Nov. 9, 2006
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What to Know
The Nov. 11 game is the second earliest date that TCU has ever opened a season in its 96 years of basketball history.
The only earlier season opener in school annals came on Nov. 9, 1998, when the team played at #23 Rhode Island as part of the CoSIDA Classic Tournament. TCU, coming off its lone NCAA Tournament appearance since 1987, dropped an 87-85 decision in that contest.
The average starting date for TCU over the past seven years is Nov. 19, eight days earlier than this year's first game.
In Season Openers
The Horned Frogs own a 59-36 (.621) record all time in season openers and have won five of their last six and 19 of their past 25 season debuts. Last year, TCU suffered a 68-59 loss to Tarleton State on Nov. 19.
Neil Dougherty sports a 3-1 record in season openers. TCU's three victories came by an average of 22.7 points per game.
TCU 46-13 (.780) all time in season-opening home games.
TCU has won 24 of its last 25 home openers. Prior to last year, the previous loss in a home opener came on Nov. 28, 1980, a 53-52 loss to Westmont College.
Many Happy Returns
Centenary Head Coach Rob Flaska served as a TCU assistant coach under Billy Tubbs for four seasons (1999-2002).
Flaska is one of two former Horned Frog assistants who will return to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum this year as head coaches. Wyoming's Steve McClain, who will visit Fort Worth on Feb. 28, is the other.
The Horned Frogs Against the Gents
TCU and Centenary have met 18 times previously, with the Horned Frogs holding a slim 10-8 lead in the all-time series.
TCU has won three straight and six of its last seven versus the Gents.
The Frogs are 7-4 against Centenary in Fort Worth and have won six of the last seven games that have been played in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
One-third (6) of the games in the series have been decided by five points or less.
Then first-year head coach Neil Dougherty's Horned Frogs defeated Centenary by a 102-89 final on Jan. 4, 2003, in the most recent clash between the two schools. That game marks the last time that the Frogs eclipsed the 100-point mark in regular-season action.
No current Horned Frog has ever played against Centenary.
TCU tipped off its 2006-07 season last Thursday night by rolling to a 103-64 exhibition victory over Lithuania Academy.
The Horned Frogs forced 40 turnovers, which included 28 steals, and attempted nearly twice as many shots (76) as Lithuania (41) in TCU's lone exhibition contest of the year.
Six Horned Frogs hit double figures, led by a pair of newcomers. Sophomore forward Kevin Langford scored a game-high 18 points, while freshman guard Keion Mitchem poured in 16 on 7-of-10 shooting.
For the game, the Horned Frogs dished out 25 assists on their 39 made field goals and connected on better than 50 percent of their shots.
Lithuania shot 66.7 percent in the first half (12-for-18), but just 34.8 in the second (8-of-23).
TCU had a 44-32 halftime edge before outscoring Lithuania 59-32 in the second stanza.
The Returning Five
TCU has just five returning players, but the group has made a total of 388 appearances, an average of 78 per player.
In addition, the quintet has combined for 138 starts, which figures to 28 per individual - the equivalent of a full season per player.
Femi Ibikunle leads the contingent with 76 career starts. He is followed by Neiman Owens (30), Brent Hackett (29) and Neil P. Dougherty (3).
Hackett is the team's top returning scorer at 10.4 points per game.
Ibikunle is the leading returning rebounder (3.0).
Owens started 30 of the 31 games last year, the most by any returnee.
Dougherty and Blake Adams set career highs in every category last year.
Get Your Programs
The Horned Frogs have seven newcomers on the team's 12-man roster: two junior transfers (Ryan Wall and Alvardo Parker), one sophomore transfer (Kevin Langford), and four true freshmen (Jason Ebie, Keion Mitchem, Martiese Morones and Luke Tauscher).
In addition, walk-ons Carter Dunbar and David Fishel will suit up.
In the exhibition game, the five scholarship newcomers who played accounted for 52 points, three more than the five returnees tallied (49).
Langford (3 with California) and Wall (1 with New Mexico) have previous starting experience at their former colleges.
Home Sweet Home
TCU is 376-224 (.627) in 600 home games since Daniel-Meyer Coliseum opened in 1961.
Over the past 10 seasons, the Horned Frogs are 116-49 (.703) in DMC and have won at least 10 home games seven times over that span.
The Horned Frogs went just 3-13 (.188) in games decided by 10 or fewer points last year.
In the previous three seasons under Neil Dougherty, the Frogs had a 21-24 (.467) mark in those games (8-6 in 2004-05; 7-9 in 2003-04; 6-9 in 2002-03).
Lone Star Links
Eight of TCU's 12 scholarship players hail from the state of Texas. Five come from the Fort Worth-Dallas metroplex, while three grew up in the Houston area.
Prior to Brent Hackett's arrival in the fall of 2004, TCU had not signed a player from Fort Worth since Juan Bragg in 1994.
Talk About Some Family Coaching Trees
The TCU staff has worked for or played for six current college head coaches (Jim Boeheim, Billy Donovan, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and Roy Williams) who have won national championships.
Head Coach Neil Dougherty was recruited by and played one year for Krzyzewski at Army and served as a Williams assistant for seven seasons at Kansas.
Assistant coach Rick Callahan began his career by serving six years on Boeheim's staff at Syracuse.
Director of operations Sean Woods played for Pitino at Kentucky, while Donovan and Smith served as assistants on the Wilcats' staff.
Some Real Family Trees
The Horned Frogs have two father-son combinations, as Head Coach Neil Dougherty is the father of Neil P. Dougherty, while Director of Operations Sean Woods is the father of freshman guard Martiese Morones.
Comparisons to the Killer
TCU head coach Neil Dougherty is in his fifth year at the helm of the Horned Frogs' program. The first four years of his career bear a striking resemblance to the first four years of Jim Killingsworth's TCU reign.
Through four years, Killingsworth owned a 57-61 record with one 20-win season and one National Invitation Tournament appearance (1983). Dougherty went 48-75 in his first four years with one 20-win campaign and an NIT appearance in 2005.
Killingsworth's teams faced 13 ranked teams over that time, winning twice, incuding one top-10 win. Dougherty's squads have played 15 nationally-ranked opponents, winning once against a top-10 team.
Killingsworth, who ranks third on the school's all-time victories list with a 130-106 record in eight seasons and took the team to one NCAA Tournament, had an 11-17 record in year five. He was 68-78 (.466) his first five years and 62-28 (.689) in his final three prior to retiring.
Former Frogs in the Pros
Six former Horned Frogs who played for Coach Dougherty at TCU are currently playing professional basketball.
The former TCU players in the pro ranks include: Jamal Brown (Australia: Geelong), Aaron Curtis (Lithuania), Bingo Merriex (Belgium: Dexia Mons-Hainaut), Nile Murry (Japan: Toyoma), Corey Santee (USA: Fort Worth) and Marcus Sloan (Germany: TV Lich).
Santee returns to Fort Worth this season to play for the Flyers under coach Sidney Moncrief.
Curtis was signed by Lithuania after playing a pair of exhibition games at TCU and Texas A&M for the Lithuania Academy traveling team.
Basketball is Religion
Neil Dougherty and the TCU team visited three churches on successive Sundays to open the practice season.
TCU attended the services and then practiced and held clinics for the parishioners at the churches' gyms following the services.