Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What to make of the Frogs' trip to St. Thomas?

For the handful of us out there that have remained TCU basketball fans through the Dougherty years and the beginning of the Jim Christian rebuilding project, Friday night was pretty awesome. My commute home became a 2-hour trip as I circled the block outside of my place, listening in awe as the heroics of Hank Thorns came through my speakers via KTCU and the Frogs eventually outlasted Virginia, 57-55, in the first round of the US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.

This program has been looking for a "signature win" that could simultaneously inspire confidence that the team could build on and rally the fanbase. Beating a team that was picked to finish 4th in the prestigious ACC would certainly seem to qualify. The number of texts I sent and received after the game (don't worry- I'd parked my car by then) and the number of facebook posts I saw regarding the win told me that TCU fans definitely took notice. When I found out that the Frogs' next two games would be televised on FSN, they became appointment viewing in my household- since I don't get the mtn, these would be two of only a very few chances for me to see this emerging team play on television.

And then...they fell flat on their faces in double-digit losses to both Norfolk State and Ole Miss.

I'm no basketball X's and O's genius, but looking at the stats from the weekend are pretty telling. The intense, stifling defense that the Frogs used to upset UVA went away after that- TCU went from allowing UVA to shoot 37.5% to allowing Norfolk State to shoot 47.6% to letting Ole Miss shoot a ridiculous 60.0% from the field. Sometimes opposing players just get hot- and Ole Miss' Murphy Holloway (20 points on 9-of-13 shooting) certainly did, but you've got to be able to prevent them from taking the shots they want to take and force them into lower-percentage attempts.

When the Frogs have the ball, they appear to be relying on the three-ball way too much. Over the course of their three games in St. Thomas, they were 10-of-47 from beyond the arc- including a 1-for-18 performance against Norfolk State. Through their first five games, they are shooting 23.4% from three-point land- which ranks them 321st in the nation. Obviously, shot selection is going to have to improve.

And then there's rebounding, where the Frogs used a 30-28 advantage to help them in the win against UVA...and then were beaten by a combined 17 on the boards the rest of the weekend. Their season average of 32.8 per contest ranks them 265th in the country, so again this is an area of the game where TCU needs to get better if they want to celebrate more wins like Friday night.

For the record, I am a Jim Christian guy. I think he's done a tremendous job considering the bare cupboard that he inherited and some of the unfortunate team chemistry obstacles that have hindered progress in his first few years in Fort Worth. I think he's gradually overcoming those issues by overhauling his staff and rethinking the type of players he recruits to the program, but it's not going to happen overnight- or even in a long weekend in the Caribbean, as we've just learned. Hopefully he and his team will pattern more of the rest of their season off of the win over Virginia rather than the two losses.


Sir Wesley Willis said...

With Iran going nuclear, the world financial markets crashing, Obama in the White House and TCU beating an ACC Contender in basketball, it's been a popular opinion that perhaps the Mayans are correct and the world really WILL end in 2012.
I encourage these people to read this summary post for reassurances because, when the world looks like its in danger of spinning off of its axis, know that the Frogs basketball team is still capable of allowing 60% shooting and losing by double digits to teams named after states that don't exist. There's your constant in this crazy world.

EdK said...

I can't believe you're knocking Obama, SWW. Oh, right, you're a Texan. When is that George W. Bush monument going up so I can piss on it?

Sir Wesley Willis said...

Oh yeah, I forgot, all the worlds troubles are bush's fault even though Obama has had an entire term to make his fixes. Forgive me

Rotten Arsenal said...

Knock it off... if I want unsolicited political bickering I can go to any other website in the universe.