Monday night, twitter, the comment sections, and Facebook were rife with disappointment. Frog fans far and wide were disappointed in TCU Basketball’s loss to Kansas, a game in which they overcame a 12 point second-half deficit, led with less than three minutes to go, and had a chance at a final shot to win it.
But, think about that... Frog fans were disappointed... with a loss... to KANSAS... a RANKED opponent.
You don’t have to go back but three years to have your mind blown by that phrase; hell, we are only five years removed from an 0-18 Big 12 campaign.
But the way people were jumping off the bandwagon by the end of the week - a disappointing home loss to Oklahoma, but one that occurred with second-leading scorer Kouat Noi on the bench certainly sucked - was disappointing to say the least. Not only was Noi’s shooting/scoring missed (nearly 15 ppg), but so was his length - with Kendric Davis taking the sophomore’s spot in the starting lineup, TCU’s average height dropped from nearly 6’7” to under 6’5”. That might not seem like much, but with a pair of point guards that average 6’0” tall, those extra couple inches up the middle can be the difference of several buckets on either end. That was evident Monday night as well, when the Frogs were blistered on by the Cowboys, who scored their first 18 points by way of the three pointer, their next three on a three point play, and the four after that on an and-one chance from behind the arc. Losing on the road in the Big 12 is never a killer, but losing to the Cowboys, who themselves are down to seven scholarship players, certainly hurts.
Look, I get it. After winning an NIT Championship in year one under Jamie Dixon and earning an NCAA Tournament berth the next, expectations coming into year three were sky high. We are not in the business of moral victories these days. But, we also need to stop and appreciate the rare air we are breathing when it comes to basketball around these parts.
TCU Basketball is not far removed from playing their home games in a high school district stadium. Fans aren’t far removed from... well... not caring. Yet, here we are, recruiting at a national level, playing in a beautifully remodeled arena, hosting Big Monday in back to back seasons. Regularly bringing home tournament hardware. Competing with, and beating ranked opponents. Winning on the road in conference play. The Frogs are playing meaningful basketball in February and have proven they can play meaningful games in March, too. TCU has received AP Poll votes in all but two weeks of 2019 and have been seeded in March Madness projections all season (currently an 8/9 seed in recent Bracketology posts).
We expect them to make the Dance.
After a 20 year drought - they are all but a lock to make back to back appearances in the NCAA Tournament. But, all fans want to talk about is the losses. While I am as frustrated as anyone with the last 20 seconds of regulation Monday night - that failure to execute cost the Frogs a seminal moment and possibly a top six seed - not getting over the hump against Kansas isn’t a step backwards for this program, and neither is losing a pair of games to Oklahoma schools. It’s the reality of consequence when you lose a starting lineup’s worth of talent to injuries and attitudes, and have to figure out how to make lineups work without one of your most important remaining players.
I am as frustrated as anybody with how the Frogs’ fortunes have changed, but to hear “this team sucks” or “why would I go to games now” lights a fire under me. We are still looking at a team that can get to March Madness. We are looking at team led by a pair of seniors who have become all-time assist leaders and thousand point scorers, and now and future stars in Desmond Bane, Kouat Noi, and Kendric Davis. You’re supporting a program that is building toward something special down the road while fighting their tails off for the here and now. You’re watching a great group of young men who embody the best of what it means to be a Horned Frog, on and off the court.
Don’t quit on them.
TCU hasn’t arrived yet. But the Frogs don’t have that far to go. Should we have beat Kansas Monday? And OU Saturday? And Oklahoma State Monday? Absolutely. Maybe. And probably.
Should we give up on the season because we didn’t? Hell no.
Show up Saturday at 1:00pm to watch them take on Iowa State. Be loud. Be proud. Support a program that is still fighting.