Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Big 12 Orientation, Week 7: Baylor Basketball.

Never Forget.

Baylor Basketball At-A-Glance:
  • Program Founded in 1907.
  • Overall record of 1,422 - 1,286
  • 2 Final Fours (1948, 1950).
  • 4 Elite Eights
  • 2 Sweet 16's (I'm just the messenger, but I'm guessing the tourney field was much smaller in the 40s)
  • 7 Tourney Appearances
  • 5 Conference Regular Season Titles (0 since 1950).
  • 0 Conference Tourney Titles.
  • 0 Reasons Why Baylor is good now outside of cheating
  • 1 Murder Scandal
Famous Ex-Bears:
  • Patrick Dennehy.  An ex Bear in more ways than one.
  • Carlos Dotson
  • Dave Bliss
History with TCU:  Like in football, the Bears and Frogs have met a LOT of times on the hardwood, 168 to be exact, with the Bears holding an 87-81 edge.  Sadly, at least for the near future, this discrepancy is likely to become a lot more lopsided barring Trent Johnson being some sort of medieval sorceress with a specialty in college basketball miracles.  However, the Frogs ARE currently riding a four game win streak against Baylor dating back to their last game in 2002.  Besides that, TCU can claim scoreboard in the most important statistic of all - lack of team building through covering up the murder of a teammate.

Recent History:  Prior to the 2010 mauling of the Bears by the football Frogs, yours truly touched on the Scott Drew Era at that point in time, the extent of which can be found HERE about halfway down the page.  Shockingly, or perhaps not so shockingly at all, the majority of the post still rings pretty true today and I want to reprint the opening paragraph here:

This may not have anything to do with football, but if you choose to get into a jawing match with a Baylor fan tomorrow – and I hope that we all have this in mind – at least a dozen of them are going to drag basketball into the mix despite it having nothing to do with the game. Consequently, this is the argument that quite possibly drives Baylor fans more insane than anything else because deep down they know something isn’t right. They know they shouldn’t be making elite 8’s and nabbing top recruits. They know they shouldn’t be beating the powerhouse teams in the Big 12 on a semi-regular basisr. They know that, but they will fight you tooth and nail if you bring it up.

Kinda spooky how so little has changed, no?  Baylor is still defying the odds by nabbing top recruits and make Elite 8 runs without any explanation not related to Scott Drew being a world class cheater.  Before Drew, Baylor was Daugherty Era TCU Basketball, but instead of lasting 5 some-odd years it lasted for 50.  There's just no way the man is THAT good.  He started out with a team being investigated for murder and fielding only 7 players.  Seriously, I know a basketball program is much, much easier to turn around than football, but come on.   I went through the highlights back then - recruiting through AAU Coaches, employing negative recruiting tactics, hush-hush payments funneled through Baptist outlets - and, again, what has changed?  The Bears are living extremely high on the hog right now due to the fruits of their ill-gotten labors, and it doesn't look like too much is going to change in the future.  As for recent history, last year's team made it all the way to the Elite 8 before falling to eventual Champion Kentucky and have three NCAA Tourney appearances under Scott Drew, including in 2010 or, "The time I hated Baylor because they made me root for Duke."  They also have a long string of elite high school talents who never quite reached their potential at Baylor and flamed out in the NBA, guys like Edke Udoh and.... well, the list seems to end there.  Weird.  I guess Facebreakius Dunn wasn't the bees knees after all, as they say in Waco.  

2012 Outlook:  No matter how you frame it, the Bears 2012 outlook is better than ours, although that goes for all 300+ other teams in division 1.  But, it won't be easy.  The Bears lose three MAJOR contributors from last year's team in uber lightweight Perry Jones III, late early-entrant for the NBA to poop on Quincy Miller as well as departing Senior Quincy Acy.  Those three dudes accounted for nearly half of Baylor's points last year, and over half their rebounds, so that'll be some tough production to immediately replace.  Also take into account that Baylor was FINALLY place on probation this offseason for cheating, although based on the penalties it looks like the Bears once again got away with murder, sort of like the time they LITERALLY GOT AWAY WITH MURDER.  Scott Drew is suspended for 2 Big 12 games next season and the program is on probation for 3 years.  Big whoop.  

As for tangible information, leading scorer Pierre, "Don't Call them Freedom Fries" Jackson DOES return, as does token whitey outside shooter Brady Heslip, but they'll need some help from the incoming freshman class in order to have a repeat of last season.  Fortuntately for the Bears, they managed to snag Rivals 6th ranked recruiting class, led by Dallas-area big man Isaiah Austin.  This class comes immediately on the heels of signing the 14th ranked group last year, the 25th in 2010, 19th in 2009 and the list goes on.  Seriously, I realize that Baylor has put together some decent seasons, but to hit on THIS many classes in a row?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE KIDS?!?!  WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU SIGN WITH BAYLOR FOR COMPLETELY LEGAL REASONS?!?!  There's no way.  There's just no way.  I hate college basketball.

