With yesterday's announcement that TCU is headed to the Big East in 2012, I was pretty excited about Horned Frog athletics and decided to make the drive over to Fort Worth for the basketball game against USC. Jim Christian and the Frogs made it worth my while, downing the Trojans 81-69 to push their season record to 5-2.
This was my first in-person look at this year's squad, so I'll talk about the product on the court first. The biggest difference, to me, is the addition of Hank Thorns at point guard. Having a true 1 out there has allowed Tuffy Moss to flourish as a shooting guard, giving the Frogs their best scoring threat since Corey Santee. This year's Frogs also have a much better ability to finish plays- Garlon Green, Sammy Yeager (despite an uncharacteristically cold shooting night) and J.R. Cadot all got the crowd on their feet with emphatic dunks. I don't want to put thoughts of the Final Four in people's heads or anything, but this is a team that will be refreshingly distant from the conference cellar.
While many believe that the Frogs will need a great improvement to be able to compete in the Big East, I think the biggest need for improvement with this program is in the stands. The box score will tell you there were a little over 4,000 there last night, but I'm not sure a TCU basketball box score has ever reported anything under about 3,500...and I've been at some games with much, MUCH fewer fans than that.
Don't get me wrong, here- I'm keenly aware of the status of this program over the past few years, so I'm not expecting Daniel-Meyer to be rivaling Cameron Indoor right now. But the student section last night was completely non-existant. I did spy a few pockets of what looked like current frat dudes, but they looked as if they couldn't have been less enthusiastic or likely to stand up or cheer.
It doesn't take much to make that arena loud and boisterous, but it does take more than nothing. I assume ticket sales will skyrocket once the team starts playing a Big East schedule, but it'd be nice if the crowd weren't 100% newcomers come 2012.