Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Big 12 Orientation, Week 2: Iowa State Basketball.

Trent Johnson would be cooler if he did things like this.

ISU At-A-Glance:
  • Program Founded in 1907
  • Overall record of 1,212-1,239
  • 1 Final Four Appearance (1944)
  • 2 Elite Eight Appearances (1944, 2000)
  • 3 Sweet Sixten Appearances
  • 14 NCAA Appearances, overall record of 13-14
  • 4 Conference Tournament Championships - 1 Big 12
  • 6 Conference Regular Season Championships - 2 Big 12.
  • Home Base is the Hilton Coliseum, capacity 14,356.
  • 13 All Americans.
Notable Basketball Alumni:
  • Jamaal Tinsley - Most known for being a toss in for countless proposed Indiana trades, circa 2008
  • Marcus Fizer - Last seen playing with Antoine Walker... in Puerto Rico.
  • Jeff Hornacek - So he and John Stockton WEREN'T the same person?
History with TCU:  Much like it was with WVU, finding the historical basketball matchups between the schools has proved difficult, but from what I've gathered on ISU message boards, we defeated the Cyclones sometime in the late 1990s under Tubbs, as well as sometime in the mid 80s.  So, roughly, we're 2-0 against the Cylcones all-time.  UPDATE:  Wikipedia claims TCU is 5-1 all time against ISU.  Apparently we have their number in sports.  

Recent History:  Iowa State.. not exactly a team you think of when you think, "Winning Basketball Tradition" but believe it or not they've been pretty relevant recently.  They're kind of like the VERY LITE version of TCU Football - good in the prewar years, really really bad from Korea-Gulf War, and then ramped things up beyond that.  In fact, did you know they made the second round of the NCAA Tournament this past season?  It's true - and they were the only team to beat last year's Champion (UConn) and also lose to this year's Champion (Kentucky).  I suppose if you're going to go out, may as well make it count, no?  The best years in program history clearly came in 2000 and 2001 with Larry Eustachy - more on him later - at the helm and Marcus Fizer - remember him? - running the show.  Those two years saw the Cyclones advance to the Elite Eight before bowing out to eventual champ Michigan State; unfortunately the other year saw them lose to 15th seeded Hampton in the first round, still considered one of the greatest tournament upsets of all time.  The current Cyclones are coached by Fred Hoiberg, a Cyclone alum who took over a downtrodden program that hadn't made the NCAAs in 5 years and took them back in only his second year, earning Big 12 COY honors.  Perhaps Trent Johnson can be this year's Hoiberg? hahahaha, I make myself laugh.

Outlook for the 2012 Season:  You know how we're going to lose a lot of Big 12 Basketball games for 3 years minimum?  Well, count Iowa State among those teams looking to use the Frogs as a win column padder for the forseeable future.  As I mentioned above, Hoiberg is clearly taking things in the right direction in Ames, something we cannot say for ourselves quite yet with Johnson.  ISU only loses two Seniors from last year's tourney and while they were major contributors, leading forward Royce White returns as do guards Chris Babb and Tyrus McGee.  White is 6-8 and 270 pounds.  He is going to commit vile acts against our undersized front.  Babb actually hails from Arlington.  Hopefully we can keep guys like that in the metroplex going forward rather than get beat by them later.  Like the Frogs, the Cyclones don't possess a TON of size, with junior to be Jordan Railey being the only player going over 6-10, but if you look at the way they ripped through their schedule last year - they beat both Kansas and Baylor during the regular season - clearly they have a gameplan that works.  With Missouri and aggy out of the running next year, look for ISU to make that leap into the top tier of Big 12 basketball programs alongside Baylor, Kansas and perhaps Texas and WVU.  

