TCU Men’s Basketball Season Recap

TCU PLAYER #3 jumping up to make a shot against two Kansas players

TCU Finished At Kansas City

On March 9th, 2021 TCU entered the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. Little did they know that this game would be the last in a year where the team seemed too weak to really compete with the top dogs within the Big 12. But just like the football team, these guys always made it tough for opponents with game planning and sheer will.

Early Success

The season opened with some expectations that TCU would contend for one of the last spots in the NCAA tournament and maybe along the way rack up some good wins in the Big 12. Starting out 4-0 with a great win over Liberty who at the time of writing this has punched their ticket to the tournament by winning the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 23-5 record. The early success against non-conference opponents showed that the Horned Frogs were a legitimate team in the world of college basketball.

Things came back down to earth a little when the team dropped back-to-back games to Oklahoma and Providence. Oklahoma was the biggest surprise in the conference this season, the Sooners had a sudden explosion halfway through the year climbing all the way to 9th in the country at one point. Providence has had a down year but as a member of the Big East basketball runs in their veins. Neither of these losses were bad though each within ten points. 

Winning Streak

TCU would rebound after those two games, winning their next 5 in a row. Two of these games were conference victories over OSU and KSU with another win coming against Texas A&M. This all led to a major matchup against Kansas who at the time was ranked 6th in the nation. That game was embarrassing for TCU, Kansas exploded for 93 points and really shattered TCU to the core. The Kansas loss set in motion a nightmare stretch of five straight losses which could’ve easily been eight with three games against top 15 teams being canceled or postponed due to COVID.

This losing streak also included the worst defensive performance on the season which was against the 12th ranked team in the country Mizzou by a score of 102-98 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. TCU would struggle the rest of the season trying to regain the momentum from early in the year. 

The Horned Frogs would get a break however as they played Oklahoma State who at the time was out of sync and in their own skid, and Iowa State who was the worst team in the Big 12 this season. TCU would win both games before going on yet another three-game losing streak. They would get their last win of the year against Iowa State before yet again going on a losing streak this time four games to end the season.

Room For Improvement

While the final record for this team was not great there was still a lot that they did right that should help them before the start of next season. Mike Miles looks like a star in the making for the Frogs. After a season where he averaged 13.6 points per game while shooting 41.3% from the field.

This offseason Coach Dixon will hopefully help him with his efficiency and if he can get that shooting percentage to at least 50% he could be a 20 point per game scorer for the Horned Frogs. If he does come back R.J. Nembhard will be the leader of this team yet again. He had a very good year leading the team in scoring while consistently be the main focus of the opponent’s defense. If he can get some help on the offensive end from a guy like Mike Miles, it would open up the court for both guys. 

Recruiting Has Begun

Recruiting hasn’t gone too well for TCU yet. The only guy coming in so far is Souleymane Doumbia a transfer from Navarro College. He is a three-star center who will provide the yin to Kevin Samuel’s yang. Doumbia is an inch taller than Samuel and they play a similar game to one another. This will allow more flexibility for TCU so that way if one guy gets into foul trouble, the team won’t have to totally change their offensive attack. The two centers will also add more defensive security as there will always be a rim protector in the game that will hopefully deter teams from bruising down low.

While the season as a whole may not have been a good one, TCU demonstrated the whole year that they were not afraid of anyone and would play their guts out every night. The type of grit that was shown gives hope that next season, with the right development, could be a very good one. With returning starters all over the court, the trust amongst the players will be high along with knowing where they will be at all times. I trust that Coach Dixon will be able to guide this team in the right direction and hope to a NCAA tournament in the near future. 

Want to read more? Check out the 2021 Shriner Tournament Preview and Season Preview for TCU Women’s Basketball.

Story by Ryan Scott, Campus Live intern

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