Feb. 11, 2005
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Setting the Scene
The TCU Horned Frogs (15-9, 5-5 C-USA) have won two straight games heading into a key league matchup with the UAB Blazers (16-6, 6-3) on Saturday night at 7 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. The Frogs are in hot pursuit of their first postseason tournament berth since 1999, when the team appeared in the National Invitation Tournament. TCU enters the game with an impressive 12-2 home record, which includes a 4-1 mark during the C-USA ledger. This is TCU's second straight game, and eight overall this season, against a team predicted by ESPN.com to make the field of 65. Six of the Horned Frogs' last eight games have been decided by single digits, with the average margin of victory over that time being just 6.8 points per game.
UAB leads the all-time series between the two Conference USA schools by a 5-2 count, and the Blazers have won three straight meetings, including an 87-62 win in Birmingham last March. TCU is 1-2 all time against UAB in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Both of the schools' clashes in the 2003 Conference USA season went into overtime, with the Blazers earning a two-point win in Birmingham and a three-point victory in Fort Worth. Five of the seven games in the series have been decided by 10 or fewer points.
TCU Individuals vs. UAB
Corey Santee has averaged 13.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in five meetings against the Blazers. Corey Valsin has posted 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds over five previous games against UAB. Marcus Shropshire had eight points, three assists and five turnovers in last year's contest. Marcus Sloan dragged down six boards last year, while Femi Ibikunle added eight points. Blake Adams posted a conference-high seven points, while Neil P. Dougherty established a career high with five points in the 2004 contest.
The Most Recent Meeting vs. UAB
UAB's Gabe Kennedy scored 18 points and Demario Eddins added 15 to lead UAB to an 87-62 victory over TCU. Corey Santee led TCU with 17 points. The game was tied 9-9 when Sidney Ball hit a 3-pointer to spark a 10-0 UAB run. The Blazers were in control the rest of the way. Eddins scored three straight baskets late in the first half as UAB blew the game open. UAB led by as many as 22 points in the first half and took a 45-28 halftime lead. The Blazers outrebounded TCU 21-9 and forced 15 turnovers in the first half. Ten of those turnovers were on UAB's steals. Kennedy and Eddins scored two baskets each to help UAB build a 26 point led early in the final half. TCU would get no closer than 19 points. Reserve guard Derrick Broom hit three 3-pointers as UAB opened up a 32-point lead down the stretch. UAB finished with a 38-31 advantage on the boards, with Kennedy and Eddins grabbing eight rebounds each.
Toast of Texas
While top-25 teams Texas and Texas Tech, along with a resurgent Texas A&M team, have still been garnering headlines, the TCU Horned Frogs have recorded just as many victories as their former Southwest Conference mates. TCU, which has improved to 15-9 on the year, has equaled the win totals of No. 22 Texas (15-7), No. 23 Texas Tech (15-5) and Texas A&M (15-5). In addition, the Frogs cruised past the Red Raiders, 83-68, in their head-to-head meeting earlier this year.
Marcus Shropshire hit a 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left Wednesday night as TCU came from behind to beat Marquette 63-62 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. TCU had trailed by 10 with six-plus minutes left but cut the margin to 62-60 prior to Shropshire hitting his fourth 3-pointer of the night. Marquette's Dameon Mason turned the ball over to end the game before the Golden Eagles could attempt a game-winning shot. Shropshire finished with 17 points to lead the Horned Frogs. Nile Murry added 15 points and Corey Santee had 12 for TCU, which won its third straight over Marquette. Travis Diener led Marquette with 19 points, including 5-of-9 3-pointers. Steve Novak and Joe Chapman each had 10 points. TCU led 33-27 at the half.
On the Marq Again
On Wednesday night, TCU defeated Marquette for the third straight time over the past two years, and is now 3-2 against the Golden Eagles since joining Conference USA. The Horned Frogs are one of just two teams in C-USA to own a winning record over Marquette over the past four years (Memphis, 2-0, is the other). While the Golden Eagles have managed just a 2-3 record versus the Frogs, they have done the following against perennial league powers: 6-2 against Louisville, 5-2 against DePaul, 3-3 against Cincinnati.
