No. 10 TCU puts undefeated season on line vs. No. 12 Oklahoma

Two of the top players and best teams in the nation will be in action when No. 10 and undefeated TCU hosts No. 12 Oklahoma on Saturday at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas in their respective Big 12 Conference openers.

TCU leading scorer and rebounder Kenrich Williams is on track to play Saturday after discomfort in his knee caused him to miss the Horned Frogs’ win over William & Mary on Dec. 22. Williams said he felt pain in his knee during a shootaround before the game, and a subsequent MRI and an examination revealed a bone bruise.

Williams practiced Tuesday and Wednesday, after which TCU coach Jamie Dixon said the team was erring on the side of caution with Williams in the run-up to the demands of the conference season.

“It’s his call if he needs to sit out practice,” Dixon said. “If he needs to slow it down, he can always do it on his own.”

Williams led the Big 12 with 19 double-doubles last season and recorded six in the Horned Frogs’ 12-0 start to 2017-18. He ended last season with double-doubles in all five of TCU’s NIT victories, including the second triple-double in TCU history during a quarterfinal win against Richmond.

This season, the 6-foot-7 senior guard leads the Horned Frogs in scoring (14.5 points), rebounding (9.5) and minutes (32.9). He is shooting 50 percent on 3-pointers and 52.7 percent overall.

“We were just being cautious with it,” Dixon said. “He hadn’t had any problems with it at all, then all of a sudden, it was stiff the day before the game and pain on the day of.”

The Horned Frogs are one of three remaining undefeated teams in the country, alongside No. 1 Villanova and No. 3 Arizona State, and have won a program-best 17 consecutive games, the longest winning streak in the NCAA.

TCU’s No. 10 ranking in the AP Top 25 is the highest in school history, and the Horned Frogs’ 12-0 start to the season is second-best behind the 13-0 start to the 2014-15 season.

The Horned Frogs will be hard pressed to expand on those marks, as Oklahoma — and star freshman guard Trae Young — heads to Cow Town on an eight-game winning streak. The Sooners (10-1) are the top offensive team in the Big 12, scoring 95.1 points per game — nearly eight more than second-place TCU (87.5).

Oklahoma waylaid Northwestern 104-78 in its most recent game victory on Dec. 22.

Young, who leads the nation in points (28.7) and assists (10.4), was named Big 12 player of the week on Wednesday after averaging 28.5 points and 17 assists in OU’s two most recent wins. His 22 assists against Northwestern State tied the NCAA record.

Oklahoma’s biggest nonconference win was a 91-83 win at No. 3 Wichita State on Dec. 16.

“We feel good about where we’re at, and yet we know we’ve got to keep working at it,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “This game will have two teams playing with a lot of confidence, and we’ve got to go in there and do what we do every day in practice. There are lot of good teams in the Big 12 and we know how tough every night is going to be.”

Oklahoma leads the all-time series 17-4, including a 6-2 lead in games in Fort Worth. But TCU went 2-1 against the Sooners last season, with wins coming in Fort Worth, 60-57, and Kansas City in the Big 12 tournament, 82-63.

It is the first time a ranked TCU team has faced a ranked opponent at home since Feb. 21, 1998, when No. 15 TCU defeated No. 11 New Mexico 95-64. The Horned Frogs are looking for their first win in a Big 12 Conference opener in six attempts.