TCU overcame a lot to make their first NCAA Tournament, and it was an amazing run. But, that won’t be enough in 2019 - they’ll want/need to win.
For coach Jamie Dixon, the most impressive aspect of the season was the roster makeup of the team. When Jaylen Fisher went down in early January, it left the Frogs with just eight scholarship players in their rotation. Minor injuries to Ahmed Hamdy and Shawn Olden left the Frogs with a two-man bench for a few games.
Going back even further, TCU was unable to practice with a full squad of scholarship players because of NCAA entanglements and injuries to five scholarship players. Those issues (knock on wood for Dixon) won’t exist next season.
”We were fighting through adversity,” Dixon said. “We didn’t at all have the team we anticipated having and still did something that hadn’t been done in 20 years. We saw a glimpse of practice the way we wanted to practice to some degree in late January. They got a taste of the competition and intensity in practice to make us better in games.”
It has been quite a run for TCU Athletics.
“Basketball Town” sticking requires success and fan enthusiasm.
For only the second time in school history, the men’s and women’s basketball teams are competing in postseason tournaments in the same season. When the women advanced to NCAA Tournament in 2005, the men advanced three rounds in the NIT.
The talent and depth on this team next year is insane. They had basically a starting lineup sitting on the bench over the last three months.
What it means for next season: The biggest addition will be that of one returnee, point guard Jaylen Fisher. The sophomore was averaging 12 points and five assists in 35 minutes per game before a torn meniscus in his right knee ended his season in mid-January. The combination of Fisher, Robinson and Bane in the backcourt gives TCU experience, ball handlers and athleticism. A handful of redshirts, RJ Nembhard, Lat Mayen and Kevin Samuel, will join the lineup as well. Dixon looks to have a deeper pool of talent next season than he did in this one.
Trending: Up. The Horned Frogs went 9-9 in a rugged conference and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years. The team battled depth issues throughout the season, but next season this team should be deeper. Dixon has this program on the right track.
A very disappointing home series loss for the Frogs, their first series loss and first time being shut out this season.
The Maroon & Gold continued to add to their lead in the fifth, opening the inning with base hits by Ben Mezzenga and Pettersen, each scoring when pitcher Sean Wymer (0-1) tried to get the lead runner on a sacrifice attempt by Jack Wassel and threw the ball down the left field line. The Gophers chased Wymer in the sixth, taking advantage of another Horned Frog error to score three runs in the inning.
Brett Schulze relieved Fredrickson in the sixth, working 3.0 shutout innings, striking out three while allowing just one hit.
Vavra continued to punish TCU pitching in the ninth inning as he tagged a ball over the right field wall for his second home run of the season. Four walks helped the Gophers bring home another run in the inning as Ben Mezzenga’s bases loaded free pass scored Cole McDevitt. Jeff Fasching tossed a scoreless ninth inning to end the shutout victory for the Maroon & Gold.