Dec. 2, 2004
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Setting the Scene
The TCU Horned Frogs (4-2) take on the North Texas Mean Green (3-1) on Saturday night in Denton. It is the 74th meeting between the two schools and the fourth straight season that the two schools have competed. Each of the last three games in the series has been decided by seven points or less. North Texas is the fourth instate opponent in the Frogs' first seven games. This is the third game of a four-game road trip for the Horned Frogs, who are 1-1 outside of Fort Worth this season. TCU is looking to improve to 5-2 for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign. The Mean Green's lone loss was a 14-point decision at Alabama, who is currently ranked 22nd in the nation.
About the Matchup
The Frogs have won two straight and six of the past seven against the Mean Green. TCU head coach Neil Dougherty and North Texas head coach Johnny Jones are longtime friends. Dougherty was an assistant coach at Vanderbilt (1989-93) and South Carolina (1993-95), while Jones was an assistant with Southeastern Conference rival LSU during each of those seasons. Dougherty owns a 2-0 head-to-head record against Jones.
Wrapping Up the Classic
TCU finished the Corpus Christi Caller-Times Classic with a 2-2 record. The Horned Frogs picked up victories over Shawnee State (74-60) and Florida State (71-70) and fell to Old Dominion (67-62) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (85-79). Playing in the NCAA exempt tournament allows the Horned Frogs to have a 30-game regular-season schedule, three more than the maximum of 27 that is allowed.
Early and Often
The TCU Horned Frogs played six games in the first 10 days of the regular season meaning that 20 percent of the team's regular-season games (6 of 30) have already been completed. The team's regular season extends from Nov. 19 through March 5, a span of 107 days, meaning that TCU was just 10 percent of the way through the season in terms of date. The Frogs received a five-day respite prior to traveling north on I-35 to Denton to take on the North Texas Mean Green. It is the first time this season that the Horned Frogs had more than one day between games.
It's a Long Road Back
After playing North Texas, a trip to No. 2 Kansas for a nationally-televised ESPN game awaits TCU on Thursday, Dec. 9. The team will return home from a four-game road trip on Sunday, Dec. 12, when the Frogs take on Metroplex rival SMU. After playing their first four games at home, the Frogs will have played five of their next six contests on the road. Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 20, TCU will have had just one home game.
The Last Meeting
The TCU Horned Frogs and North Texas Mean Green locked up in a defensive struggle last year that resulted in a 62-58 home victory for the Frogs. Neither team enjoyed a lead of greater than five points at any time in a game that featured 20 lead changes and 15 ties. The Horned Frogs went on top for good with 4:13 left to play on a Chudi Chinweze free throw that made the score 53-52. Leading by one with less than a minute remaining, TCU went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 44 seconds to seal the victory.
Lone Star Statement
TCU had won seven of its previous eight games (and five straight) against teams from the state of Texas until the team fell to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday night. TCU will play eight games against teams from the Lone Star State this season. Of the Frogs' first nine opponents, five are instate foes. North Texas is the fourth opponent from Texas faced by TCU this year.
It's Been Close
Each of TCU's last three games have been decided by six points or less. The Horned Frogs suffered a pair of narrow losses, falling 67-62 to Old Dominion and 85-79 to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi prior to picking up a one-point victory (71-70) over Florida State. In the three years under Neil Dougherty, 24 of the 63 games (38 percent) have been decided by six or fewer points. TCU is 9-15 in those games, but is 8-7 in the past two years after going 1-8 in the first season.
By One, Two or Three
After nipping Florida State by a 71-70 count on Sunday night in the Corpus Christi Challenge, TCU improved to 5-4 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 four of their last five games which have been determined by three or less. To the right is a list of the one-possession contests during the Dougherty era.
Won By One
TCU's one-point victory over Florida State was the first one-point game for the school since a 55-54 triumph at Houston on Jan. 13, 2004. In that game, Houston native Chudi Chinweze scored on a putback at the buzzer to give the Horned Frogs the victory. Prior to that, TCU's last one-point decision came at San Jose State, a 91-90 loss, on Feb. 24, 2001. Against FSU, the Horned Frogs did not make a field goal for the last 4:45 of the contest and scored just one point in the final 3:15, but were able to hang onto their slim lead.
In the Driver's Seat
TCU recorded its first true comeback victory of the year on Sunday night in Corpus Christi. The Horned Frogs trailed Florida State by as many as nine in the first half and were down four at intermission. It was the first time in TCU's six games on the year that the team which trailed at the midpoint of the contest earned the win. In TCU's first three victories, the Frogs took control of the games prior to intermission. The Horned Frogs led the final 34:01 in their victory over Texas-Arlington, the last 31:24 in their win over Shawnee State and the final 21:07 of their triumph over Texas Tech.
TCU drained 11 three-pointers in each of the team's two contests in Corpus this weekend. On Sunday, TCU launched 25 three-pointers against Florida State, just 24 hours after putting up 32 attempts from beyond the arc against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The 32 attempts against Corpus matched the eighth-most ever tried by the Frogs in a single game. TCU has made at least 10 threes a total of 11 occasions under head coach Neil Dougherty. It was the first time TCU made double-figure three-pointers in back-to-back games since having 13 against USF and 10 against Memphis during the 2003 Conference USA campaign.
Making It Tough
The Horned Frogs are limiting their opponents to just 42.0 percent shooting from the field on the year. The school record for field goal percentage defense is held by the 1985-86 squad, which held the opposition to 41.5 percent shooting (711-for-1713).