While the countdown to TCU Football has begun in earnest, TCU Basketball isn’t far behind - and might have even higher expectations for their 2017 campaign.
Earlier today, the much-anticipated preseason schedule was released, and Frog fans can begin to get excited for a solid home run for a squad that could very well be ranked in the top 25 come November.
“Last season our strength of schedule was ranked 15th out of 351 teams,” said head coach Jamie Dixon. “I anticipate our schedule to be ranked even stronger this season.”
TCU will play four non-conference games against teams that played in March Madness a year ago, something they are expected to do come spring for the first time in two decades. The Frogs will face off against SMU, Maryland, Nevada, and Vanderbilt - all tournament teams, as part of their preparation for Big 12 play. All but two teams on the scheduled finished last year with a winning record, and several won their leagues a season ago.
It will be a tough stretch for Jamie Dixon’s squad to open the year - a unit which returns its top six scorers and all but two key rotation members - as they play three games in five days, though each will come on their home court. Opening night is November 10th against the University of Louisiana Monroe, with matches against Tennessee Tech (November 13th) and South Dakota (November 15th) quickly following.
After that opening stretch, the Frogs will use the Thanksgiving Break as a chance to play in the Emerald Coast Classic, one of two preseason tournaments they will participate in. The sexiest matchup is a potential second round date with Maryland in Niceville, FL (seriously, the city is named Niceville). Of note, the Frogs will play just a single true road game in the preseason in addition to the two neutral site tournaments. That is an interesting choice for Jamie Dixon to have made, but with a veteran squad, the question of being road-tested may not be as pressing. The Emerald Coast Classic will be followed by a matchup with Belmont on November 29th and Yale on December 2nd. The Bulldogs should receive a warm welcome from the Frog Faithful, who may remember them fondly for their 2016 NCAA Tournament upset over Baylor.
The first marquee matchup of the year will be against cross-metroplex rival SMU, who travels to Fort Worth for a highly-anticipated game on December 5th. The Ponies beat the Frogs in Dallas a year ago, and Jamie Dixon and co will certainly be looking for revenge.
TCU goes back on the road December 8th to play Nevada in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, a premier tournament held at the home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, the STAPLES Center. It is a 10 PM PST tip on ESPNU, so schedule in a pregame nap, now.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic,” said Dixon. “I expect to see many of our great fans in California come out to STAPLES Center and watch us compete against a very good Nevada team.”
Texas Southern and William & Mary will close out the 2017 portion of the season, coming to Fort Worth for games on December 18th and 22nd respectively. The last non-conference game on the schedule is January 27th, as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. That is the lone road game, as the Frogs will face off with the Commodores in Nashville, TN.
TCU will return home for two home games before Christmas Day. The Frogs host 2017 NCAA tournament participant and defending Southland Conference champion Texas Southern on Dec. 18 followed by William & Mary on Dec. 22.
The Frogs recently returned from a successful tour through Australia, going 5-0 against some of the top teams and players in the country, and winning each game by double digits. TCU got excellent play out of newcomers Ahmed Hamdy, Kouat Noi, Shawn Olden, and RJ Nembhard, who stepped up in the injury absence of sophomore guard Jaylen Fisher, who is expected to return from a knee injury prior to opening night.
You can see the preseason schedule in full at www.gofrogs.com, though most tip times have yet to be set. New season tickets will go on sale October 2nd, with a limited amount available. Single game tickets will also be available.
All information and quotes courtesy of TCU Athletics.