March 1, 2005
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Setting the Scene
The TCU Horned Frogs (17-11, 7-7 C-USA) will look to clinch the team's first-ever .500 record in Conference USA play when they face the USF Bulls (11-14, 4-10) on Wednesday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. It is the final home game for five Horned Frog seniors: Corey Santee, Marcus Sloan, Corey Valsin, Marcus Shropshire and Aaron Curtis. TCU has won the last two meetings between the schools, including a 54-51 win last year in Tampa. A victory would be the 14th home triumph of the season for TCU, which would match the third highest home win total in school history. TCU has won four of its last six games, while USF has dropped four of its previous five contests.
TCU trails the all-time series with USF 4-3 but has won the last two meetings with the Bulls. Two of the last three games have been decided by four points or less, including a 54-51 TCU victory in Tampa, Fla. last February. The last time the Bulls visited Fort Worth, they left following a 75-63 defeat in TCU's final game of the 2002-03 campaign. TCU's lone home loss to USF came on Feb. 16, 2002, when the Horned Frogs suffered an 88-74 setback in their inaugural Conference USA campaign.
The Last Meeting
Corey Santee scored 25 points, including 13 of his team's 22 second half points, to lead TCU to a 54-51 victory over USF in Conference USA basketball. TCU used an 11-2 run to start each half and led by as many as 14 points. But USF held TCU scoreless for a 5:38 stretch late in the game, cutting the Horned Frogs' lead to 50-49 with 3:32 left to play. TCU's Marcus Shropshire ended the drought with a 15-foot jumper to make it 52-49. The Bulls, who never led in the game, had a chance to tie when Terrence Leather missed a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer. Leather led the Bulls with 20 points and nine rebounds. Brian Swift was USF's only other double-figure scorer with 13 points. TCU also got double-digits from Chudi Chinweze, with 10, while Femi Ibikunle helped by pulling in nine rebounds.
TCU Individuals vs. USF
Corey Santeee has averaged 16.4 points and 6.0 assists in five previous meetings with USF. He recorded one of his three career double-doubles against the Bulls as a freshman, when he scored 18 points and doled out 11 assists. Last year, he poured in 25 of TCU's 54 points in a 54-51 victory. Marcus Sloan and Corey Valsin have also played five games against the Bulls. Sloan had seven rebounds in the 2002-03 season finale, while Valsin had eight points in that meeting. Marcus Shropshire scored nine points in last year's game, while Aaron Curtis added seven points and three rebounds.
Home is Where the Wins Are
TCU owns a 13-3 mark 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 369-214 (.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 131-44 (.749). TCU's 13 home wins rank as the sixth most in school history. A victory on Wednesday would match the third-highest total in school annals.
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 (7-7) would be the No. 8 seed and would face the 9th-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles (6-8) in the tournament's first round. TCU has won three straight meetings with Marquette over the past two seasons. TCU can be no higher than the fifth seed at the tournament and no lower than the No. 9 seed. The top 12 teams in the conference standings earn a trip to Memphis for the event, which will be played from March 9-12 at the FedExForum.
Accomplishing Big Things
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.
A Little Bracketology
Seven TCU opponents are picked to advance to the 2005 NCAA Tournament according to Joe Lunardi's most recent Bracketology report on ESPN.com (Feb. 28). Lunardi's current tourney teams on the Frogs' 2004-05 schedule and their predicted seeds include: #2 Kansas, #3 Louisville, #5 Charlotte, #6 Cincinnati, #7 Texas Tech, #8 DePaul and #13 Old Dominion. TCU is currently 1-6 against those teams, but played four of the games on the road. In addition, Horned Frog foes Memphis, Houston and Vanderbilt appear on the "Last Four Out" and "Next Four Out" lists.
Who Turned on the A.C.?
Senior forward Aaron Curtis has averaged 8.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game over his last 18 contests after posting 4.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game over the Frogs' first 10 games. Curtis has reached double figures in points six times over the past 18 games after reaching that mark just twice in his first 39 contests in purple. He had 13 points and a career-high nine rebounds at DePaul and 11 points and eight boards vs. UAB, narrowly missing his first career double-doubles. He netted a career-high 22 points against Cincinnati on Feb. 23, easily breaking his previous high of 15 set last year at Marquette.