TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon takes no solace in moral victories. But he understands the realities of handling close losses when facing elite teams in a Power 5 conference.
That is why he expects to learn a lot about his team when the Horned Frogs (11-2, 0-1 Big 12) meet Oklahoma (6-6, 0-1) in Tuesday’s matchup at Schollmaier Arena (8 p.m., ESPNU).
The Frogs, who dropped an 86-80 decision to third-ranked Kansas in their league opener last week, will be tested again by a team that played in last season’s Final Four.
Dixon, a former TCU player in his first season at his alma mater, expects his players to rise to the challenge and avoid the school’s fifth consecutive 0-2 start to Big 12 play at a program with a combined record of 8-65 as a conference member.
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4 Consecutive seasons that TCU (11-2, 0-1) has started Big 12 play with a record of 0-2 or worse against conference opponents.
“About tough conferences, probably the biggest indicator is how you respond to a loss. One can’t turn into two,” said Dixon, who spent the past 13 seasons coaching Pittsburgh teams in the ACC and Big East. “That’s what we’ve got to do. We will play better on Tuesday.”
As measuring sticks go, Dixon said he was satisfied with most aspects of TCU’s performance against Kansas (12-1, 1-0), which has won or shared the last 12 Big 12 championships. But he didn’t like the outcome, the Jayhawks’ 14 offensive rebounds or the fact that TCU committed almost twice as many turnovers (15) as Kansas (8).
He’d also like to see TCU fans get more vocal in crunch time than during Friday’s contest, when KU fans were often as loud as the purple partisans in Fort Worth.
About tough conferences, probably the biggest indicator is how you respond to a loss. One can’t turn into two.
TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon
“The fans have got to be excited about this team. They should be. This is a good team,” Dixon said. “We lost to a good team. We expected to win. I thought we should have won. But they took care of it. They made their free throws.
“I think we’ll respond well to this. Obviously, we need to develop a home-court advantage here. That’s what we’re going to work on. That stuff matters.”
The Frogs will be facing an Oklahoma team coming off a 76-50 home loss to No. 4 Baylor in its Big 12 opener. TCU guard Kenrich Williams, like his coach, expects the Frogs to rise to Tuesday’s challenge.
“We competed [against Kansas], but we lost a little bit in the second half,” said Williams, who finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. “The next game will be better.”
TCU men vs. Oklahoma
8 p.m. Tuesday, ESPNU