TCU has lost their last three games and four of their last five. They would currently be sitting with a five-game losing streak – an 0-5 start in the Big 12 – had they not outplayed Baylor in overtime at their place a few weeks back.
And yet, I have the Horned Frogs ranked in my top 25 today. They’re 25th, mind you, but they’re there, over the likes of Creighton and Texas A&M and Notre Dame and Florida State and Nevada and Saint Mary’s.
The reason why is simple in my mind: TCU is excruciatingly close to having an absolutely incredible season. They are, as I wrote on Saturday afternoon, the perfect example of just how insanely tough the Big 12 is this season.
TCU lost by one to No. 9 Oklahoma at home in their Big 12 opener after Trae Young sparked a comeback from 11 points down in the final 10 minutes and TCU missed a shot at the buzzer that would have won it. They lost by four points at home to Kansas on a night when Kansas shot 55 percent from three. They lost by one in double-overtime at Texas when Jaylen Fisher missed a would-be game-winning layup at the buzzer, and they lost by five in overtime at Oklahoma.
Put another way, their four losses in the Big 12 are by a combined 11 points in a combined three overtimes with a combined two missed game-winners. If those game-winners go down, TCU is 3-2 in the Big 12 with another road win and a win over the Fighting Trae Youngs. If a few more bounces go their way, they’re 4-1 or 5-0 in the league, they’re 16-1 or 17-0 on the season and they’re ranked somewhere in the top five, maybe even No. 1.
I’m not sure TCU would deserve that top five ranking if they had it. And I don’t think they currently deserve to be out of the top 25 altogether.
Results matter. They have to. The whole reason we play the game is to determine a winner and a loser. We want those last-second shots to matter, because if they didn’t, then all the drama and fun in sports would disappear.
But it all has to be relative.
Good teams sometimes lose close games to better teams. Sometimes they lose close games to worse teams on the road. It doesn’t mean that team isn’t good.
And TCU is the perfect example.
Anyway, here is the rest of the top 25:
1. Villanova, 16-1 (Last Week: No. 1)
2. Purdue, 17-2 (4)
3. Texas Tech, 15-2 (5)
4. West Virginia, 15-2 (3)
5. Virginia, 16-1 (6)
6. Oklahoma, 14-2 (7)
7. Michigan State, 16-3 (2)
8. Arizona, 14-4 (8)
9. Wichita State, 15-2 (12)
10. Duke, 15-2 (13)
11. Xavier, 16-3 (11)
12. Seton Hall, 15-3 (9)
13. Kansas, 14-3 (14)
14. Arizona State, 14-3 (10)
15. Kentucky, 14-3 (17)
16. Gonzaga, 16-3 (18)
17. North Carolina, 14-4 (19)
18. Auburn, 16-1 (24)
19. Cincinnati, 15-2 (22)
20. Clemson, 15-2 (23)
21. Michigan, 15-4 (NR)
22. Ohio State, 15-4 (NR)
23. Tennessee, 12-4 (NR)
24. Miami, 13-3 (16)
25. TCU, 13-4, (21)
DROPPED OUT: No. 15 Texas A&M, No. 20 Notre Dame, No. 25 Creighton
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 21 Michigan, No. 22 Ohio State, No. 23 Tennessee