and 2-9 in the conference, K-State is currently sitting at the bottom of the table in the Big 12 standings, a complete 180 from last year’s Big 12 regular-season title team.

The Wildcats are led by senior forward Xavier Sneed, who averages 14.2 points per game and is fourth in the Big 12 in steals per game with 1.8. Redshirt junior guard Cartier Diarra is not too far behind Sneed, averaging 13.3 points per game and is fourth in the Big 12 in assists per game with 4.6.

K-State’s youth has shown up this season, starting two freshmen against Oklahoma State: DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy. Since the Wildcats are a young team, they have room for growth. The youth form this year can become a strength in the years to come.

In its last outing, K-State was held under 60 points for the fifth time this season after shooting 35.7 percent from the field and just 31.8 percent from behind the arc.

The big story on Tuesday night, though, was how well the Cowboys were able to shoot the ball, shooting 51.2 percent from the field overall. A lot of that percentage was thanks to a spectacular second half of play where Oklahoma State made 13 of their 16 shots. That 81.3 percent from the field was the second-highest field goal percentage allowed in a half in team history and the most since 2009.

TCU

TCU is currently riding a six-game losing streak with their latest loss coming at the hands of No. 24 Texas Tech (16-8, 7-4) on Monday night in Lubbock, Texas, 88-42.

With an overall record of 13-11 and 4-7 in the conference, the Horned Frogs are sitting just behind Texas (14-10, 4-7) in the Big 12 standings at seventh place.

Senior guard Desmond Bane has established himself as one of the top scorers in the Big 12 this season, ranking second in the conference in points per game with 16. He hit this mark last time out against the Wildcats on Jan. 7, notching 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting, including four three-pointers.

That is not all that TCU has to offer though, they also have two talented sophomores as well. Sophomore guard RJ Nembhard currently averages 12 points per game, while center Kevin Samuel averages 10.4 points per game and is first in the Big 12 in blocks per game with 2.8 and third in the conference in field goal percentage, shooting at 65.3 percent on the season.

Last time out the Horned Frogs were dominated by Texas Tech, as the Red Raiders held TCU to just 42 points, the fewest amount of points in a game since 2016 for the Horned Frogs.

In that game, TCU netted its lowest field goal percentage since 2014, shooting just 26.7 percent from the field, while shooting another low from behind the arc, 15.8 percent, their lowest three-point percentage since 2016.

What to watch for

Squaring off against one of the top scorers in the Big 12 is going to be a tough task for the Wildcats. After a tough performance defensively for K-State on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see if the Wildcats will be able to contain Bane.

The defensive performance will be crucial for K-State if they want to come out of Fort Worth on Saturday with a victory.

For TCU, it is almost the exact opposite, with an offense that hasn’t hit 50 points in their past two games, the Horned Frogs have got to get their offense ramped up in this game if they want a chance at winning.

The last time both teams faced each other was on Jan. 7 in Bramlage Coliseum where TCU slipped past the Wildcats 59-57.

Catch all of the action at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+.

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Cameron Bradley
Hey! I’m Cameron Bradley and I am the sports editor for the Collegian! I am a junior from Wichita, Kansas, and I am majoring in journalism. When I’m not working for the Collegian, I’m creating content and putting on broadcasts with K-StateHD.TV. I am also currently a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. I love sports, spending time with friends, family and doing everything that I do for the glory of God!