TCU earns NCAA tournament bid for first time in 20 years

TCU basketball is going dancing again after a 20-year wait.

The Horned Frogs earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 on Sunday evening.

TCU (21-11) earned a six seed and will open against No. 11 seed Arizona State or Syracuse on Friday in the Detroit regional.

Arizona State and Syracuse play at 8:10 p.m. Wednesday in a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio.

"It was like a surreal moment for me," said TCU senior Kenrich Williams, who watched the televised selection show along with his teammates, TCU donors and athletic staff in the club room at Schollmaier Arena. "Being here for four years and coming in to TCU I had this planned out in my head. So to see it happen in real life is a blessing."

It's the eighth time TCU has played in the NCAA tournament. Three TCU players weren't alive the last time the Frogs were in the tournament. The others were still toddlers.

"Truly an exciting day for us," said TCU coach Jamie Dixon, who was a starting guard the last time the Frogs won a game in the NCAA tournament in 1987. "They know they’ve accomplished something but at the same time we know we have a lot to do here going forward."

By earning a No. 6 seed, TCU is basically rated as one of the top 24 teams in the nation if you tally up the seeds in the four regions.

"It’s a great statement by our guys going forward and what they’ve done in our short two years here," said Dixon, who returned to coach his alma mater in March 2016. Dixon led the Frogs to their first ever National Invitational Tournament title a year ago.

But the NCAA tournament is an altogether different monster. TCU's 20-year wait is the longest among the Power Five conferences. Rutgers last went to the tournament in 1991.

"We haven't been in so long so to just have the opportunity to see our name on the big screen was a big thing for us," said TCU's Kouat Noi, who was 4 months old in March 1998.

Seven teams from the Big 12 Conference earned bids, including Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma.

The Frogs have known for several weeks that they would earn an at-large bid based on their RPI rating and several other factors, so Sunday's announcement wasn't a surprise. Still, the moment was a thrill.

"As soon as they called our name it was crazy," said TCU guard Alex Robinson, who was 2 years old the last time the Frogs played in the tournament. "The adrenaline started going. It’s amazing that it has been 20 years. That’s a long time. I probably didn't know what basketball was."

In addition, four other teams from the state of Texas earned bids including Texas A&M, Houston, Texas Southern, and Stephen F. Austin. You can find their seeding, opponents, dates and locations of those first round games here.

Put on your dancing shoes

No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Arizona State/Syracuse winner

8:40 p.m. Friday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit


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