While offering this organization’s sincere congratulations to Mike Davis and his Indiana team on (barely) hanging on to defeat Gawker Media’s favorite overrated side, Illinois last night, there is grim stuff to shift through this morning. First and foremost, the recent foibles of Texas Christian University’s basketball program. From the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins.
This is how bad it is at TCU: Coach Neil Dougherty said he won’t let his players talk to the media leading up to games, because they have nothing positive to say.
That might be a good thing.
After losing their last five, the Horned Frogs are 4-13 overall, 0-6 on the road and 0-3 in the Mountain West Conference.
And tonight things continue to get harder when San Diego State, the conference preseason favorite, visits TCU at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
“It’s alarming, but I know what went into it,” Dougherty said of the team’s struggles. “I have to keep my feet on the ground and understand I don’t think we’ve earned where I want to be yet.”
Last season, the Frogs finished 21-14, losing to Maryland in the NIT quarterfinals. It was the first time TCU had won 20-plus games since 2000, and the Frogs made their first postseason appearance since 1999.
In the off-season, TCU lost three starters, including leading scorer Corey Santee. Its front-court presence, forward Aaron Curtis, and guard Marcus Shropshire are also gone.
But there was still hope for a successful ’05-06 season for the Horned Frogs, because they were leaving talent-rich Conference USA for the MWC.
So instead of playing national powers such as Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis and Marquette at least once a year, the Frogs had to meet UNLV, San Diego State and Utah.
“When we win a game, it’s a legit win. It’s like last year when we won 21 games, it’s legit. We didn’t schedule 16 wins. I’m not trying to falsify a record. That wasn’t my job in coming here. I’m trying to establish a program.”
The Frogs haven’t been able to win close games. They are 1-4 in games decided by fewer than five points.
In those losses, TCU blew a nine-point lead in the last six minutes to Wyoming and a seven-point lead in the final five minutes to New Mexico. In the New Mexico game, the Frogs went scoreless for the last four minutes.
The lone win came against Jackson State, and that was decided when guard Brent Hackett hit two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to break a tie.
Dougherty said several nonconference losses, which included games at Texas Tech and Syracuse, plus a contest against Oklahoma State in Las Vegas, could have hurt the Frogs’ confidence.
“It [might have been] too much for us to handle in terms of scheduling,” he said.