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The first game is often the most difficult, but the 6-seed TCU Horned Frogs (22-12, 16-17-1 ATS) and 3-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-5, 13-19-1 ATS) both made it through. These West Region teams will need another win in Denver if they want to take a business trip to Vegas for the Sweet 16. At 9:40 p.m. EST in Ball Arena, TCU and Gonzaga will tip off as the final first-weekend game.
It was tight, and they trailed most of the game, but TCU escaped Ball Arena with a win on Friday night. Usually reserved for football, Pac-12 after dark was in full effect at the end of the Horned Frogs' 72-70 win against Arizona State. After a TCU comeback and a lot of back-and-forth action, JaKobe Coles got a bucket with three seconds left. The Sun Devils couldn't get a prayer off in time, and TCU survived the night.
WE'VE GOT A GAME! ??#MarchMadness | @TCUBasketball pic.twitter.com/5s47aRTpO2
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 18, 2023
For nearly eight minutes in the second half, TCU limited Arizona State to two points. TCU's defense rates 23rd in adjusted efficiency according to KenPom, so that's familiar territory. The Sun Devils were hot from deep on Friday night, but TCU is typically great at limiting triples. Their opponents have only hit 30.8% of their three-point attempts against them this season.
Offensively, the Horned Frogs are also quality, ranking 50th in adjusted efficiency. Three-point shooting and converting free throws were areas that plagued TCU this season, but they did both well on Friday night. If they stay hot all tournament, watch out.
Overall, TCU is 25th in KenPom's ratings.
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