TCU’s chances of winning a Big 12 game are dwindling.
The Horned Frogs have six regular-season games remaining, including a stretch of three games in six days, beginning tonight against Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum.
The feisty Wildcats (17-8, 7-5 Big 12), who were once ranked and are still receiving votes in both national polls, recently beat top 20 teams in Texas and Kansas in Manhattan, Kan., before losing in double overtime at Baylor on Saturday. K-State held off TCU 65-47 on Jan. 7 in Fort Worth.
“I think they’re better defensively,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said of K-State. “I think they’ve got a good grasp of what [coach] Bruce [Weber] wants them to do defensively. That’s indicative of them beating Kansas, because that’s a special team. That’s a pretty good indication of how good Kansas State is playing.”
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TCU (9-15, 0-12) is still playing pretty good defense, but it has wavered later in games at times with the score out of hand, much to Johnson’s chagrin. But the effort against No. 8 Kansas on Saturday remained strong despite the lopsided score early in the second half.
Johnson is resigned to the fact that great effort from his players is about all he can ask of them this season with only eight scholarship players available, plus having starter Amric Fields “dragging” a previously operated on knee around during games, and his starting center Karviar Shepherd playing with a cast on his broken hand for the past couple of weeks.
“We’re regressing from a standpoint of our injury situation, but in terms of the kids coming out and trying to play and compete, we’re getting better,” he said. “They’re doing the best they can under the circumstances they’ve been dealt. It’s a tough stretch for us. They’re trying to compete but the caliber of basketball we’re playing is not very good, but that’s indicative of what we’ve got out there.”