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TCU Men's Basketball is on the Verge of History

The Frogs are just one win away from accomplishing something that has never been done before in more than a century of TCU Basketball.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Before this season started, there probably weren’t many people who thought TCU would be breaking any school records this year. Coming off a 9-22 season, one in which the Frogs became the first team to finish 0-18 in conference play in Big 12 history, it looked like the 2014-2015 campaign would be characterized by the growing pains associated with building a program.

Yet here we are.

Fresh off their defeat of the Furman Paladins on Tuesday night, the Frogs are 9-0, matching not only their win total from all of last season, but also the school record for best start in program history. A win on Saturday against McNeese State would bring the first 10-0 start ever for TCU, a program whose inaugural season came in 1908. This marks the 104th season of TCU Basketball, and these Frogs have the chance to accomplish something that has never been done before.

In fact, only four times in history has a TCU team reached double-digit wins before their second loss. As we venture toward uncharted territory, let’s take a look back at those teams and what they accomplished.


The Frogs began the 1930-1931 season with a record of 12-1. Coached by Francis Schmidt, who was also the legendary TCU football coach credited with raising the funds to build the original Amon G. Carter Stadium, the Frogs finished the season with a record of 18-4, capturing the school’s first Southwest Conference basketball title. Unfortunately for these Frogs, the creation of the NCAA tournament was still eight years away, thus no postseason for TCU.


Regarded by some as the most successful season in TCU Basketball history, the Frogs began the season 14-1. Led by head coach Buster Brannon, a guard on the 1930 TCU Basketball team, the Frogs rolled through SWC play, finishing 11-1 and in first place in the Conference. That mark earned the school its first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament. The format of the NCAA Tournament was vastly different then than it is today. In 1952, only 16 teams were invited, and those 16 teams were split into two regionals, East and West. The Frogs traveled to Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, only to fall to the eventual National Champion Kansas Jayhawks, who were led by Clyde Lovellette and Dean Smith, by a final score of 68-64. The Frogs would go on to beat New Mexico A&M in the now non-existent "regional third place game."


The 1957-1958 Horned Frogs began their campaign 10-1 before finishing 17-7, good for third place in the SWC. Despite winning the SWC Tournament in Houston and being ranked as high as 16th by the Associated Press, the Frogs were left out of the NCAA Tournament.


It would be exactly forty years before the Frogs saw another start as hot as the one in 1957. The 1997-1998 TCU season began with a perfect 9-0 start. The Frogs reached 10-1 before dropping three of their next four games. However, once Western Athletic Conference play began, the Frogs turned it up a notch. TCU finished 14-0 in conference play, winning the school’s only regular season WAC title. In just his fourth season at the helm, head coach Billy Tubbs had created the best scoring offense in the NCAA. Led by eventual NBA forward Lee Nailon, the Frogs averaged 97.2 points per game, scoring triple digits 14 times in 33 total games. In what is the school’s most recent appearance, the Frogs advanced to the NCAA Tournament as the 5th seed in the Midwest Region. Despite a prolific offense, the Frogs were upset in the First Round by the 12th seeded Florida State Seminoles, 96-87 in Oklahoma City, thus finishing the season with a 27-6 record.

Seventeen years removed from the last NCAA Tournament appearance, these Frogs are making noise of their own.

Seventeen years removed from the last NCAA Tournament appearance, these Frogs are making noise of their own. A win Saturday would cement their legacy in the TCU Basketball history books. A 10-0 start would be something that head coach Trent Johnson has only experience once in his 40-year career as a player and a coach. Johnson was an assistant at Stanford when the Cardinal started 17-0 in, coincidentally, the 1997-1998 season.

Although the Frogs’ schedule to date has been nothing to write home about, TCU does have some quality wins. The Frogs thoroughly dismantled Washington State out of the Pac-12 Conference before beating Radford, a team that won 22 games last season. TCU also swept the SEC representatives from the state of Mississippi, beating Mississippi State to win the Corpus Coastal Christi Classic, the Frogs’ first in-season tournament championship since 1991, before traveling to Oxford to beat Ole Miss.

The Frogs, one of just 10 remaining undefeated teams in the country, have four more games, all at home, before the start of Big 12 play in January. That’s four more opportunities to add onto what could be the best start in program history. Along with wins comes national recognition. The Frogs received 45 votes in this week’s Associated Press College Basketball Poll, ranking TCU 32nd in the country. A Top 25 ranking would be significant as the Frogs have only cracked the Top 25 in seven different seasons in program history.

The start of Big 12 play will bring its own challenges, especially for a team looking to buck a 19-game losing streak against the Conference. But for now, it is hard not to sit back and appreciate a run that has been more than a century in the making.

Best Starts in TCU Basketball History



Final Record




27-6 (14-0 WAC)

WAC Champions, NCAA Tournament







24-4 (11-1 SWC)

SWC Champions, NCAA Tournament



18-4 (9-3 SWC)

SWC Champions



17-7 (8-6 SWC)

3rd in SWC