Feb. 6, 2004
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The USF Bulls own a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to 1992. Since the two became C-USA foes in 2001-02, USF owns a 3-1 lead in the series. The Horned Frogs snapped a three-game losing streak to the Bulls in the team's season finale last year, earning a 75-63 win in Fort Worth. All four league contests between the two schools have been decided by fewer than 15 points. TCU is 0-3 all time in Tampa.
Out of the Blocks
The Horned Frogs are looking to improve to 5-4 in conference play, which would easily be the best nine-game start in their brief C-USA history. TCU started out 1-8 in conference play in both 2001-02 and 2002-03. In addition, TCU has not started out better than 5-4 through nine league games in any of the five previous years. The last time TCU had a better nine-game league record was in 1997-98, when the Frogs' were 9-0 en route to a 14-0 Western Athletic Conference mark. Just two of the last 11 league seasons have begun with better than 5-4 records.
Recent Conference Starts
Year Conference Thru 9 Game 10 Final
1992-93 SWC 2-7 L 2-12
1993-94 SWC 3-6 L 3-11
1994-95 SWC 6-3 L 8-6
1995-96 SWC 2-7 L 6-8
1996-97 WAC 4-5 W 7-9
1997-98 WAC 9-0 W 14-0
1998-99 WAC 4-5 W 7-7
1999-00 WAC 5-4 W 8-6
2000-01 WAC 5-4 L 9-7
2001-02 C-USA 1-8 W 6-10
2002-03 C-USA 1-8 W 3-13
Closing In On 1,000
TCU is just four victories shy of the 1,000th in the program's 93-year history. The Horned Frogs currently own a 996-1135 all-time record.
Grinnin' and Winnin'
TCU has already recorded more conference wins (4) this season than the team did all of the 2003 league season. TCU is just two wins short of tying the Frogs' best Conference USA season. TCU had six league victories (6-10 record) in its first C-USA season of 2001-02. One more win would tie TCU's win total from last year (9).
I'm Not Sure What to Pack
After traveling to the frozen tundra of Milwaukee, Wis., where the temperature reached a high of 29 last Tuesday and snow showers fell upon their arrival, TCU will be in milder Tampa, Fla., on Monday. Sixty-seven degrees and partly sunny skies are expected to greet the Frogs.
If There's a Plane or a Bus Leavin' Dallas, I Hope I'm On It
This is the second game of a season-long three-game road trip for TCU. It is the first time that the Horned Frogs have played three straight on the road since 2000-01. TCU's three-game road stretch covers just 12 days. In the first 73 days of the season, the Frogs played just four road contests. The Horned Frogs close the regular season with five of their final eight games on the road.
Some Tough Competition
Here are some facts about TCU's 2003-04 schedule: The current combined record of TCU's 11 nonconference opponents is 129-81 (.614), led by Murray State and Texas Tech's 17-4 showings. Three teams that the Frogs have played were ranked in the Associated Press' top 25 last week: Cincinnati (No. 10), Texas Tech (19) and Kansas (20). Wednesday's RPI ratings showed four top-25 teams: Kansas (11), Texas Tech (15), Cincinnati (23) and Vanderbilt (25).
Fort Worth: Where the Best Begins
TCU has already hosted then-No. 1 Kansas and 22nd-ranked Vanderbilt this year. It is the first time that the Horned Frogs have played two top-25 teams at home in the same season since the 1982-83 campaign. That year, TCU hosted 16th-ranked Houston on Jan. 12, 1983, and No. 7 Arkansas on Feb. 19, 1983. In addition, fans will be treated to at least one more top-25 team, as Louisville, currently rated sixth, comes to Fort Worth on Feb. 17. It would be the first time that TCU has ever hosted three top-25 teams in the same season.
As Long As the Rim Is 10 Feet, Who Cares?
TCU owns a better overall shooting percentage at home this year, but surprisingly, the Horned Frogs are shooting better from three-point range and from the free throw line on the road this season.
