TCU men, women cope with 0-for-Big 12 initiations

Posted Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Slow starts

Both the TCU men and women are winless so far in their first seasons in the Big 12. How the basketball programs did in their first seasons after moving to a new conference:

Year

Conf.

Men

Women

2005-06

MWC

6-25, 2-14

19-12, 11-5

2001-02

C-USA

16-15, 6-10

24-7, 12-2

1996-97

WAC

22-13, 7-9

13-14, 7-9

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

TCU women's basketball coach Jeff Mittie will bump into men's coach Trent Johnson in the basketball offices occasionally.

They'll share stories about their teams, but more often than not the stories -- the struggles -- are told on their faces in knowing glances.

Both, as you'd expect, detest losing. And neither has done a lot of losing in the past. But their first seasons in the Big 12 have been filled with nothing but losses so far. The men enter their Saturday game at Texas still looking for their first league win. They're 0-7 and still have two games left against No. 1 Kansas among their final 11 regular-season Big 12 games. The women are 0-8 in the league, with 10 regular-season games remaining, including hosting Texas at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

Mittie's squad, the youngest he's had at TCU, has had legitimate chances at victory in four of the losses. While encouraging for the coach, those kinds of losses can be tougher for players to handle, as opposed to the 21-point blowout Wednesday at Oklahoma.

"If you get blown out and go to the locker room, that ending was known for a while," Mittie said. "When you have some of the games we've had, those are tough; those are kicks in the gut. Those are hard losses."

For instance, the Frogs had a game-tying shot rim out in the final second in a 3-point loss to Kansas State.

"That hurt and it should hurt," Mittie said. "But our group has responded well in practice. They've come back in and worked hard. I have been pleased with those things."

Same goes for Johnson, who cordially advised the media to refrain from asking questions about whether his team's mental state would waver with the losses mounting after TCU lost to Baylor on Saturday. Johnson never lost more than three consecutive games in four seasons at Stanford. Last season at LSU, he lost three straight games once after bouncing back from two down years. The Tigers lost 14 of their last 15 games, including 10 consecutive Southeastern Conference games in 2010-11. The year before LSU lost its first 12 SEC games.

"I've always prided myself on regardless of who you play, where you play, when you play -- you play as hard as you can and you try to play the game right and be competitive," Johnson said. "Therein lies the ability to maybe win a game, but also playing the best you can play."

Both Johnson and Mittie knew the jump to the Big 12 would be tough, no matter the obstacles. Johnson has played much of the season without three injured starters; Mittie starts three freshmen and a sophomore.

"This is the most difficult of league changes," said Mittie, who had never lost more than four consecutive games in his 14 seasons at TCU. "Some of the other [league] changes were more lateral. This was not a lateral. This took you to the best women's basketball league in the country."

Mittie's teams hadn't lost more than three straight since 2005, when they lost four in a row. TCU's eight-game losing streak is the most since the Frogs lost their last 20 games in 1996, the last season in the Southwest Conference.

You don't have to go that far back for the men, who lost their last 13 regular-season games two seasons ago.

"I guess the thing that has kept me sane is the attitude of our players has been really good," Mittie said. "The thing I pay attention to with a team, whether you're winning or losing, is are they coming in and working? Are they there early? Are they staying late? This basketball team has done those things. So while the process is painful at times, I really feel like this team is going to get better, and I think our future is going to be very good."

Johnson has vowed that the future is bright for his program, too, regardless of the current struggles. He already has three top recruits committed with three more likely still to come, and he'll have the three injured starters back next season.

"I'm not used to losing, but this is different," Johnson said. "I don't think people realize how tough it is to go from one conference to another conference. This team was a lower-level team in the Mountain West. Even the good teams in the Mountain West couldn't come out and just go to town in the Big 12.

"You have to be true to yourself. As much as everybody dwells on winning and losing, this whole thing is about getting better and about being competitive. If you do those things, you're going to be OK. You still have to grind, you have to stay positive, and you have to play every day. That's all you can do."

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
Cincinnati0Delayed | Box
Baltimore0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-OH, MASN
Detroit0Bottom 1st | Box
Cleveland0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-DET, STO
Boston1Top 1st | Box
NY Yankees0@theBallpark | TV: NESN, YES
Philadelphia0Top 1st | Box
Atlanta0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-PHI, SPSO
NY Mets1Top 1st | Box
Miami0@theBallpark | TV: SNY, FSN-FL
Toronto0Top 1st | Box
Tampa Bay0@theBallpark | TV: SNET, Sun Sports
Milwaukee 9/2 8:05 PM ET
Chicago Cubs TV: FSN-WI, CSN-CHI+
LA Angels 9/2 8:10 PM ET
Houston TV: FSN-W, CSN-HOU
Texas 9/2 8:10 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FSN-SW, FSN-KC
Chicago WSox 9/2 8:10 PM ET
Minnesota TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-N
Pittsburgh 9/2 8:15 PM ET
St. Louis TV: ROOT-PIT, FSN-MW
San Francisco 9/2 8:40 PM ET
Colorado TV: CSN-BA, ROOT-RM
Seattle 9/2 10:05 PM ET
Oakland TV: ROOT-NW, CSN-CA
Washington 9/2 10:10 PM ET
Los Angeles TV: MASN 2, SportsNet LA
Arizona 9/2 10:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-SD
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 1Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
Seattle TV: NBC
Sunday
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: FOX
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: CBS
New England 1:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:25 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Carolina 4:25 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Indianapolis 8:30 PM ET
Denver TV: NBC
Monday
NY Giants 7:10 PM ET
Detroit TV: ESPN
San Diego 10:20 PM ET
Arizona TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard