Preview: Old MWC foes BYU and TCU face off in the Big 12

BYU and TCU will face each other in the Marriott Center for the first time since 2011.

Trevin Knell kicks out to a wide-open Dallin Hall
Trevin Knell kicks out to a wide-open Dallin Hall / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Pop quiz! In honor of BYU's upcoming matchup with the Texas Christian Horned Frogs, when was the last time BYU and TCU faced off in basketball? I'll give you some time to think about it, don't rush it...

...Ok, do you have your final answer? If your answer was 13 years ago in 2011, you are correct! If you were wrong, you may hang your head in shame and exit to your left--BYU basketball is about winning this season, in case you didn't get the memo.

The last time these teams met in Provo was as Mountain West Conference foes in Jimmer's Player of the Year season. The 9th-ranked Cougars dominated from the jump and beat TCU 83-67 on Jimmer's 21 points and 5 rebounds. This would be a pretty forgettable game 13 years later, if not for this perfect Jimmer-range jumper that put the Cougars up 25-7.

This season, a matchup between the Cougars and Horned Frogs should be much more competitive, as both teams are in the upper half of the Big 12 conference standings. BYU and TCU have the top 2 offenses in their conference this season, averaging 75.8 and 75.5 points per game, respectively.

While these teams have the best offenses in league play, they have both struggled defensively in league play, with TCU sitting at 11th and BYU at 12th, ahead only Oklahoma State and West Virginia. With high-powered offenses and less-than-stellar defenses, Saturday's game may look like a firework duel: all offense, no defense. In other words, expect a shootout.

TCU has had a good season under head coach Jamie Dixon, currently holding a 19-9 (8-7 Big 12) record, the Horned Frogs are currently 6th in the Big 12 standings--just behind BYU. TCU's production has been steady this year, winning most of the games they should, while stealing a few huge games. TCU's best wins on the year have been a 105-102 overtime thriller in Waco and a one-point W over the top-ranked Houston Cougars. On top of that, TCU has some very near upsets on their resume, with a one-point loss to Iowa State and a two-point loss in Allen Fieldhouse against Kansas (which isn't an easy place to play, despite BYU's perfect record in that venue).

Many BYU fans are resting easy with this game looming, due to the game being played in Provo, which Seth Greenberg and Jay Bilas dubbed "the toughest road environment in the Big 12." Not to be a buzzkill, but TCU is the second-best road team in the Big 12, behind only the Houston Cougars. Winning on the road has been especially challenging this season across college hoops, and the Big 12 is no exception. TCU and Houston are the only two teams that have a road record above .500 in the conference. The bottom line is that beating TCU ain't going to be a walk in the park. Expect a tough battle.

Did you know Horned Frogs shoot blood out of their eyes? That is a fact. Make sure to keep that in mind when filling out your mascot-based brackets. Even though that fact won't be relevant in this weekend's game, I think that's something to look out for. If BYU starts to pull ahead, be on the lookout for defense mechanisms coming into play.

You can watch Saturday's game on ESPN+ or listen via KSL NewsRadio at 7:00 PM MST.

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