TCU went 2-12 away from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum a year ago, which probably said more about the general state of the team at the time than it said about how tough road wins are to come by.
The Horned Frogs (4-3) already have eclipsed that win total thanks to a three-win road trip that concludes Thursday at Mississippi State (5-1). The game is part of the Big 12-Southeastern Conference Challenge, which pits teams from the leagues against each other. The Big 12 leads the series 2-1 with three games Thursday, including West Virginia at Missouri and Ole Miss at Kansas State.
TCU coach Trent Johnson was 2-2 against MSU in Starkville, Miss., while he was coaching at LSU. He compared the difficulty of winning at Humphrey Coliseum with Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash., where the Frogs held on to beat Washington State last week.
The Bulldogs are 5-0 at home this season. They won their last two games at home by a combined three points. MSU finished 10-22 and went 7-7 at home a year ago.
“It’s very similar in terms of how tough a place it is to play like Pullman,” Johnson said. “Their team is really quick and talented. It’s going to be tough for us.”
It’ll be especially tough without injured forward Amric Fields, who broke his left hand Saturday. Freshmen Brandon Parrish and Hudson Price both are expected to be available despite recent injuries.
“The key for us is getting healthy and remaining healthy, and that’s pretty much it,” Johnson said. “That’s pretty much anybody in the country when you have a talent level and [certain] skill sets. We’ve got enough guys to concern ourselves with [that we need] playing at a high level.”
Guard Jarvis Ray, who missed much of last season because of injury, has played well and leads the team with 13.4 points per game. Point guard Kyan Anderson has 40 assists with only 16 turnovers.
Christian Gore has played the bulk of the minutes with Fields injured. His shooting has slowed from the field, but Johnson likes his ability to draw fouls. He leads the team with 29 free throws made in a team-high 37 attempts.
Johnson said his team needs to learn keep the pedal down no matter who it’s facing at any given time. Harvard, which beat TCU in the championship of the Great Alaska Shootout, dictated the action early after jumping out to a big early lead, he said.
“We need to set a standard in terms of how hard we play and develop a consistency for a long period of time regardless of who is on the floor,” he said. “They were the aggressor. Regardless of where you play, who you play, you need to be the aggressor.”