Jan. 14, 2005
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Setting the Scene
The TCU Horned Frogs (11-5, 1-1 C-USA) will be looking for their first-ever win over the Memphis Tigers (9-7, 2-0) in 10 tries. TCU is just 1-4 in true road games this year and has given up more than 20 points more per game away from home than in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs have won five of their last six and six of their last eight contests to put the team just one win shy of the club's total from all of last year (12-17). Four of TCU's first six Conference USA games are on the road against teams that went a combined 51-8 (.864) at home last year. TCU is attempting to start 2-1 in C-USA for the second straight year and snap a five-game road losing streak in league play.
Memphis has won all nine previous meetings between the two teams, which includes five that have taken place in Memphis. TCU has lost the five road games in the series by an average of 25.0 points per game. In the last showdown, the Horned Frogs dropped an 83-56 decision at the Pyramid on Mar. 3, 2004. In the other meeting during the 2004 Conference USA season, the Frogs suffered a tough 75-69 home loss to the Tigers after Memphis closed the game with a 13-2 run.
The First One Is Always the Toughest
Memphis is one of four league teams (Cincinnati, Charlotte and Saint Louis are the others) that the Horned Frogs have not beaten since joining Conference USA. However, TCU is 0-6 against the Tigers in league play and just a combined 0-4 against the other three schools (0-2 vs. Cincinnati, 0-1 vs. Charlotte and 0-1 vs. Saint Louis). In the 2004 league campaign, TCU picked up its first-ever wins over Marquette and Louisville.
The Most Recent Meeting
No. 20 Memphis shot 51 percent and held TCU to 33 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers in an 83-56 victory. Sean Banks scored 25 points to lead Memphis, which moved into first place in Conference USA. In addition to being senior night, the game was the last for the Tigers in The Pyramid, Memphis' home since 1991. Banks was 8-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Rodney Carney was 7-for-14 from the field and added 22 points for the Tigers. Chudi Chinweze led the Horned Frogs with 16 points, 14 in the second half, and Nucleus Smith added 11. The Horned Frogs missed 12 of their first 13 shots, and already were down by double figures with 11 minutes left in the half. TCU shot 23 percent in the first half and committed 12 turnovers.
TCU Individuals vs. Memphis
Corey Santee has scored 13.2 points and 5.3 assists per game in six meetings with the Tigers and has been held to single digits in points twice. Marcus Shropshire averaged 11.0 points in his two games against Memphis last year. Femi Ibikunle (5.0 points and 7.0 rebounds) and Aaron Curtis (5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds) have also been productive in two career games against Memphis.
Did Someone Turn on the A.C.?
In Wednesday night's win over Tulane, Aaron Curtis wowed the crowd with an electifying dunk that was voted the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays. Curtis received a pass on the right wing, took a dribble and elevated for a one-hand slam over Tulane's Vytas Tatarunas, who had a pair of blocked shots earlier in the contest. Curtis, who was also fouled on the play, helped spark a 10-3 run to give the Horned Frogs a comfortable second-half lead. He finished the game with 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots. He has averaged 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game over his last six contests.
Some Tough Losses
TCU's five losses on the season have come to teams that own a combined record of 58-15 (.795) to date. Kansas (12-0), Louisville (12-3), Vanderbilt (11-5), Old Dominion (13-2) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (10-5). In addition, four of the five losses were on the road to those teams, with the lone home game coming against Old Dominion.
11 Wins In
On Jan. 12, TCU already recorded its 11th victory of the season. The only time since the 1999-00 season that the Frogs reached the 11-win mark earlier in the year came in the 2000-01 season (Jan. 4). The Horned Frogs did not earn their 11th win of the campaign last year until the team defeated Houston on Feb. 28. The 11 victories are already two more than the Frogs' entire win total from the 2002-03 season (9).
10-4 Over and Out
The Frogs completed the nonconference portion of the 2004-05 campaign with a 10-4 record, the team's best nonleague record since 2001-02. TCU was picked to finish ninth in the Conference USA Preseason Coaches Poll, with all eight teams listed above the Frogs having played in the 2004 postseason. Four of TCU's first six league games are on the road. The four road teams are against Louisville, Memphis, Saint Louis and Charlotte, teams that combined to go 51-8 at home last season, good for an .864 winning percentage.
Trouble With Tennessee
TCU has had its share of trouble with teams from the state of Tennessee over the past few years. Since joining Conference USA, the Horned Frogs are 0-6 against the Memphis Tigers and have lost four of those games by at least 15 points. In addition, TCU has lost each of the past two seasons to Vanderbilt, suffering a 35-point loss at home in 2003 and a 23-point defeat in Nashville this season.
