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.