A Little Bracketology
Nine TCU opponents, including both of the Horned Frogs' foes this week (Marquette and UAB), are picked to advance to the 2005 NCAA Tournament according to Joe Lunardi's most recent Bracketology report on ESPN.com (Feb. 7). Lunardi's current tourney teams on the Frogs' 2004-05 schedule and their predicted seeds include: #1 Kansas, #3 Louisville, #6 Cincinnati, #6 Texas Tech, #9 DePaul, #10 Charlotte, #11 UAB, #11 Old Dominion and #13 Marquette. TCU is currently 2-5 against those teams, but played four of the games on the road. In addition, only Kansas and Louisville defeated TCU by more than seven points.
Close Encounters For the Sixth Time
Six TCU games this season have been decided by six points or less and the Frogs have a 3-3 mark in those contests. TCU has three impressive narrow victories: a one-point victory (71-70) over Florida State, a two-point win (61-59) at Memphis and a one-point win (63-62) vs. Marquette. The Horned Frogs have suffered a trio of narrow losses, falling 67-62 to Old Dominion, 85-79 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and 64-62 at DePaul. In the three years under Neil Dougherty, 25 of the 74 games (33.8 percent) have been decided by six or fewer points. TCU is 11-16 in those games, but 10-8 in the past two years after going 1-8 in the first season.
By One, Two or Three
After nipping Marquette by a 63-62 count on Wednesday night in DMC, TCU improved to 7-5 all time under Neil Dougherty in games decided by three points or less. After suffering defeats in three of the first four one-possession games under Coach D, the Horned Frogs have been victorious in six of their last eight games that have been determined by three or less and have won four of the last five. To the right is a list of the one-possession contests during the Dougherty era.
Won By One
TCU's one-point victory over Marquette on Wednesday night was the program's second single-point win of the season and third in the last two seasons. TCU also beat Florida State 71-70 in the Corpus Christi Challenge in November. In the 2004 C-USA season, the Horned Frogs defeated Houston 55-54 on a Chudi Chinweze buzzer beater.
Down to the Wire
Three TCU games in the Conference USA season have come down to shots in the final 8 seconds of the game. The Horned Frogs received a Corey Santee three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left to break a tie to give TCU a win at Memphis; Marcus Shropshire came up short on a three-point attempt with 4 seconds remaining in a 64-62 loss at DePaul; and Shropshire buried a three with 7.5 seconds left to give TCU a 63-62 win over Marquette.
TCU In Tight Games
TCU is 5-5 in games decided by 10 points or less this season and had lost three straight games that had been determined by that margin until a thrilling one-point win over Marquette on Wednesday night. The Horned Frogs have had three consecutive tough road losses, falling by eight points at Saint Louis, seven at Charlotte and just two at DePaul. Six of TCU's last eight games have been determined by fewer than 10 points after none of the previous 10 games was a single-digit contest. The last eight games have been decided by an average of just 6.8 points per game.
Thinkin' `Bout Postseason
TCU is looking to make its first postseason tournament appearance since the 1998-99 season, which was capped off by an appearance in the 1999 NIT. That year, the Frogs finished the campaign with a 21-11 record and reached the third round of the NIT after victories over Kansas State and Nebraska. TCU was upended by Oregon just one game prior to reaching the NIT semifinals in New York City. TCU's lone trip to the NCAA Tournament over the past 18 seasons came in 1998.
Home is Where the Wins Are
TCU is off to a 12-2 start at home this season, which is the most home victories in a year since the 2000-01 squad went 15-1 in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Since the building's opening in 1961, TCU has amassed a 368-213 (.633) record at home. Over the past 11 seasons, TCU's homecourt advantage has been even more pronounced, as the Frogs have posted an overall home mark of 130-43 (.751).