You Gotta Know When to Hold `Em
TCU is holding opponents to 68.9 points per game, which is the lowest figure since the 1991-92 squad limited teams to 66.3 points per contest. In addition, the Horned Frogs are forcing opponents into just 43.3 percent shooting, which is the lowest percentage allowed since the 1989-90 team (42.2 percent).
Taking A Look at the Early RPIs
TCU's current RPI ranking is 68th according to Collegiate Basketball News (as of Jan. 9). The Frogs' strength of schedule is currently rated 83rd in the nation. Current RPI top 50 teams on the TCU schedule include: No. 1 Kansas, No. 22 Cincinnati, No. 25 Vanderbilt, No. 28 DePaul, No. 32 Marquette and No. 43 Houston. TCU is the seventh-highest rated team in Conference USA.
We the Three Kings
Over the past 11 games, the Horned Frogs are 107-for-277 (.386) from three-point range. In their first four games of the season, the Frogs went just 24-for-82 (.293) from beyond the arc. TCU drained a season-high 12 treys in a victory over Texas State and have hit at least 10 on four occasions. The Frogs currently rank 30th nationally in three-pointers made per game (8.2).
Keeping the Speed Limit at 55
TCU has held four of its last eight opponents to 55 or fewer points. Prior to this year, the Horned Frogs had limited just four of its last 110 opponents to that total dating back to the 2000-01 campaign. The last time TCU held at least five opponents to 55 or fewer in the same season was in the 1991-92 season (8 times).
In the Driver's Seat
In seven of TCU's 11 victories, the Frogs have taken control prior to intermission. The Horned Frogs led the final 34:01 in their victory over Texas-Arlington, the last 31:24 in their win over Shawnee State, the final 21:07 of their triumph over Texas Tech, the remaining 39:49 against SMU, the final 38:49 against Maryland-Eastern Shore, the last 39:35 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and the final 37:47 against Texas State. Against Eastern Shore and Pine Bluff, the Frogs maintained a double-digit advantage for the final 36 minutes of each contest. TCU erased halftime deficits of one, one, one and four points respectively in victories over North Texas, Grambling State, Tulane and Florida State.
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Since starting out the 2003-04 season with a 4-8 record, the Horned Frogs have gone 19-14 (.576) in a little more than a full season since. Included in that mark are a pair of wins last year over Marquette and a 25-point upset victory over 10th-ranked Louisville during the 2004 Conference USA season. TCU went 7-9 in conference play last year in a league that received six NCAA Tournament bids and two NIT nods.
Enoying Home Cookin'
TCU is giving up 81.7 points per away contest as compared to just 61.2 points per home game. Grambling State is the only one of the 10 visitors to break the 70-point plateau against the Horned Frogs in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum this season, while all six teams have scored at least 70 on the Frogs in games played outside Fort Worth. Opponents are shooting nearly 10 percent poorer against TCU at DMC this year (39.5 percent vs. 49.4 percent). The Horned Frogs are 9-1 at home this season, outscoring their opposition by 16.6 points per game.
The Line Between Winning and Losing
In TCU's 11 victories, the opposition is just 248-for-624 (.397) from the field, but in the Frogs' five losses, teams have shot 50.9 percent (147-for-289). The Horned Frogs are scoring 13.2 points per game higher when the team wins (79.5 vs. 66.2) and are allowing 18.8 more points per game in losses (81.8 vs. 63.0).
Hey Big Shooters
TCU has not shot the ball well in its two conference games, going just 45-for-122 (.369) from the field and just 15-for-45 (.333) from three-point range. Meanwhile, TCU opponents are 50-for-110 (.455) and 16-for-36 from three-point range (.444).
One Away From 200
TCU senior Corey Santee's next three-point make will be the 200th of his career. He will be the fourth TCU player ever to reach that figure, trailing only Ryan Carroll (233), Michael Strickland (231) and Bingo Merriex (217). Teammate Marcus Shropshire has made 110 threes to move into sole possession of 10th place on the school's all-time list.
Aaron Curtis celebrates his 23rd birthday on Saturday, Jan. 15 when the Horned Frogs take on Memphis. In an interesting note, he has a connection to Memphis' FedExForum, as his mother, Bernice Wells, is a FedEx delivery person in the Dallas/Grand Prairie area. Fellow senior Corey Valsin will celebrate his 23rd birthday just four days later, on Jan. 19.