It’s been a rough go for TCU in its first years in the Big 12. No, not the football team, which currently enjoys a chance of reaching the College Football Playoff after piling on a new record amount of points scored in a game against a conference foe.
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It’s the men’s basketball team, which struggled mightily in the second season and couldn’t even get a conference victory. Injuries plagued the team going into the season, who already didn’t have much depth. Now with some players coming back, along with their leader, Kyan Anderson, the team is looking to at least compete in the 2014-15 season.
Players to watch
Nothing clicked for TCU last season. The offense averaged a putrid 63.6 points, 11.4 assists, and 29.9 rebounds per game, and just a 40.3 field goal percentage. Anderson was the main guy. He averaged 17 points and 34.6 minutes per game in 31 contests. He scored a total of 527 points. That’s nearly double the amount of the second-highest scorer on the team, Karviar Shepherd, with 274 points.
Amric Fields was the only other guy averaging on the double-digit level in points with 13.1, but that was in just 18 games due to injury. In fact, TCU had some problems with injury before the season began. Devonta Abron tore his Achilles tendon and Fields was recovering from a torn ACL from the previous season.
It will only get better this season. Karviar Shepherd and Brandon Parrish, the second and third best players on the team scoring wise last year, will just be sophomores this year while both Anderson and Fields should lead the way as seniors. They may only have two wins in the past two years in conference play (2-34), but I would definitely expect that number to increase this season.
Feb 19, 2014; Manhattan, KS, USA; TCU Horned Frogs forward Amric Fields (4) shoots over Kansas State Wildcats forward Nino Williams (11) during the Horned Frogs
Looking at the schedule
TCU shouldn’t have too much trouble navigating through non-conference action — they won’t have a true road game until Big 12 play. Their most notable opponents will be Washington State, Bradley, and Ole Miss. The rest of the slate is your substandard local schools and various cupcakes.
In conference play, the roughest stretch for the Horned Frogs looks to be the end of the year. A home game against Texas Tech sits there on February 25th, but road games to Kansas and Oklahoma are between that, and then afterwards it’s at Oklahoma State and then hosting Iowa State in the regular season finale.
That season finale is on March 7th at 1:00 PM Central time on ESPNews. The first meeting is on January 31st in Ames at 1:00 PM on ESPNU.
Barring injuries (and this team has dealt with a fair share of them), I think Trent Johnson has a solid lineup on his hands. It’s tough that they have to play in the ultra competitive Big 12 that’s just loaded with talent at the top. Their record will look worse than the team really is; it won’t be a winning season by any means, but they have a chance to finish ahead of Texas Tech and could give Baylor and Oklahoma State a run for their money in the standings.