For 48 hours, TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon was repeating a mantra to his team and himself.
“We’re good enough.”
Dixon, perhaps still shaken from his first-career ejection late in another agonizing close loss, this time at Kansas State Saturday, wanted to make sure his players realized they were still a very good team, despite a 2-5 start in the Big 12.
Even if they were nodding in agreement, saying all the right things during post-game press conferences, and showing no visible signs of wilting under the pressure, Dixon kept telling them, reminding them, that, yes, “we’re a good team.”
The mantra was still on Dixon’s mind when he was interviewed by ESPN’s Holly Rowe at halftime of Monday’s win over No. 7 West Virginia.
“They didn’t think we could win here, but we’re winning and we’re going to win tonight,” said Dixon, before the Horned Frogs (15-5, 3-5 Big 12) upset No. 7 West Virginia. The prediction even caught Dixon off guard. “It just kind of rolled off my tongue. But I believed it and I believe in this team. I think we’re really good.”
A strong TCU run to take the lead before the half probably also contributed to Dixon’s “out of character” boldness.
“I don’t know if it showed on my face but I kind of walked away surprised that I said it,” Dixon said. “I spent two days telling our guys that we were good. That we were good enough to beat West Virginia. I think it was a good 48 hours of convincing our players.”
Dixon was concerned that a series of tough, close losses in the Big 12 was potentially causing some negative mental residue, however slight. Anything other than complete confidence will get you beat by teams in the Big 12. Dixon wanted his team poised and positive for the Mountaineers.
He wanted them to know “we were still good and we were right where we needed to be, playing on Big Monday,” he said. “I think they’re confident but the one-point losses, the tight losses we’ve had ... I didn’t want that to creep in.”
TCU at Vanderbilt
3 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2