Feb. 25, 2005
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Setting the Scene
TCU (17-10, 7-6 C-USA) faces its third ranked opponent this season on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. when the Horned Frogs host the 24th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats (21-6, 9-4). The Frogs are seeking their eighth league win of the season, which would be the most for the school since joining Conference USA in 2002. TCU has won four of five conference games for the first time since 2000, when the team was in the Western Athletic Conference. TCU is 11-84 (.116) all time against teams ranked in the nation's top 25, including a 10-39 (.204) mark against top-25 teams in Fort Worth. The last rated school to visit Fort Worth was No. 10 Louisville on Feb. 17, 2004, and the Cardinals left following a 71-46 Frog blowout win.
Remembering Molly Hesselbrock - A Purple Angel
On Monday, Feb. 21, the TCU family suffered a tragic loss when Molly Hesselbrock, the daughter of longtime Associate Athletics Director Jack Hesselbrock, lost her courageous battle with cancer. The 14-year-old known for her infectious smile, positive attitude, love of family and ability to dance was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma eight months ago. Due to an overwhelming number of community members wishing to attend the memorial service, TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini offered the use of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum for the service, which is scheduled to take place on Friday afternoon. TCU has ordered a patch for the team's uniforms with the letters "MH" in her honor.
TCU trails the all-time series with Cincinnati 4-0, but three of the four games have been decided by fewer than 12 points. TCU has suffered a pair of defeats at the hands of the Bearcats since the two became league partners in the 2002 campaign. After not playing in 2002, Cincinnati earned an 83-72 victory in Fort Worth in 2003 and an 85-57 win in Cincinnati last year.
Heavyweights Collided in 1959
TCU and Cincinnati squared off at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. in the first round of the 1959 NCAA Tournament. The 16th-ranked Horned Frogs dropped a tough 77-73 final to the fifth-rated Bearcats. UC basketball legend Oscar Robertson drained 34 points to lead Cincinnati, while the Frogs were paced by All-Southwest Conference center H.E. Kirchner, who scored 25. Coincidentally, the loss forced TCU to face another future C-USA foe in the consolation round of the Midwest Regional, as the Frogs defeated DePaul 71-65.
TCU Individuals vs. Cincinnati
Corey Santee has played in two career games against the Bearcats and has averaged 11.5 points and 6.0 assists. Two other Horned Frogs (Marcus Sloan and Corey Valsin) have also played two lifetime games against UC. Sloan has averaged 1.0 points and 3.0 boards, while Valsin has posted 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. Marcus Shropshire had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in last year's meeting, while Aaron Curtis had eight points and six rebounds. In addition, Art Pierce had six points and three caroms.
Last Year's Meeting
The TCU Horned Frogs played well early, but the 10th-rated Cincinnati Bearcats were able to improve to 13-0 on the year with a strong final 25 minutes in an 85-57 Cincinnati win on Jan. 17 in Ohio. After TCU trailed by just three, 29-26, with 4:38 left in the first half, UC closed with a 15-5 run to lead 44-31 at the break. The Bearcats then came out and went on a 19-4 surge to open the stanza to secure the win. Marcus Shropshire and Nucleus Smith each had 11 points for TCU, who shot just 36.5 percent from the field, including 4-for-19 (.211) from three-point range.
All-Time Against the Top 25
The TCU Horned Frogs are 11-84 (.116) all time against teams ranked in the nation's top 25 and 0-2 this season after an 86-61 loss at No. 17 Louisville on Jan. 8. TCU is 10-39 (.204) against top-25 teams in Fort Worth. This is the first nationally-rated team to visit Cowtown since #10 Louisville on Feb. 17, 2004. The Cardinals departed with a 71-46 defeat, which is TCU's most recent top-25 win.
Have Ball, Will Play
Cincinnati will be the 13th ranked opponent that TCU has played in Coach Dougherty's 85th game at the helm of the program (1 per every 6.5 games). Prior to his arrival, the Horned Frogs played just seven ranked teams from the 1998-99 season through the 2001-02 campaign, a span of 124 games (1 per every 17.7 games). During the entire decade of the 1990s, TCU competed against just 19 ranked teams in 303 games (1 per every 15.9 games). TCU is 1-11 against top-25 teams under Dougherty.
Thinkin' `Bout Postseason
TCU is looking to make its first postseason tournament appearance since the 1998-99 season, which was capped off by a showing 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.
Planting the Seed
If the Conference USA Tournament started today, the TCU Horned Frogs would be the No. 7 seed and would face the 10th-seeded Saint Louis Billikens (4-9) in the tournament's first round. TCU owns an identical league record (7-6) as UAB, but the Horned Frogs own the tiebreaker over the Blazers, who would be the eighth seed, because the Frogs won the head-to-head meeting earlier this season. The top 12 teams in the conference standings will earn a trip to Memphis for the event, which will be played from March 9-12 at the FedExForum.
Accomplishing Big Things
The Horned Frogs have won four of five conference games for the first time since the team was in the Western Athletic Conference in 2000. In addition, TCU is just three wins away from its first 20-win season since the 2000-01 campaign (20-11). TCU has posted a total of 10 20-win seasons in the school's basketball history.