It is March 28th, and TCU basketball is playing a meaningful game in New York City. That is enough, right there, to make my heart happy.
The Frogs take on Central Florida and massive center Tacko Fall on Tuesday night, as they try to reach the NIT Championship game for the first time in school history. This game in the NIT semifinals is the first time in TCU's history that they've advanced this far in the tournament.
So, watch the game (ESPN), and chat with us here, as we watch the Frogs battle UCF.
Also, if you missed Chris' game preview, here are his three things to watch and a prediction.
1 - Battle of the Bigs
The most interesting matchup on the floor will be Fall vs. Brodziansky. Vlad has not had to face someone as tall as Fall and it could limit his ability around the rim. However, Brodziansky has shown an ability to stretch the floor and knock down some shots. If he can do that, TCU should be able to come away with a win, but the Frogs may not be able to execute their two-man game as well with Fall waiting in the paint.
2 - Three Point Shooting
With both teams having good shot blockers hanging out in the paint, it will be critical for both teams to shoot well from deep. Matt Williams for UCF and Brandon Parrish for TCU can both get it going from beyond the arc and can have a major impact on the momentum of the game. However, neither team has an advantage statistically from three point range, as both teams are shooting 35.5% from there. The team that has the advantage from deep will put themselves in a good position to win this game.
3 - Making the Most of the Trip
If you hadn’t seen, TCU arrived in New York on Sunday and held their practice at West Point, a place that has special significance for Jamie Dixon. His sister, Maggie Dixon, coached the women’s basketball team there for the 2005-2006 season and led them to a 20-11 record and their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. After the season, Maggie Dixon passed away due to a heart ailment and was buried at the Academy, an honor usually reserved for high-ranking Army officials. Win or lose tonight, it is awesome that the team was able to go to a place that has such a personal connection with Coach Dixon.
This game will likely be very close and should be won by whoever can shake off the nerves of being in Madison Square Garden first. Since the Frogs have shown they can win on the big stage by taking down Kansas at the Sprint Center, I think TCU should be able to settle in early and make enough plays to win this game. The key players to watch for the Frogs will be Bane and Parrish, as they will need to help create scoring from outside the paint.
Score Prediction: TCU 78, UCF 73