The Horned Frogs are in Kansas City this week, playing for their NIT lives. And while that might not be exciting to most of the fanbase, a berth in the NIT means more TCU Basketball games — possibly home games — and that means more opportunities to watch Desmond Bane play with the Frog across his chest.
And we should all be hoping for that.
Standing first in the way is Kansas State; the Wildcats finished last in the conference with a 3-15 mark in Big 12 play, losing to the Frogs twice along the way. A team with some talented pieces that hasn’t quite put it together, the Cats played TCU close twice, including a two-point contest in the Little Apple early in the season. With no postseason hopes of their own, it will be interesting to see what type of fight they put up Wednesday night, but you can be sure their seniors will lay it all on the line in what could be their final game.
Of course, we would be remiss to not at least mention TCU Basketball’s road to the NCAA Tournament; with three wins over Top 25 opponents, including their recent victory over #2 Baylor, their resume isn’t fully terrible. In fact, the Frogs had a chance to earn a bye in the conference tournament, but blew a 20 point lead to Oklahoma — themselves a bubble team — that all but ensures they’ll be passed over when the Field of 64 (68) is announced Sunday night. With a NET rating of 91 and a Q score of just .37 (third worst in the conference), they’ll need to win four games in four days and take the Big 12’s auto bid to have a shot of making the field. With three Q1 wins and zero Q3 or Q4 losses, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could win a game if they got there. Anthony did a great job updating folks on what to watch for when it comes to the NIT as well, should the Frogs be one or two and done in KC.
Of course, TCU is a 66/1 underdog to win the whole thing in KC... so... I guess we will see.
MARCH 11 | SPRINT CENTER (18,972) | KANSAS CITY, MO. | 8 PM
Play-By-Play: Rich Hollenberg
Analyst: Chris Spatola
Reporter: Kris Budden
Online: WatchESPN.com // ESPN App
Radio: KLIF 570 AM
Play-By-Play: Brian Estridge
Analyst: John Denton
Online: HFTV // TuneIn
Series: Kansas State leads 16-8
In Fort Worth: KSU leads 6-3
In Manhattan: KSU leads 8-3
Neutral: Tied 2-2
First Meeting: KSU won 75-17 (12/11/47) in Manhattan
Last Meeting: TCU won 68-57 (2/15/20) in Fort Worth
Winning Streak: TCU, 2
Dixon vs. KSU: 4-5
- No. 7 seed TCU will face No. 10 seed Kansas State in the first round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
- TCU is 5-7 all-time at the Phillips Big 12 Championship and has played in the quarterfinals in each of the last five season. TCU is a seven seed for the first time in its eight years in the Big 12. It will be the fourth time the Frogs will face the Wildcats in the tournament.
- TCU is 1-1 this season and 14-6 under Jamie Dixon in neutral site games.Jamie Dixon has 412 career wins, tied for the third-most of any head coach through 17 seasons.
- TCU leads the Big 12 in 3-pointers made per game (8.6) and blocks (4.8). The Frogs rank 25th nationally in blocks per game.
- With just three returning players from last season in senior Desmond Bane and sophomores RJ Nembhard and Kevin Samuel, TCU was picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll, but finished seventh.
- Bane became the first TCU player to earn First Team All-Big 12 honors. He ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring (16.6) and leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (44.1) and 3-point field goals made (2.9). He’s made a 3-pointer in 21 straight games. Bane also ranks in the top 10 in assists (7, 3.9) and rebounds (10, 6.3) and is the only player to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds and assists.
- Samuel is shooting 64.8 percent from the field and is averaging 8.4 rebounds per game, which ranks sixth in the Big 12, and 2.6 blocks per game, which leads the Big 12 and ranks 15th in the nation. Samuel’s 11 double-doubles rank second in the Big 12. He’s had at least five blocks in a game eight times this season.
- Bane is top five all-time at TCU in career points (3rd), field goals (4th) and 3-pointers (2nd). At 1,768 career points, Bane is chasing current player development coordinator Corey Santee for second (1,832). Bane is the all-time leader in 3-pointers at TCU with 247.
- At 158 career blocked shots, Samuel is fifth on TCU’s all-time list. Kurt Thomas is next at 166 blocks. Samuel’s 81 blocks this season is the third-most in a season at TCU. Vladimir Brodziansky’s 82 during the 2016-17 season is No. 2.
LAST TIME OUT
Desmond Bane scored 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting, 19 in the first half, but TCU was unable to hold onto a 20-point lead as it fell, 78-76, to Oklahoma Saturday. Bane also became TCU’s all-time leader in 3-pointers (247). Jaire Grayer scored a season-high 18 points in the final home game for himself and fellow seniors Bane and Edric Dennis.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Kansas State is 10-21 overall, 3-15 in the Big 12. The Wildcats snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 79-63 win over Iowa State on Saturday. KSU is led by senior Xavier Sneed’s 14.4 points per game, the ninth-best in the Big 12.
Kansas State leads the all-time series 16-8. TCU swept the season series for the first time ever with a 59-57 win at KSU on Jan. 7 and a 68-57 win at home on Feb. 15. TCU is 1-2 in the Big 12 Championship against KSU. The Wildcats have eliminated the Frogs the last two seasons.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will face No. 2 seed Baylor in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 6 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2.