On the Road
Field Goals 103-256 (.402)
3-Point Field Goals 37-100 (.370)
Free Throws 66-94 (.702)
Field Goals 330-784 (.421)
3-Point Field Goals 85-265 (.321)
Free Throws 222-344 (.645)
Got One of Two Against the Final Four
TCU played two teams that appeared in the 2003 NCAA Final Four, Kansas and Marquette, and split the two games. TCU had a second-half lead against KU on Dec. 1 before falling 85-66 and earned an 85-79 victory over MU on Feb. 3.
Shock the World
TCU picked up its biggest victory of the Neil Dougherty era and one of the best in recent memory on Tuesday night at Marquette. Marquette owned a 10-1 home record this season and had won 41 of their last 43 in the Bradley Center over the last three years prior to the Frogs' upset win. The only other teams to leave Milwaukee with a 'W' in the last three years were then-No. 2 Louisville (73-70) on Feb. 15, 2003 and then-seventh-rated Cincinnati (85-73) on Jan. 14, 2004. Over the team's history, Marquette owns a 841-286 record (.746) in Milwaukee.
A Little Help From the Three Ball
TCU connected on a season-high 12 three-point attempts against Marquette. TCU was 12-for-23 from long range in the game, making it the fourth time this season that the Frogs have made at least 50 percent of their three-point attempts. TCU is now 3-1 in those games. In TCU's eight wins, the Frogs are 55-for-137 (.401) from trey land, while in the 11 losses, the team is 67-for-228 (.294).
A Little Help From the Three Man
Against Marquette, TCU received 34 points from players occupying the '3' spot (Nucleus Smith 16, Aaron Curtis 15, Blake Adams 3). The 16 points were a season high for Smith and Curtis' 15 points nearly doubled his previous career-best of eight. The trio accounted for 40 percent of TCU's offense (34 of 85 points) after coming into the game contributing 23.6 percent of the team's scoring (281 of 1191).
Have Ball, Will Play
TCU has already played eight games against ranked teams under Coach D. Prior to his arrival, the Horned Frogs played just seven ranked teams from the 1998-99 season through the 2001-02 campaign. While TCU is 0-8 against top-25 teams under Dougherty, TCU had second-half leads at No. 10 Creighton (L, 79-89) and home against No. 11 Marquette (L, 68-79) in 2002-03 and this season led No. 1 Kansas after intermission before falling 85-66 in Daniel-Meyer.
Committee on the Boards
TCU currently does not have a player averaging more than 5.0 rebounds per game this season, as Chudi Chinweze and Femi Ibikunle lead the squad with an average of 4.6. Since the 1955-56 season, no player has ever led the Frogs with fewer than 5.0 boards per game. The lowest average over that time was in the 1983-84 season when Paul Kapturkiewicz had a team-best 123 rebounds in 24 games (5.1 per contest).
Tightening Up the D
TCU is holding its opponents to just 69.8 points per game, which is the best figure for a Horned Frog team since 1991-92, when opponents averaged 66.3 points. TCU allowed 80.4 points per game last year as opponents shot 47.4 percent from the floor. This year, TCU is limiting opponents to 43.6 percent.
It Double Figures
TCU had a season-best five players reach double figures in scoring on Tuesday against Marquette. The Frogs' previous high was four players on three occasions.
Bustin' Out All Over
With 85 points against Marquette, TCU had its best offensive output in a Conference USA game since scoring 85 in an 88-85 overtime loss to UAB on Feb. 18, 2003. The last time TCU scored more than 85 points in a C-USA contest was on Jan. 22, 2003 in a 93-84 victory over Tulane, a span of 21 league games.
TCU has held 16 of its first 19 opponents under the 80-point mark. Last year, the Frogs allowed fewer than 80 points just 10 times in 28 games. In addition, TCU has held four teams to 60 or fewer points already this year. The last time that TCU held as many as four teams to 60 or fewer points was in 1991-92.
Shutting Down the Unranked
While TCU's season defensive average is 69.8 points per game, the three teams ranked in the top 25 when the schools met (Kansas, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati) averaged 88.3 per tilt. That means the the rest of the teams TCU has played are scoring at just a 66.3 clip.
