Even the staunchest of TCU diehards, however, couldn't be blamed for thinking it would take Dixon, back on campus at his alma mater after a 13-year tenure leading Pittsburgh, a few more years to have the Horned Frogs riding high.
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But in just two seasons, Dixon has led the Frogs (21-11) back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. A year ago, he led the Frogs to their first National Invitational Tournament title in his first season.
No. 6 seed TCU opens the NCAA tournament against No. 11 seed Arizona State or Syracuse at 8:40 p.m. Friday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Arizona State and Syracuse meet in a play-in game on Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio.
"If you compare it to what other people have been able to do it’s obviously ahead of schedule," Dixon conceded. "I think the only way you can get there is to believe."
And throughout this season, especially when injuries, including the season-ending injury to Jaylen Fisher, had the Frogs playing with a short bench and the gauntlet of Big 12 Conference talent was wearing them thin, Dixon kept chirping in their ears that they were good enough. That they were improving, especially on the defensive end. The confidence never wavered.
That resolve started to build a year ago, after the Frogs lost their last seven regular-season games in the Big 12 before reaching the semifinals in the Big 12 tournament and then winning five straight to capture the NIT. championship.
"That helped us develop a winning mentality," TCU guard Alex Robinson said. "This year, we kind took that a step forward and continued to push. Coach Dixon even emphasized how good we were. As a team, we knew we were good. We knew how to bounce back. But the constant reassurance from coach was big."
For Dixon, the declared high expectations from the opening press conference was more about genuine belief than hubris. Bottom line, he said, there's no benefit to aiming low.
"I just don’t see how it helps you. It might help you in the articles or with the administration [and its expectations]," he said, only half-joking. "You have to be turning it the day you get there and getting them to believe from Day 1. You’ve got to do that. So you put yourself out there and show your guys that you believe in them and that was our mentality."
And his players have responded by believing. The student body, too, has turned out at Schollmaier Arena, giving the Frogs a home-court advantage for the first time in years.
"It just picked up the school," TCU's Kouat Noi said of Dixon's return To Fort Worth. "Everyone is noticing TCU basketball now. Just to have the opportunity to see our names on the big screen was a big thing for us."
Dixon's message on Sunday, including the one to his team, was he doesn't want to be the team that is just glad to be there.
"Our plan is to build unrealistic expectations and no one has higher expectations than me," he said.
Dixon's players, including seniors Kenrich Williams, Vladimir Brodziansky, Ahmed Hamdy, aren't content with just making an appearance.
"We don’t just want to go to the tournament. We want to go deep and make a run," Williams said. Sunday's moment, while not a surprise, will remain a lasting memory for the school after such a long wait.
"It was like a surreal moment for me. Being here for four years," Williams said. "Coming in to TCU I had this planned out in my head, so to see it happen in real life is a blessing. I think the future for TCU basketball is bright. We’re just getting it over the hump and setting it up for the future. This is huge for the city of Fort Worth, huge for TCU and huge for TCU basketball."