There will be plenty at stake when the ball goes in the air around 8 p.m. CT inside Schollmaier Arena on Tuesday.
First and foremost, No. 20 TCU (8-0) will look to avoid a sixth-straight loss to SMU (7-2), which, clearly has dominated this Dallas-Fort Worth rivalry as of late.
Also on the line will be the Horned Frogs nation-leading winning streak, which they extended to 13 games with a 92-66 drubbing of Yale on Saturday night in Fort Worth. That win paired with its W over Belmont earlier last week marked the first time TCU had won consecutive games as a ranked team since January 1999.
Then there’s TCU’s place in the polls, which is climbing by the week. The Frogs jumped three spots to 20th on Monday in the latest Associated Press Poll, signifying the program’s highest ranking since 1998.
Should Jamie Dixon’s program get by the Mustangs they’ll head to Los Angeles to take part in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic against Nevada. But back to the matter at hand for quite possibly the hottest team in the country: finding a way to upend their neighbors to the east for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
If recent history suggests anything, we’re in for a grudge match. Outside of SMU’s dominant win last season, in which it defeated TCU 74-59, the Mustangs have edged the Frogs by scores of 75-70, 69-61, 64-61, and 68-62.
TCU’s last win over the Mustangs came eight years ago in Fort Worth.
While SMU might not have the win streak that TCU boasts, it will drive down Interstate-3o feeling confident after a 72-55 victory over then-No. 14 USC on Saturday, which extended its home winning streak to 28 games. Only Cincinnati has a longer home winning streak in the country than SMU at 30 in a row.
Led by guard Shake Milton’s 18.7 points per game, SMU, which received 15 votes in the AP Poll, wants to get the ball and go offensively, and its doing a nice job of it to date tallying 74 ppg. Milton is one of four Mustangs averaging double-digit points.
SMU’s two defeats came by a combined five points in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas Nov. 22 and 24th against Northern Iowa (61-58) and (Western Kentucky (63-61) respectively. Sandwiched between those defeats, though, was a 66-60 upset of then-No. 2 Arizona.
If TCU wants to avoid an upset, at least from a rankings standpoint, it will have to hope it gets more of the same from Kenrich Williams, who has posted four straight double-doubles, including a 12-point, 10-rebound effort against Yale on Saturday.
Frogs leading scorer Vladimir Brodziansky will look to get back on track after he posted a season-low five points on a season-low four shots against Yale.
Note: TCU’s conference opener at home against Oklahoma on Dec. 30 has been set for 1 p.m. on ESPNU.