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Scouting With the Mavs: Texas at TCU

A game that lived up to it’s billing

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, TCU beat in-state rival Texas 75-73 in a game that was a near record-setting attendance for TCU. As TCU approaches the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments in the coming weeks, all eyes will be on the Horned Frogs during March Madness.

Damion Baugh was the story of this game, quite literally from the tip. His headiness got TCU a lead that they never lost again after five seconds into the game, and it continued throughout the whole game, with arguably his best and most efficient game of the season: 24 points on 58% shooting, and a perfect eight of eight at the line with nine assists, five rebounds, and three steals. This means that since the last meeting between Texas and TCU (14 games), he is averaging 13.6 points per game, six and a half assists per game, four rebounds per game, one and a half steals per game, and under three turnovers per game on shooting splits of 45/28/74.

Baugh’s feel for the game is outstanding, hence the improved volume of assists per game, good for third in the Big 12. His understanding of the game shows on both ends of the floor, being able to read plays ahead of them happening, and seeing cutters and shooters right as they hit the open spot of the floor. With an improving free throw percentage, which holds a lot of weight for shooters, NBA teams should become more confident in him as a two-way contract candidate.

Mike Miles was the main draw of this game, but had the opposite of Baugh, with his worst game of the season: one point on eight shots, five rebounds, one assist, and five turnovers with one steal. Last year Miles struggled against Marcus Carr, but in this matchup he struggled to truly get any rhythm offensively, both as a playmaker and a scorer. This continues an alarming trend for Mike Miles, as he has struggled with consistent efficient scoring since re-injuring his foot against Mississippi State at the end of January. Miles’ health may give him a pass, but in a game with twelve NBA scouts in attendance, this may loom large come the pre-draft process when he has to explain what happened in this game to NBA teams.

Lastly for TCU, Emanuel Miller’s motor was a key factor in TCU’s decisive win over Texas. He finished the game with a 20 point, 10 rebound double double, along with one assist and one block on 44% shooting and six of eight from the line. Miller continues to impress scouts with his NBA frame at six foot seven with long arms, outstanding athleticism, and a high motor with defensive prowess. While he is a senior with an inconsistent three point ball, his three point percentage is still over 40%, albeit small sample size. His main mission this summer with NBA scouts, should he declare and be in the same draft as his brother Leonard Miller, will be to prove consistent jump shooting in pre-draft workouts.

For Texas, Dillon Mitchell was supposed to be their star prospect this season as a five star recruit with freak athleticism at six foot eight. However, he has severely struggled to find a consistent role with success on the offensive end. While he is a capable defender, his lack of shooting, and lack of confidence shooting, makes him a difficult player to utilize offensively. Teams can take advantage of no defensive three in the key in college basketball by packing the paint when they see him trying to cut, and they can sag off of him with the ball in his hands on the perimeter. Additionally, he doesn’t draw many fouls, which is a limiter for his functional athleticism. Wednesday’s game against TCU was his first game shooting a free throw since January, and he missed both attempts, which pushed his free throw percentage below 45%.

This concludes the regular season scouting for the Scouting With the Mavs series in Fort Worth, as this was TCU’s last home game. Look for a game report later this week when Memphis visits SMU for SMU’s senior day and last home game of the season. In this game, Kendric Davis will be making his long-anticipated return to SMU, and Zhuric Phelps may play his last home game in Dallas.