Miles to Go – Fort Worth Weekly
I only speak for myself, but between TCU football’s record slump in the national title game and the Dallas Cowboys just Cowboy-ing, it’s time for a break from the grill. Luckily, Fort Worth fans can seamlessly transition to the hardwood prospect by following what has already been a season for Horned Frog trainer Jamie Dixon and his hoops.
Last weekend was undemonstrative of men’s basketball’s impressive run as they lost an overtime spat to unranked Mississippi State in the annual Big 12/SEC challenge on Saturday. . The annual conference pairing ending this year accentuates the midpoint of the season before the Big 12 roster repeats, with the opposing team hosting the second board. Loss aside, we should make up for what TCU has achieved so far.
Currently ranked 15th in the nation and appearing in the AP poll for a ninth straight week, the best on the program, TCU is 16-5 this season. For context, this ratio was unimaginable just five years ago. Two of their losses have been to ranked opponents: Texas — a game in which the Frogs led by 18 but ultimately lost by four to Austin — and Iowa State. The other three were the aforementioned overtime drop against MSU, a conference road loss against WVU (a place where TCU is 0-11 all-time), and an early-season one-point header against Northwestern State, a game where the Frogs’ top guards — Mike Miles (#1) and Damion Baugh (#10) — didn’t play. In total, those five losses are 23 points combined.
On the winning side, Dixon’s dribblers have beaten four ranked opponents in Iowa, Kansas State, Baylor and, most recently, No. 2-ranked Kansas. Both the Bears and Jayhawks were upset in territory enemy, and the Wildcats were then ranked 11th. TCU’s last conference game was a 27-point crush against Oklahoma, a team Dixon has traditionally struggled with. Despite an effervescent first half on the conference slate, there’s still plenty of ball to play, and the Big 12 — as usual — are one of the deepest hoops groups in the nation. The conference standings show a clear separation at the midline where TCU sits. Kansas State, Texas and Iowa State are all deadlocked in a top-three household with two losses apiece. The Frogs, Bears and Jayhawks celebrate in their own weird way, all tied with three losses. Oklahoma State is still within reach with five losses, Oklahoma and West Virginia are tied at six, and the Red Raiders’ football prowess has been swept away by a dust storm in the league. West Texas and have yet to win a conference game this season — they played for a national championship just four years ago.
Over the past four years, the Dixon boys have fallen slightly after mid-season. It’s not an indictment or hard to understand. Purple and white are not a “classic” hoop school. The frog roster isn’t as deep as some of the more tenured programs they struggle with in the Big 12. As a result, the wear and tear of a long season affects TCU more than some, which has shown in their overtime loss to the Bulldogs last weekend. Star point guard Mike Miles left the game with a knee injury (his prognosis is good for the future), and notable TCU big man and crowd favorite Eddie Lampkin (No. everything. The absence of those two left a significant scoring and rebounding hole that TCU nearly escaped from, but the overtime period left them without the firepower to secure the road win.
Over the past four years, Dixon’s followers have lost at least seven conference games past the midpoint of the season. This high-octane group is unlikely to follow this trend, but it is essential that TCU is able to ensure its health before entering the series of tips from a murderer from next week. . A game will already be decided by the time we go to press, when (weather permitting) the Frogs set up their rematch against the Mountaineers – a winnable game in Fort Worth even with Miles and Lampkin bumped up – before heading to OSU this weekend. There are no gimme wins in Big 12 basketball, but Dixon has to play chess in those games while preserving minutes for more powerful opponents. Kansas State and Baylor await in what will be a week of excellent opponents looking for revenge. The Wildcats and Bears are both ranked ahead of TCU despite the Frogs owning both heads-up. A season sweep of either team would likely guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The most noticeable improvement of these frogs is their control. Past iterations of Frog ball felt reckless, exciting, but infuriating with the gunslinger manner in which they stalked and scorched the rock. This year’s Toads are careful and methodical with the ball and have shown superior rotation numbers in all of their notable upsets so far (Baylor, K-State, Kansas). Fans are enjoying top-notch guard play from Miles and Baugh and veteran forwards Emanuel Miller (#2) and Chuck O’Bannon Jr. (#5). In fact, it looks like Miles has been the face of this team for years, despite being just a junior and being flanked on all sides by grown men finishing their careers who have come through the portal. Dixon’s transfer but got tangled and stuck. Lampkin, in his third season but technically a second year, is the baby of this group despite his gigantic stature and personality.
I know I wanted to take a break from football, but it’s hard not to remember Sonny Dykes football team when I watch this group of dribblers, a shrewd group of veterans with experience and grit who seem to have a nose for playing their best against tough opponents. The TCU hoops put together one of the best races Fort Worth has seen in decades and let the conference and the nation know that horned frogs are becoming a constant factor in every major collegiate sport.