Monday, December 12, 2011

Belated Hoop Thoughts.

Not even the allure of Ol' South's artery melting goodness couldn't bring out the fans
If you weren't one of the ones who took the Ol' South Bribe - and by the looks of the TV broadcast, there weren't many - or have satellite television, you missed a great first half... and an absolutely abysmal second half in TCU's 69-57 loss to Nebraska. If fact, I missed the second half altogether, as things like "food" and "alcohol" took precedence over sitting at home on a Saturday night and subjecting my family to the same ole losing ways. So I'm clearly not even qualified to be writing this, but I'm going ahead anyway. DEAL!!

What's particularly sad about this loss is that, as I hinted earlier, the Frogs looked pretty damned good in the first half and were on their way to a 10 point halftime lead. But with time winding down, Nebraska guard Bo Spencer hit an off balance half court runner to cut the lead to 7 heading into the break. It's hard to say that one play like that can completely change a basketball game, but considering Nebraska held TCU to 4 points in the first eight minutes of the second half and took the lead right before the 10 minute mark, you'd be hard pressed to argue otherwise. The Frogs shot 24% in the second half and only 36% overall to Nebraska's 51% and, despite having pre-season all Conference distributor Hank Thorns, the Frogs lost the assist battle 7-12.

A few more things to takeaway from the game. Can a man get some bullet points?
  • As mentioned in the preview, neither team rebounds particularly well and the 28-27 advantage in favor of the Huskers reflects that. On the one hand, the Frogs DID hold the Huskers below their season average, suggesting they took away scoring opportunities from their opponent who only grabbed 6 offensive boards. On the other, TCU was 18-50 from the field and only grabbed 10 offensive boards. 10 isn't a bad number, but if their shots aren't falling first time around, they're going to have to be more aggressive down low to survive going forward.
  • Hank Thorns has changed his attitude a bit. In the past, he's been a true distributor, looking to get others their shot before he puts up his own. Now... well, at least for Saturday, he was a BIT of a ballhog. TWO assists against a 5/17 night shooting? Probably not what Jim Christian wants to see from his PG. However, like in the past, Thorns isn't afraid to take the ball to the hole, leading the team with 8 FTAs, drilling 7, easily the best on the team. You walk a fine line with Thorns. He's definitely your team leader and your starting PG and he's already proven to be a crunch time guy this year. However, if your PG is going to get his points, you'd like him to get his assists too, which is not a balance he has hit this year. I'd say it's the lack of talent surrounding him as much as anything else, but as we've seen with JR Cadot and Garlon Green, that's not the case. I look for them to be more involved going forward. Speaking of...
  • Garlon Green was absolutely SILENT Saturday evening, at least by his standard, finishing with 13 points on 3/6 shooting. Part of this is because Kyan Anderson, 15 points on 6/11, and Hank took 20 of the team's 25 second half attempts - spoiler alert: this is bad - but he needs to be more aggressive because he's the most natural scorer on the team. And Cadot was worse, going 0-5 from the field and finishing with 3 points. We aren't going to win many games without both of those guys hitting double figures; when Cadot doesn't even make one FG, we won't win one.
  • Kyan Anderson is clearly going to be a bright spot on this roster over the next three seasons and he's already developed so much the staff has him playing in the backcourt simultaneously with Thorns despite sharing a position. However, as mentioned above, he took one of his mentor's bad habits to heart Saturday night and was a BIT of a ball hog. As a young player, and one Coach C is going to count on to be a leader heading into Big 12 play next season, he's going to have to be reined in just a little bit and become more of a team player.
  • Adrick McKinney continues to be the most basketball looking player we've had in quite some time and is our best muscle underneath the basket. He's got some basketball sense, too, hitting a streaking Green underneath the basket with a no look, over the shoulder pass off of an O rebound. He led the team with 7 boards, including 3 offensively.
  • Amric Fields got into foul trouble REAL early and never got back into the game, playing only 8 minutes. Fields is another guy that was expected to be a major contributor in his second year; can't make too many plays from the bench.
In my semi-preview I mentioned that in the past two seasons the Nebraska game had lasting impact on the rest of the season. I haven't heard of any locker room dustups or snow storms, so I'm going to optimistically assume it will reflect the 6 game win streak of two years ago rather than last year's collapse. After taking a break for finals the Frogs have a tricky road game next Monday night at Southern Cal. Win that one and there are four very winnable games against Grambling State, Tulsa, Rice and UT-Pan American leading into Conference play. 5-0 would be amazing, but I think anyone with half a brain would take 4-1 and probably even 3-2. One way or the other it should be entertaining to see how this final stretch of five non con games plays out.

Kurt Thomas signs with Blazers

It's nearly a full-time job keeping up with all of the Horned Frogs in the NFL and MLB system, but for a while now there has been just one former TCU basketball player in the NBA. Luckily, the string of having at least that one in the league will continue as Kurt Thomas has signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. The 2011-2012 season will be Thomas' 17th in the NBA, and the Blazers will be the 9th different franchise that he's played for. At 39, he'll be the oldest player in the league- exactly one day older than Grant Hill.

Coaching carousel to affect Bowl game?

It's been nice to have a coaching job-change season in which Patterson's name has barely even been whispered. It seems that most schools around the country are starting to realize that GP likes what he has going in Fort Worth, and that it's not worth their time to pursue him. Instead, it's his Poinsettia Bowl counterpart- Lousiana Tech's Sonny Dykes- that is starting to surface as a candidate for other jobs. Sam Khan of the Houston Chronicle has mentioned Dykes as a candidate to take over at U of H, a job left open with the departure of Kevin Sumlin to Texas A&M.

I don't know if Dykes would leave Louisiana Tech right now, but it doesn't surprise me at all that he's being mentioned for coaching vacancies. He's turned the Bulldogs around and has won a conference title in his second year, and he can recruit, too- remember that Matt Brown was originally committed to Arizona and broke his commitment when Dykes, then the Wildcats' offensive coordinator, was plucked away to be the head man in Ruston.

Spit Blood Homework

Following in the footsteps of America's Funniest Home Videos and CNN's ridiculous "iReport" concept of lazily allowing your audience to create content for you, we here at Spit Blood are asking you to do our work for us.

With the 2011 regular season now complete, renovations on Amon G. Carter Stadium will get back to being a seven-day-a-week process. The most conspicuous work will be done on the east side of the stadium, with demolition set to commence in the next few days.

If you pass by the stadium on a regular basis, semi-regular basis, or even just happen to be in the area randomly one day, do me a favor and take a photo of the progress on the stadium. Then email the photos to me at I'll post occasional construction updates on Spit Blood, as well as update the photo album on our facebook page.

Oh, and while you're at it- could you make me a sandwich? I'm starving.

Morning Dump

Johnson named a Freshman all-American

TCU assistant coach changed approach to life after heart attack

A&M uses size, pressure defense to stifle TCU women