At some point, those close losses have to turn in to wins... right? RIGHT? Maybe.
Perhaps it’s not fair or even technically accurate, but Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma Sooners has all the earmarks of a must-win game for TCU basketball.
Sure, it’s early in conference play, but the No. 16 Horned Frogs (13-3, 1-3 in the Big 12) need a win in the worst way when they meet the No. 9 Sooners (13-2, 3-1) at noon Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center.
Yeah, this is dead on.
Defense. The Horned Frogs are ninth in the Big 12 in scoring defense (76.6 ppg) and last in field goal defense (45.6). That lack of defense has translated into the absence of key stops late in close games. In Big 12 games, TCU is allowing 88.8 ppg with opponents shooting 49 percent. In beating TCU, Texas made 75.8 percent of its 2-point field goal attempts.
Oklahoma represents a test for even good defensive teams, ranking second nationally in scoring.
Better starts. One common theme in TCU’s losses is falling behind early. The Horned Frogs have trailed by double digits in the first half against Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
”Everybody is going to lose maybe a couple in a row or two out of three or something where you’re going to be questioned. At this point right now, we’re at that,” Dixon said. “We’ve got some doubters out there, and we’ve got to come together.”
Christian has more on A Rob’s role in his preview later this am.
Next to Kenrich Williams, Alex Robinson was the most consistent player for TCU a year ago. This season, his numbers have fallen off across the board and have been coming off the bench. In the first three conference games, he shot a combined 3/17 from the field for seven points.
But last game he finally broke out of his funk, with the senior scoring 14 points and nine assists, while playing 45 minutes coming off the bench. Hopefully, for TCU fans, it’s the start of Robinson returning to form.
Will it be another close loss? :(
• Through four Big 12 games, Young has played some of his best basketball in the second half, averaging 19.8 points after halftime. Only two Big 12 players are averaging more in full games during conference play.
• The Sooners aim to once again defend their home arena, entering Saturday’s contest with 11 straight home wins. The Sooners have not lost at home since Feb. 8, 2017 - 339 days ago. The streak is the longest for the Sooners since winning 19 in a row from Jan. 17, 2015 to Feb. 8, 2016.
Lots of TCU offers on this list. Keep an eye on this talented young defensive back.
9. DB Jalen Catalon
5-9, 180, Mansfield Legacy
Considering TCU, Oklahoma, Texas, Stanford, Missouri, Ohio State, Arkansas and more. Ranked the No. 9 safety in the nation. He’s projected to commit with Clemson, per 247Sports. Voted Associated Press Class 5A all-state defensive player of the year when he was just a sophomore. Recorded 297 tackles, 12 INTs the past two seasons.
Several former Frogs in action this weekend.
OT Aviante Collins (TCU, Class of 2016); Three-year starter at TCU. Attended Houston Willowridge High School.
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (TCU Class of 2016); Two-time second-team All-Big 12 selection (2014, 2015). Attended Haltom High School.
Thoughts from Carlos about hoops and football.
1. Travin Howard is going to go down as the greatest tackler in TCU history. But his reign as the leading tackler in TCU history might not last a year. Fellow linebacker Ty Summers is 72 tackles away from the 343 Howard posted in a career that ended two weeks ago with his second Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP award. Summers has played in 41 games at TCU. Howard reached his tackle total in 38 games.
2. TCU is an underrated road team in basketball. The Horned Frogs are 7-1 in their past eight games on neutral courts and 2-0 in their past two true road games, at Iowa and Baylor. They have won every tournament they have entered except one under Jamie Dixon. That was last year’s Big 12 tournament, where they reached the semifinals for the first time thanks to a win against Kansas at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, which itself has to rank somewhere between neutral and true road.
Fort Worth, home of winners.
Jim Schlossnagle’s powerhouse baseball program is No. 3 in the Perfect Game preseason poll with Luken Baker (1st Team) and Jared Janczak (2nd Team) named to the Perfect Game’s Preseason All-American teams. The Frogs begin their season on Feb. 16 with a trip to Phoenix to take on Grand Canyon in a three-game series.
David Roditi’s men’s tennis team is 10th in the first Oracle/ITA Division 1 Rankings. The Frogs will host Abilene Christian on Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
Lee Taylor Walker’s women’s tennis team is No. 25 after a strong performance in the Weinman Foundation Invitational in Hawaii from Jan. 6-8.
TCU’s rifle program is No. 2 in the polls behind defending champion West Virginia.
The Frogs’ equestrian program is No. 9.