Temple and St. John’s rank among the winningest programs in college basketball history, and Belmont is becoming one of the top mid-majors under longtime coach Rick Byrd.
TCU (20-13, 7-11 Big 12) is still in the early stages of becoming known for basketball, and being relegated to a one-seed in the NIT is a setback for the program.
But being in the NCAA Tournament conversation and feeling “snubbed” is still somewhat a sign of progress for a school that hasn’t reached consecutive NCAAs since the early 1950s.
“I know this is not normal to Fort Worth and TCU,” coach Jamie Dixon said after the Selection Sunday snub. “There’ll be some part of me that says, you know, we’ve made significant progress, but this time I’m really disappointed to not be in the tournament. In the next 24 hours, we’ve got to get that turned and get prepared for our next opponent.”
The next opponent is Sam Houston State (21-11, 16-2 Southland Conference), the regular-season champions of the Southland. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday at Schollmaier Arena with the winner advancing to take on the Nebraska/Butler winner.
And, even though the Frogs would’ve liked to break a 60-plus year drought of consecutive NCAA berths, they have still done something that hasn’t been done in two decades -- reaching a third consecutive postseason tournament for the first time since 1999.
TCU will be making its eighth NIT appearance, a tournament it has a 14-6 all-time record in.
The NIT becomes a testing ground for the NCAA to try and see how new rules may affect the game. It might be gimmicky, but it at least adds another layer of interest for the casual sports fan.
Among the changes to keep an eye on --
▪ The international 3-point line of 22 feet, 1 and 3/4 inch will be used instead of the standard 20 feet, 6 inches.
▪ The NBA lane of 16 feet will be used instead of the standard 12 feet.
▪ The shot clock resets to 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds following an offensive rebound.
▪ Every bonus foul will result in two free throws, eliminating the one-and-one bonuses.
▪ The team foul count will reset at the 10-minute mark of each half and in overtime, but the game will not be stopped at the 10-minute mark. Fouls will simply reset. A team is in the bonus after the opposing team’s fifth foul of each 10-minute segment (and fourth team foul in overtime), and/ or after a second team foul with under two minutes to play in each period.
Did you know?
TCU is 8-2 all-time against Sam Houston State. The Frogs won the last meeting, 91-81, in 2002.
In that game, guard Corey Santee scored 23 points, including six 3-pointers. Santee is now a graduate assistant with the program.
Did you know, Part II
The first meeting between the two schools? Sam Houston State won 30-27 in 1937. TCU scored fewer than 27 points in the first-half just once this season (25 vs. Texas Tech on March 2).
▪ TCU junior guard Desmond Bane, along with seniors JD Miller and Alex Robinson, will join Prince Fowler as the only players in program history to participate in a postseason tournament in three different seasons.
▪ TCU and SHSU share the ball well, as each rank in the Top 20 in assists nationally. TCU is No. 20 at 16.3 assists per game, and SHSU is No. 17 at 16.6.
▪ TCU and Sam Houston State are separated by less than a point in scoring offense per game (TCU’s 74.5 to SHSU’s 75.2) and scoring defense per game (TCU’s 70.2 to SHSU’s 69.5).
▪ SHSU is making its first NIT appearance. The Bearkats are led by Cameron Delaney, the Southland Conference player of the year who averaged 13.3 points a game.