Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Hint: TCU is the janitor.
Welp, so much for all that optimism. Nine days after coming up short against Nebraska for the billionth year in a row, the Frogs came out flat in Southern California and were ultimately run off the floor by a final score of 83-59. The Frogs never held a lead in the game and were at one point trailing by 27 before cutting it to the final 24 point margin. Hank Thorns and Craig Williams were the only Frogs in double figures and they turned the ball over 20 times as a team while only forcing 4 of their own. That last figure right there is the recipe for total and complete basketFAIL.
Seeing as how TCU games haven't quite become the national television draw of, say, Duke or Kansas, like all of you I wasn't able to watch it, forced to follow along with sporadic Sportacular updates on my phone until I went to bed sometime in the first half. But, considering the Frogs were never able to pull within 10 after the half, I think I can safely say I have no regrets for getting a good night's rest.
But even though this was clearly a one sided affair - USC won the turnover and assist battles and had 4 players score in double figures led by Maurice Jones' 25 - let's try and sugarcoat this thing just a bit. What the hell, I'm feeling generous.
Despite the discrepancy in the final score, TCU actually DID win the rebounding margin 30-28. They also... umm... ok, that's about the only happy thing.
Every team is due a game where they come out flat, nothing improves and they leave the gym with a severe beating by a superior squad. But should USC have really been 24 points better than TCU? Keep in mind, the Pac 12 is basically the Big East of the AQ Conferences in a basketball sense. In fact, it's possible to argue that the MWC could actually be stronger top to bottom. And USC is firmly at the bottom, not just of their conference, but of the entire NCAA. They came into the game averaging 56 points, 29 boards, 9.5 rebounds and an overall FG % of 42. Those first three numbers put them above 300 in the overall stat rankings. The Frogs came in averaging 14 more points, 4 more rebounds and 4 more assists per game. TCU has scored 70 or more points 7 times this season; USC lost to Cal Poly 42-36. FORTY TWO TO THIRTY SIX!! IN AN ENTIRE GAME!! The most points they'd scored all year was 66 against something called Cal State-Northridge. TCU didn't come into the game with impressive numbers on defense, but my GOD, man!! One blocked shot? ZERO steals?? That's not good for business. That's not good for anyone.
Admittedly, USC entered the game with one of the better defenses in the country, ranking 11th in allowing 55 points per game, but that's hardly an excuse for JR Cadot and Garlon Green, two of TCU's most dangerous scorers, combining for 11 points. Once again, the PGs didn't distribute - Thorns and Kyan Anderson combined for 7 - so that certainly played a role and it looks like if they want to be clutch they're going to have to create their own shots. Green is capable, but I'm not sure Cadot is. This makes me pretty nervous going forward. However, the most abject failure is certainly the inability of TCU to stop an anemic offense like the one USC ran out last night, and that does not bode well for the season going forward.
Hopefully this is just what I referred to it in the title - a setback. Not an implosion. Not a season ender. Just a setback. The Frogs have a favorable schedule coming up over the next month and have the potential to enter Conference play on a high note. But still... even a sub par TCU team should've beaten this particular squad of Trojans by double figures. Just an absolutely disastrous outing. The general consensus is that Jim Christian is "The Guy" for our program. If that's the case, he's really got his work cut out for him after this one. Check the MWC standings - UNLV is ranked, SDSU is on the cusp and Wyoming has already won 11 games. Heck, New Mexico is expected to challenge and they're in fourth! Even presumed cellar dweller Boise is only one game away from double figures in wins, something TCU BARELY saw at all last year. I hate to take a 2 game slide and turn it into a doomsday scenario, but unless the Frogs can run off four straight against Grambling, Tulsa, Rice and Pan American to build some confidence, it could be another in an illustrious line of long seasons at Daniel Meyer.
Posted by Sir Wesley Willis at Tuesday, December 20, 2011