Doing Double Time
TCU has played at least 10 players in each of the first 18 games of the season. All 10 of those Horned Frogs are averaging more than 10 minutes per game.
On the Road in C-USA
TCU, 2-1 this year in league road matches, is now 4-15 (.210) all-time in Conference USA road contests. The team went 2-6 in 2001-02 and 0-8 in 2002-03. TCU's victories are over UAB and Tulane in 2002 and Houston and Marquette in 2004.
TCU is averaging 77.6 points per game in the team's eight victories, topping the 70-point mark in six of those games. In the Frogs' 11 losses this year, the team is averaging 59.5 points per game and has not broken 70 in any of those contests.
You Don't Think Defense Matters?
In TCU's eight victories, its opponents have shot just 38.6 percent (173-for-448), while in the Frogs' 11 losses the opposition has made 47.2 percent of its attempts (298-for-632).
It's 80s Night
TCU is now 6-27 (.182) under Coach Dougherty when scoring fewer than 80 points and 11-3 (.786) when reaching the 80-point mark. TCU has scored 1,415 points (83.2 points per game) in Coach D's 17 victories and 1,965 points (65.5) in the 30 losses.
A.C. Comes Up B.I.G.
Junior Aaron Curtis nearly doubled his career high of eight with a 15-point burst at Marquette. The native of Grand Prairie, Texas, was 5-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range. Prior to going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc on Tuesday, Curtis had made just 3 of his last 27 three-point tries (.111) over the previous 11 games.
Grand Prairie Representin'
Former South Grand Prairie H.S. teammates Marcus Shropshire and Aaron Curtis combined for 35 points on Tuesday at Marquette. The duo was 12-of-22 (.545) shooting overall and went 9-for-15 (.600) from downtown.
Traditionally Speaking - Teams
The Frogs' losses have come against schools with basketball success recently. In the last 10 years, the 11 schools--Kansas (10), Cincinnati (10), Tulsa (8), Murray State (5), Saint Louis (4), Memphis (3), Texas Tech (2), Vanderbilt (1), DePaul (1), Washington State (1) and Arkansas State (1)--have combined to make 46 NCAA Tournament appearances, an average of 4.2 per team.
Traditionally Speaking - Coaches
In addition to playing tough teams, TCU has also faced a bevy of successful coaches. Washington State coach Dick Bennett took eighth-seeded Wisconsin to the 2000 NCAA Final Four; Kansas mentor Bill Self led underdog Tulsa to the Elite Eight (2000); Texas Tech coach Bob Knight previously directed Indiana to three NCAA Titles (1976, 1981, and 1987) and Final Fours in 1973 and 1992; Cincinnati's Bob Huggins took the Bearcats to the 1992 Final Four; Memphis' John Calipari made a trip to the Final Four with UMass in 1996 and Marquette coach Tom Crean guided the Golden Eagles in the 2003 Final Four. Knight, Huggins, Calipari and Louisville coach Rick Pitino all began the season ranked among the top 12 active coaches in winning percentage.
Smoothing Out the Bumps in the Road
TCU's last-second thriller over Houston on Jan. 13 snapped the Frogs' 13-game road road losing streak. After a loss at Cincinnati and a victory at Marquette, TCU has now won two of its last three away from home. Prior to that, TCU had won just two road games in the previous 16 tries. Before upsetting Marquette in Milwaukee on Feb. 3, TCU's last win outside the state of Texas was Feb. 26, 2002 at Tulane (106-87).
Subs Point Production Sinking
Since Chudi Chinweze and Marcus Shropshire joined the starting lineup the TCU bench has not been as potent on the scoring end. With the duo coming off the bench in the first nine games of the season, TCU averaged 32.4 bench points per game and outstcored its opponents 292-178. Since they cracked the starting lineup 10 games ago, TCU has averaged just 16.7 points from the substitutes and have been outscored by opponents by a 187-167 margin.
