March 18, 2005
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Setting the Scene
The TCU Horned Frogs (20-13) will face the Western Michigan Broncos (20-12) in the round of 16 at the Postseason NIT on Monday night at 6 p.m. (CT) in Kalamazoo, Mich. This is the second consecutive Mid-American Conference opponent for the Horned Frogs, who made the most of their first postseason tournament game since 1999, defeating the Miami RedHawks, 60-58, on Wednesday night in Oxford, Ohio. TCU has averaged just 60.3 points per game over its last three games, but has won two of the three contests. After defeating Miami, who was 13-0 at home on the year, the Frogs have another stiff road test against the Broncos, who are 10-2 on their floor this season.
The TCU Horned Frogs and Western Michigan Broncos have never met on the hardwood. This is the sixth opponent this season that the Frogs have played for the first time (Shawnee State, Old Dominion, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Miami (OH) are the others). In addition, this is the second consecutive Mid-American Conference opponent in the National Invitation Tournament for the Horned Frogs.
One of the Flintstones
This is a homecoming for TCU senior guard Corey Santee, who hails from Flint, Mich. It is the first game he has played in his home state since becoming a Horned Frog. The city of Flint is 130 miles from Kalamazoo. It will be the second straight game that Santee will have a Flint contigent in attendance, as 30 family members and friends made the trek to Oxford, Ohio, on Wednesday.
All-Time in the NIT
TCU is making its first postseason tournament appearance since the 1998-99 season, which was capped off by a showing in the 1999 National Invitation Tournament. 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. The Horned Frogs have now appeared in six NITs, owning an 8-5 record (.615) over that time. TCU has reached the second round in all six appearances and reached the quarterfinals in both 1983 and 1999. In addition, TCU head coach Neil Dougherty and assistant coach Rick Callahan were assistants on the Vanderbilt staff in 1990, when the Commodores won the Postseason NIT.
Excited to Play Some More
Of the 15 players on TCU's roster, only one (Nile Murry) had appeared in postseason play during their collegiate careers prior to Wednesday night. The junior guard saw action in both the 2002 and 2003 National Invitation Tournaments while playing for Temple University. His 2002 Owl squad reached the semifinals in New York City prior to losing to Memphis. Temple ultimately defeated Syracuse in the consolation game to place third at the tournament.
OH What a Win
On Wednesday night, the Horned Frogs picked up a victory in the first round of the NIT, with a 60-58 decision over the Miami RedHawks in Oxford, Ohio. Miami was previously unbeaten (13-0) at home this year, while the Frogs entered the game with a 3-9 road mark. Junior guard Nile Murry stepped back for a 19-foot jumper with 3.8 seconds left to break the tie, and then stole the ensuing inbounds pass to secure the TCU victory. TCU is now 6-0 all time in first round NIT games. Senior guard Corey Santee had a team-high 18 points, including 16 in the first half, to lead the Frogs. TCU committed just eight turnovers on the evening en route to their 20th win, which is the most by the school since 2000-01 (20-11).
TCU has registered its first 20-win season since the 2000-01 campaign, when the Frogs finished 20-11. TCU has now posted a total of 11 20-win seasons in the school's 94-year basketball history. On Mar. 16 against Miami (Ohio), TCU recorded its 20th victory of the season, which is already eight more than last year's win total of 12 and more than double the 2002-03 figure of nine. One more victory would equal the team's win total from the past two years combined (21). In the past 13 seasons, TCU has now won at least 20 games five times. The last time the Horned Frogs won as many as 21 games was the 1998-99 campaign (21-11).
Down to the Wire
Six TCU games this season have come down to shots in the final 12 seconds of the game, and TCU is 4-2 in such battles. The Horned Frogs received a Corey Santee three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left to break a tie to give TCU a 61-59 win at Memphis; Marcus Shropshire misfired on a three-point attempt with 4 seconds remaining in a 64-62 loss at DePaul; Shropshire buried a trey with 7.5 seconds left to give TCU a 63-62 win over Marquette; Aaron Curtis came up short on a 30-footer at the buzzer after Southern Miss scored on a putback with 3.5 seconds remaining in a 66-64 Southern Miss victory; Santee buried a trey with 11.8 seconds remaining in overtime to break a tie against Marquette in the C-USA Tournament; and Nile Murry drained a 19-footer with 3.6 seconds left to give TCU a 60-58 road win over Miami (Ohio) in the National Invitation Tournament.
TCU In Tight Games
TCU is 7-6 in games decided by 10 points or less this season. The Horned Frogs had four tough league road losses, falling by eight points at Saint Louis, seven at Charlotte and just two at DePaul and Southern Miss. Three of the last four TCU games have been determined by fewer than 10 points (actually all three were by three points or less) after five straight games were double-digit contests.
Close Encounters For the Ninth Time
Nine TCU games this season have been decided by six points or less and the Frogs have a 5-4 mark in those contests. In the three years under Neil Dougherty, 30 of the 90 games have been decided by six or fewer points. TCU is 13-17 in those games, but 12-9 in the past two years after going 1-8 in the first season. After squeaking past Miami (Ohio) by a 60-58 count on Mar. 16, TCU is now 9-6 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 eight of their last 11 games that have been determined by three or less and have won six of the last eight.
Against 2005 NCAA Squads
Seven TCU opponents on the 2004-05 schedule advanced to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The teams and their seeds include: #3 Kansas, #4 Louisville, #6 Texas Tech, #7 Charlotte, #7 Cincinnati, #11 UAB and #12 Old Dominion. TCU had a 2-6 record against those teams, but played five of the games on the road.
Against 2005 NIT Teams
TCU has faced six teams (DePaul, Houston, Marquette, Memphis, Miami (OH) and Vanderbilt) that reached the 2005 NIT a total of nine times this season. The Horned Frogs have managed a 5-4 record against those foes. TCU was 2-0 against Marquette, 1-0 vs. Miami, 1-1 vs. Memphis, 1-1 against Houston, 0-1 vs. DePaul and 0-1 against Vanderbilt). Of TCU's 33 games, 17 have been against teams that reached postseason play (either NCAA or NIT).