Unreliable sources confirmed the pews of Waco were full on Sunday. All were attending to gain forgiveness for unknown sins which caused the Almighty to smite their basketball Bears in such a manner. Coach Jamie Dixon achieved a feat on Saturday for only the second time in school history: beat a Top-5 opponent at basketball. I pledged last week to discontinue my unhealthy relationship with TCU hoops. It’s time to admit that I’m not always one to keep my promises. Dixon’s disciples disappointed last Wednesday when they visited Iowa State and trudged through the first half to a 16-point deficit. A second half revival couldn’t completely erase early mistakes as the Frogs were too careless with the rock to chase down the Cyclones, falling 59-65. It seemed the proverbial sun had set on conference win opportunities considering our boys’ remaining schedule featured tip-offs against two of the top-three ranked squads in the country. Baylor, who held the top national ranking before losing to Kansas last week, surely felt confident invading Schollmaier Arena for what should be an appreciably easy victory. The game unfolded according to script with early lead changes before the vaunted Bears pulled away by as many as 11 points in the first half, thanks to superior play close to the rim.
The second half seemed different. Desmond Bane, the heart and offense of the Frogs, started to sink outside shots aided by the emergence of a career game by guard PJ Fuller. Bane and Fuller willed TCU back into a one-score contest with 10 minutes remaining before stealing the lead for the first time since the opening minutes. The 55-all tie with five minutes remaining was shattered by Bane, who scored eight consecutive points before his Frogmates added five additional from the bonus stripe. Our hoppers held a 10-point advantage with less than a minute remaining. The Bears, careful with their remaining seconds, worked efficiently to reel the Frogs within a possession. Bane, using his veteran court vision, was able to recognize the Bears’ press and trap and skip the ball down court to Fuller, who put the dunk and exclamation point on his 21-point performance. Bane led his squad with 23 points as he and Fuller performed spectacularly against one of the top defensive teams in the country.
Don’t be confused. Dixon’s dribblers shouldn’t pack their dancing shoes, and that school from Waco is still very much in the driver’s seat for a 2-seed in the big dance. But our boys invoked an important clause in TCU sports law on Saturday: We’ll love you if you beat Baylor notwithstanding almost anything else. My reverse jinx of our men down the stretch has proved powerful, considering their victories against the Mountaineers and Bears. Therefore, I confirm the purple posse possesses a 0-percent chance of overcoming top-ranked Kansas this week and somehow even less of besting Oklahoma in their final regular season tip on Saturday.
While basketball surprises when they beat a good opponent, felt-heads just lackadaisically enjoy David Roditi’s men acing ranked teams regularly. The 12th-ranked racquet Frogs swept SMU two weeks ago before hosting 40th-ranked South Florida. TCU only dropped the doubles’ point before winning all lines at singles. These matches were merely warm-ups for this past weekend of hosting 14th-ranked Ole Miss and 8th-ranked Stanford. Hopefully, the Rebels felt refreshed after their subsequent cleansing, as Roditi and company won every match. Stanford fared much better, managing to win one match and losing only 1-4 to our kings of the court. Our men host Tulsa on Friday and Tulane on Sunday before hitting the road next week. They are now ranked No. 8 in the land.
Speaking of ranked Horned Frog men, baseball is back and with a vengeance. The 22nd-ranked batting toads are already 10-1. Their lone slipup occurred in Minnesota during the second game of their series with the Golden Gophers when a late rally fizzled and our Frogs fell 6-7. Otherwise, it’s been bombs away for this offensively minded group, who have outscored opponents by a breathtaking 91-28 runs so far. We’re still at this season’s infancy, but it’s an inspiring start from a historically dominant team who saw their season end uncharacteristically early last season. Stay tuned for more regarding baseball the closer we inch toward the end of the term.