Elander drafted by Atlanta in 6th round

 The first current Frog is off the board at the 2012 MLB Draft, as junior catcher Josh Elander has been selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 6th round with the 209th overall selection.  It'll be up to Josh to choose between a senior season at TCU and what is likely to be a six-figure signing bonus.

Aune not headed to TCU

The TCU football and baseball teams were both dealt a bit of a blow today when dual-sport commit Austin Aune made it known that he plans on signing with the New York Yankees organization after the Bronx Bombers selected Aune with the 89th overall pick in the second round of the MLB Draft. 

Aune, out of Argyle, threw for over 7,200 yards in his high school career to go along with 74 touchdowns.  He also came within a few minutes of leading the Eagles to a 3A state title this past fall, a feat that would've been mighty impressive even if he hadn't played the championship game with a 104-degree fever.  He was consistently viewed as the "#2" QB commit in the incoming 2012 class behind Tyler Matthews, although I think people would've been pleasantly surprised by him once he got into the program.

As you might suspect from his being drafted in the second round, Aune was perceived to be a bigger baseball prospect than he was on the gridiron.  He hit .447 while playing shortstop for Argyle as a senior this year, but probably would've started right away in the outfield for the Frogs next year. 

Of course, we're basing this information on something we read on twitter, so perhaps there's a chance he'll end up changing his mind.  The date for draftees to sign or enroll in school has moved forward this year, from August to mid-July, so it's likely we'll know something official fairly soon.  If you're wondering about the possibility of the baseball team losing any other commits or draft-eligible juniors, check out Fungo Frog's draft preview on Frogs O' War

As for Aune's spot on the football team, it's highly likely that- like Schlossnagle- Patterson had a pretty good idea that he may never set foot on campus.  It's possible that they could go out and find another last minute JUCO transfer, like they did with LB Paul Dawson recently, to take Aune's scholarship to shore up an area they feel could use some immediate help.  It's also likely that they could give that scholarship to a current walk-on who they deem to have earned it.

Best of luck to Austin, although it would've been fun to watch him play both sports in purple and I hope he's traded away from the Yankees before he makes a splash in the bigs.

Headed West!

For the third time in four years, the TCU baseball program is headed to the Super Regionals- and this time around that doesn't involve a trip to play on UT's ridiculous artificial field.  Instead they'll be headed to Los Angeles to take on their old nemesis from Omaha, the UCLA Bruins, in a three-game series that will start with a prime-time match up Friday night on ESPN...the uno. No more sitting at a computer or figuring out if you have whatever obscure TV channel needed to watch!

If you followed the team throughout the season and through this remarkable weekend run in College Station, you know that the Frogs are exactly who opposing teams do not want to see this time of year: a confident squad who is peaking right when it matters most.  For all of his records and accolades, 2012 may be Jim Schlossnagle's best coaching job yet.

I know some of you are thinking that I'm mistakenly ignoring the magic of the 2010 squad that came within three wins of a national title, but I think you should consider some of the circumstances.  First is the obvious factor of the age of this team.  Four true freshmen are part of the starting batting order, and three of those are playing in the infield.  The pitching staff has a front end made up entirely of freshmen or sophomores.  There are only three seniors on the roster, and one of them- Jason Coats- brings me to my next point.  When a team that struggled at the plate all year loses their best hitter and one of their leaders in the final game of the regular season, the result usually isn't very pretty.  Combine that with losing in the opening game of the regional, and you've got adversity enough that even older, battle-tested teams would have difficulty overcoming.  But Schlossnagle was able to get his young team to grow up and grow together, even under the pressure.

When discussing masterful coaching jobs at TCU, the go-to comparison will always be Gary Patterson. For a stretch between 2009 and 2010, GMFP and Schlossnagle were going toe-to-toe trying to out-do each other.  Schloss reached his first Super in the spring of '09, so GP topped him with a BCS berth that fall.  The next year, Schlossnagle got his team to Omaha for the first time, so Patterson then went out and won the damn Rose Bowl.  This school year, though, they have both produced masterpiece rebuilding efforts.  Like this current squad on the diamond, you'll remember that the football team struggled early on in their season due to inexperience.  But Patterson and Schlossnagle were both able to mature their teams midseason, and the baseball team's comeback to win the regional from the loser's bracket may just be the equal of the football team's gutsy win on the blue turf in Boise.

Now, to see if Schlossnagle can top it...

Morning Dump


TCU beats Ole Miss to advance to Super Regionals Star-Telegram

Frogs advance with 7-4 win gofrogs.com

Rebels run out of gas in loss to TCU Jackson Clarion-Ledger

TCU wins College Station Regional Bryan-College Station Eagle

Los Angeles Super Regional ticket information Bruinsnation.com

TCU vs. UCLA schedule/TV info:

Game 1: Friday, 8:00pm CT (ESPN)

Game 2: Saturday, 8:00pm CT (ESPN 2)

Game 3: Sunday, 9:00pm CT (ESPN 2...if necessary)

Track & Field:

TCU set for NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines gofrogs.com