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
After opening the season 1-4, the Horned Frogs have played .500 basketball, having been victorious in seven of the last 14 games.
Here's Something to Chudi On
Chudi Chinweze is currently ranks second in Conference USA in field goal percentage at .584 (73-for-125). He had season highs in points (18) and rebounds (12) at Houston, recording the Frogs' first double-double of the season in the process. He also put back a Marcus Shropshire miss with no time remaining to give the Horned Frogs a thrilling 55-54 victory.
Here Comes Santee Claus
TCU junior guard Corey Santee became the 27th player in TCU history to reach the 1,000-point plateau when he scored 16 on Dec. 10 in Lubbock. The native of Flint, Mich., now has 1,165 career points, which ranks 15th. He is on pace for more than 1,700 points, a figure that would rank third in school annals behind only Darrell Browder (1,886) and Carven Holcombe (1,734).
The Team's Nucleus
Senior Nucleus Smith, the team's lone three-year letterwinner, has reached double figures in scoring in four of his last five games, including a season-high 16-point performance at Marquette. The only time in his career that he has had a more productive period was a seven-game stretch in his freshman season, in which he reached double figures in six games and averaged 13.7 points per game.
Femi Ibikunle has started all 19 games thus far for TCU, making him the first true freshman to start the first 19 games of a season since Juan Bragg in 1994-95. Bragg, who opened all 26 games, was the Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year. Since 1990, just three true freshmen have started at least 26 games in a season for TCU (Damion Walker-27, Jeff Jacobs-27 and Bragg-26).
Shrop 'Til You Drop
Junior transfer Marcus Shropshire has led TCU in scoring a team-best 11 times through 19 games and has reached double figures in 13 of the last 15 games. On Dec. 10 he drained a then-career-best 18 points against his former team, the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Sixteen of his team-high total came following intermission. He also owns three of TCU's four 20-plus scoring games of the season, notching 26 against Grambling State on Dec. 29 and registering a career-high and 29 points against Southern Miss on Jan. 28. The 29 points were the most by a TCU player since Junior Blount had 33 at SMU on Nov. 24, 2002. He had a game-high 20 at Marquette, keyed by making his first four three-point attempts in the game's opening seven minutes.
Marcus, Don't Shrop Shootin' 'Em
After starting the year 1-for-3 from the free throw line, Marcus Shropshire has nailed 36 of his last 37 shots from the charity stripe. He made 26 straight free throws prior to a miss in his final attempt at Houston on Jan. 13. On Wednesday against Southern Miss he was 10-for-10 from the line. He was the 13th player in TCU history to be perfect from the line when shooting at least 10 free throws in a game.
If It's Free, It's For Me
Marcus Shropshire currently leads Conference USA in free throw shooting at 92.5 percent (37-for-40). In C-USA play, TCU owns two of the top five free throw shooters (Shropshire at 94.7 and Nucleus Smith at 85.3 percent). It is the second straight season that Smith has ranked among the league's top 10.
And This Backcourt Will Be Back
Juniors Corey Santee and Marcus Shropshire have become one of the most prolific scoring backcourts in Conference USA. Here is how the duo has performed against fellow starting backcourts in C-USA play.
Opponent (Players) TCU Opp
Saint Louis (Fisher, Bryant) 29 22
Tulane (Camper, Kinzer) 31 18
Houston (Oliver, Owens) 18 25
Cincinnati (N. Williams, F. Williams) 18 20
DePaul (D. Diener, Mejia) 27 21
Southern Miss (Haygood, Stiggers) 48 2
Memphis (Burks, Rice) 38 21
Marquette (T. Diener, Mason) 36 35
Total 245 164
Stepping It Up a Notch
Marcus Shropshire ranks 15th among C-USA players in scoring in all games at 13.6 points per contest and Corey Santee is 17th at 13.4. However, in league games, Shropshire rates tied for fifth (16.4 ppg) and Santee sits in 11th place (14.3). In conference games, the two starting guards are contributing 47.2 percent of the team's points (245 of 519).