The situations are coming up like TCU coach Trent Johnson knew they would — crucial moments against good teams.
But the response from his team is not all the way there yet as Game No. 4 of the Big 12 men’s basketball schedule arrives Saturday.
“The bottom line is, like I addressed it with the guys, this is the first time for everybody on this team, individually as players, that they’ve been in this situation — where they had to make plays versus the caliber of teams, the caliber of players they’re playing against,” Johnson said.
The Horned Frogs, who went 13-0 in nonconference, are 0-3 in the league as they head to Texas Tech (10-7, 0-4). They led in the second half against West Virginia and Baylor and were close against Kansas State. But they couldn’t close the leads at home or rally in Manhattan, Kan.
“We can’t have breakdowns now that we’ve gotten to the point where we can compete at a high level and be in games down the stretch,” Johnson said. “We can’t have breakdowns and have a chance to win and be successful in this league.”
The Horned Frogs might have gotten a chance to slow down and work on some things. They had a week between the overtime loss to Baylor and Saturday’s game at Tech. They play against Texas on Monday, but have five days until their next game, at West Virginia.
There is a lot of practice time in those days, plus chances for Johnson to reinforce his message.
“When you play against good people, you have to stay the course,” he said. “You can’t try to do too much. You’ve got to play to your strengths and not your weaknesses.
“The bottom line is, we get more opportunities night in and night out against teams in this league.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760
TCU men at Texas Tech
3 p.m. Saturday, United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock