It’s game #2 between Texas Tech and TCU and we talk again with Andrew Felts from Frogs O’War about the renovations to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, TCU hoping to earn entry to the NIT and what the future holds for the Horned Frogs (as well as tonight’s game).
1. I’m a huge fan of trying to re-purpose old things, so I’m glad to see that TCU is renovating Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Talk a bit about the renovations to the coliseum, what’s being improved and what the expected capacity will eventually be.
The TCU Board of Trustees approved a nearly $60-million renovation project for the 55-year old Daniel-Meyer Coliseum last year. The project is quite extensive. The entire façade of the building will be replaced, allowing for easier access into the facility. A Hall of Honor area will be added to showcase TCU accomplishments across all sports. The concourses will be widened, additional concession areas will be added, and an expanded donor club will be installed. In addition, entirely new locker rooms and training areas will be constructed, and floor seating will be added. In terms of capacity, it will remain the same at 7,200. The renovations are geared more toward rearranging things in order to be more fan-friendly instead of increasing capacity.
If you have never been to the DMC, these renovations are sorely needed. The arena has been largely untouched since its construction in 1961. The original building was dark, cramp, had narrow concourses, and the restrooms were an entire level below the concourses, so you had to go down a staircase just to go to the bathroom. The renovations are going to be a major component in getting the TCU basketball program up to a Big 12 level. TCU had long been at a disadvantage because of facilities, so getting a refurbished DMC will be huge in terms of recruiting and building the program for the future.
2. TCU was in a bad way, losing seven straight, before snapping out with a two game winning streak against Oklahoma St. and Kansas St. What changed for TCU in those two wins?
I think that the biggest improvement that the Frogs made during their winning streak was in their confidence level. It sounds funny to say, but TCU was really struggling with confidence issues during their seven-game conference losing streak. After dismantling Oklahoma State, the Frogs led wire-to-wire against Kansas State and gave Kansas a decent fight in Allen Fieldhouse. By beating Oklahoma State, the Frogs got a pretty big monkey off their back, and team confidence has been at an all-time high since.
The Frogs also really improved shooting from the field. TCU shot over 50.0% against OSU and KSU, which marked as their second- and third-best shooting performances against Big 12 teams in their history. The Frogs are also improving significantly from the line. Free throws had been a major issue for this TCU team, and they are finally putting things together from the line. The winning streak was a nice combination of increased confidence and higher offensive efficiency.
3. TCU has a tough road ahead after Texas Tech, what sort of chances do you give TCU to make post-season play this year?
I’m still holding out hope for an NIT bid. There are a lot of factors at play, but if the Frogs can take care of business against Texas Tech tonight, find a way to win one more Big 12 game this season, and potentially win their first-round Big 12 Tournament game, I think that the Frogs are in. TCU is guaranteed to finish the season with a winning record, and five or six wins against Big 12 teams would go a long way toward wrapping up an NIT bid.
I think that as of right now, the Frogs are probably going to at least earn a College Basketball Invitational bid. TCU participated in the 2012 CBI, so the organizations are somewhat familiar with each other. Texas is the only Big 12 team to ever play in the tournament, having earned a bid in 2013 with a 16-17 record overall. I understand that Texas Tech declined a CBI invitation in 2008, but I think that with the steps that TCU is taking to build the program, it would be wise to accept any postseason invitations that might come our way.
4. TCU relies on a handful of seniors that play big minutes, how and who has Trent Johnson planned for the future?
The Frogs are definitely a senior-heavy team this year with Kyan Anderson, Trey Zeigler, and Amric Fields providing a significant amount of production on both sides of the ball. With that being said, the Frogs do have several promising underclassmen that will likely contribute in the future. Sophomore Kenrich Williams seems to have the highest ceiling of any player on this team. Williams transferred to TCU from New Mexico Junior College and had really thrived in his role. He entered the starting lineup in mid-January and has remained there ever since. Another transfer, Chris Washburn, has found success in his first season at TCU from UTEP. He figures to be another key piece moving forward. Another guy that I’m excited about is Chauncey Collins. He is the obvious choice to take over for Kyan Anderson at point guard, and he looks like he could be just as good. Collins is a pure shooter and I’m excited to see how he transitions into a leadership role on this team.
In terms of recruiting, things have been slow-going so far, with just one signee for next season. TCU signed four-star small forward Jalon Miller signed out of Seagoville High School in Dallas earlier this season. Miller is ranked as the 19th best small forward in the country by ESPN. I expect the Frogs to land some additional recruits in the coming weeks. There were several recruits in the house for TCU’s upset win over #21 Oklahoma State, which will do nothing but help Trent Johnson’s sales pitch. As we talked about, the recruiting classes should get stronger as Trent Johnson continues to build this TCU program.
5. What are two keys to the game for you as TCU looks to sweep the series against Texas Tech?
Two big keys for me are going to be whether or not TCU can continue their shooting success from the field and whether or not the Frogs can jump out to an early lead. As I mentioned above, TCU had two of their best nights offensively against Oklahoma State and Kansas State earlier this month. It sounds obvious, but the Frogs will need to continue this success if they want to increase their home winning streak to three games. TCU has struggled to score in so many of their Big 12 games this season, so it will be crucial for the Frogs to find some sort of offensive rhythm tonight.
Additionally, I think that it will be important for TCU to build an early lead. The Frogs have been riding a confidence high unlike anything we’ve seen this season. Trent Johnson alluded to this earlier in the week, but the last three games for TCU have been the best three of the season. In addition to knocking off OSU and KSU, the Frogs fought like hell against KU in Allen Fieldhouse. The Frogs know that they can beat Texas Tech, so building an early lead will go a long way in further building this confidence moving forward.
Much thanks to Andrew for reaching out again and good luck tonight!