Miscellania:  So about that picture... The man you see up top is ex-Cyclones Coach Larry Eustachy, he of the 101-59 record at ISU and sorcerer behind those early 2000 teams.  He is now the head Coach at USM, a team he just led to the NCAA Tournament this past season despite their lack of basketball history... more or less the exact same thing he did at ISU.  UPDATE:  He took the Colorado State job this off season.  So why, following two deep tournament runs, was his time in Ames cut short?  Well, Larry liked to party, which woudln't be a big deal... except Larry liked to party with young college girls.  Keep in mind, these were the pre-Facebook days where you had to be SUPER egregrious to get caught on camera performing contract altering misdeeds, so you can bet Eustachy had a bit of a history with such things.  This might not have been enough to get him fired had he kept it on campus, but apparently he got his swerve on at a fraternity party following his team's loss to Kansas State... on the KSU campus.  Whoopsie!  At least he didn't hire any of the broads, right Petrino? Eustachy's name surfaced a little bit during TCU's Coaching search, but instead we hired his doppelganger in Trent Johnson.  Seriously though, if Eustachy is a deviant, having all of the sorority houses in a quarter mile radius of each other probably would've sent him over the edge. 

Also, the men's team attributes their 112-24 home record to what they refer to as "Hilton Magic."  I'm guessing it's different than the Hilton Magic that doesn't wash off after a night with Paris.


TCU-OU preview

The biggest week of the 2012 season gets underway tonight when the Frogs play host to future Big 12 rival Oklahoma at Lupton for a midweek game that is important for both teams.  Coming into tonight's match up, TCU has an RPI of #41 while the Sooners rank 58th in that regard.  Both are trying to improve their postseason resumes, and a win tonight would be a major boost.

There's more motivation for TCU, though, beyond just bolstering their RPI and NCAA seeding potential.  Simply put, the Sooners have owned the Frogs lately.  OU has won eight straight games against the Frogs, dating back to 2007.  Think of all of the great things that Jason Coats and the team have accomplished in his time in Fort Worth...and yet beating OU still eludes him.  He and the team will have another shot at the Sooners two weeks from now up in Norman, but it'd be nice to see them get that monkey off their back at home tonight.

Freshman lefty Brandon Finnegan takes the mound for TCU tonight toting a 15-inning scoreless streak.  He pitched well against A&M last Tuesday (though the Frogs lost) and is beginning to show the impressive stuff that had Schlossnagle singing his praises in the fall.  Stefan Crichton may also be an option out of the bullpen- he was pulled early in Sunday's blowout win over Manhattan after having pitched just three innings.

OU head coach Sunny Golloway hasn't yet named a starter for tonight, but a few likely candidates include sophomore lefty Dillon Overton (5-2, 3.74) and the impressively-named sophomore right-hander Damien Magnifico (1-1, 3.47). 

Offensively, the Sooners are hitting .273 as a team, led by junior third baseman Max White's .365 and 46 RBI.  They've also blasted 23 home runs on the year, led by 9 from freshman catcher/DH (and LD Bell graduate) Hunter Lockwood. 


Daily Discussion: Tanner Brock to UTEP

Word came down yesterday from a number of different media outlets, appearing to confirm (though we've heard nothing official as of yet) the rumor that has been swirling for a while now.  Tanner Brock, TCU's leading tackler on the 2010 Rose Bowl team who was dismissed from the program in February, is transferring to UTEP to play alongside his younger brother, Cooper. 

So how do you feel about Brock after all of the highs (no pun intended) and the obvious big low in his time at TCU?   Will the tenacity he showed as a starter in 2010 and that memorable helmet-less block against SMU in 2009 cause you to root for him at UTEP and hope that he goes on to the NFL career he showed the promise for in his time in purple?  Or will his fall from grace and the negative attention he brought on the program due to his off-field actions cause you to forever hold a grudge against him?




Morning Dump

Baseball:

Frogs host Oklahoma tonight at Lupton gofrogs.com

Bullpen stint has given TCU freshman a new start Star-Telegram


Women's Golf:

TCU headed to NCAA West Regional in Erie, Colorado gofrogs.com