TCU, on a foreign tour of Australia, picked up a 107-81 victory over the Longhorns on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Stadium in Werribee, Victoria, Australia.
Desmond Bane had 21 points off the bench to lead the Horned Frogs, followed by 19 points and eight assists from Alex Robinson. Redshirt freshman forward Kouat Noi was one-rebound shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds.
As for the Longhorns, they were led by 28 points, off 10-of-14 shooting, from Jim Halpert. Yes, that Jim Halpert, the prankster paper salesman from the legendary comedy, ‘The Office’.
Meredith Palmer, the branch’s Supplier Relations Representative, contributed 17 points and six boards. Michael Scott proved his performance against the warehouse staff in 2005 was an off day and, in fact, he does “typically hit those.”
TCU, a fringe top-25 team entering the 2017-18 season, concludes its trip to Australia on Tuesday against the Knox Raiders at State Basketball Centre in Melbourne.
March Madness 2017: Big 12 Tournament Preview, Bracket and Conference Postseason Awards
Big 12 Player of the Year: Frank Mason III, Kansas
Mason’s play this season makes him the no-brainer conference player of the year and perhaps the frontrunner for the national award. He’s averaging 20.5 points, 5.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 48.8 percent from the field and a sizzling 49.3 percent from 3-point range for the potential No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
Big 12 Coach of the Year: Bill Self, Kansas
There was a temptation to reward Brad Underwood for Oklahoma State’s turnaround, but it’s impossible not to recognize Self leading his program not only to a 13th-straight conference title, but doing it by four games in the country’s toughest league. Kansas may have the top talent in the league year in and year out, but Self’s presence on the sideline guarantees it comes together year in and year out. This season was no exception.
First-Team All-Big 12:
Frank Mason III, Kansas (POY)
Monte Morris, Iowa State: The nation’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio is as consistent an elite presence on the floor as there is in the country.
Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State: The most dynamic and important piece of the country’s best offense, Evans averaged 18.7 points per game.
Josh Jackson, Kansas: Mason is Kansas’ MVP, but Jackson is the Jayhawks’ most difficult matchup and is a likely top-five NBA draft pick.
Johnathan Motley, Baylor: The big man doubled his rebounding output this season to average a double-double of 17.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The thought was coming into the year that the Big 12 would be down this season, but for the fourth-straight year it ranked as the country’s best conference by KenPom. Another thing that didn’t change was Kansas winning the league, making it 13 in a row for the Jayhawks. The league isn’t going to send a huge number to the NCAA tournament this season, but make no mistake, the conference’s round-robin schedule was a grind, making it all the more impressive Kansas cleared the league by four games.
The Jayhawks are clearly the class of the Big 12, winning the conference by its largest margin since 2010. Kansas isn’t invulnerable at the Sprint Center, as the rest of the league has more than enough firepower to threaten them, but there’s no argument that makes anyone else the favorite.
And if they lose?: West Virginia
The Mountaineers should have swept Kansas this year. They rocked them in Morgantown, but blew a late lead in spectacular fashion in Lawrence later in the season. Their Press Virginia style seems to seriously bother the Jayhawks, and it could make for a raucous title game.
Baylor: The Bears went 2-4 against the top-four of the conference, but their length and the talent of Johnathan Motley makes them an intriguing matchup
Iowa State: The Cyclones have won six of their last seven and three members of their core — Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas — who have won two Big 12 tournament titles in their career. They’ve also have claimed wins against each of the other top teams in the league this year.
Sleeper: Oklahoma State
The Cowboys opened the Big 12 slate with six-straight losses, but then won nine of 10 before ending the season with losses to Iowa State and Kansas. Their defense is porous, but their top-ranked KenPom offense, led by point guard Jawun Evans, makes them a legitimate threat to reel off three wins in three days.
The Bubble Dwellers: One
Kansas State: Most projections have the Wildcats just on the bad side of the field of 68 line, which means they’ll probably have to score a win against Baylor in the quarterfinals to move the needle. Depending on what happens around the rest of the country, that one more win could be enough to earn a berth.
Defining moment of the season: Kansas erasing a 14-point deficit in the final three minutes at home against West Virginia. This is Peak Phog Allen.
After seeing his playing time and production decrease under a new staff, TCU junior Malique Trent has left the program, the school announced Tuesday.
“We wish Malique the best of luck and thank him for his contributions to the TCU program,” Horned Frogs coach Jamie Dixon said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Trent was the Frogs’ top returning scorer after he posted 11.6 points per game last season, but has been marginalized in the rotation under Dixon, who replaced Trent Johnson last spring. Trent went from 28.4 minutes per game last year and making 27 starts, to 12.3 minutes and three starts this year. He was averaging just 3.8 points per game and shooting 35.7 percent from the floor.
The 6-foot-2 guard joined the program last year after a stint in junior college. Dixon has been employing freshmen Jaylen Fisher and Desmond Bane frequently in the backcourt while Trent played double-digit minutes just once in the last month and did not see the floor last week against Kansas.
The Horned Frogs, who are 11-2 overall and 0-1 in the Big 12, face Oklahoma at home Tuesday night.
And that’s before you consider how talented Kentucky is, how well they have been playing this season and the fact that UCLA was playing their first road game of the season against them in front of 23,000 screaming members of Big Blue Nation.
With all that in mind, really consider what the Bruins did on Saturday, overcoming a sluggish start and an early Kentucky run to more-or-less manhandle the Wildcats for a solid 25 minutes. UCLA was up double-figures for the majority of the second half and would have won by that amount if it wasn’t for a late flurry of buckets from Kentucky.
And they did all of that despite the fact that Lonzo Ball really only played about 20 good minutes on Saturday. T.J. Leaf was terrific, Ike Anigbogu opened quite a few eyes and Aaron Holiday completely changed the course of the game when he entered in the first half.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers certainly made a statement on Saturday, as they went into Charlottesville and knocked off No. 6 Virginia. They did so despite not having anyone on the roster score more than 11 points and while forcing just 14 turnovers. West Virginia really needed this win after falling against Temple earlier in the season.
Indiana: The Hoosiers landed their second elite win of the season as they knocked off No. 3 North Carolina in Assembly Hall on Wednesday night. This comes three weeks after they beat Kansas on a neutral court, giving them the best pair of wins in the country. The bad news? O.G. Anunoby sprained his ankle and will have to miss some time, but that’s neither here nor there. That injury isn’t going to take either of those wins off the board.
Middle Tennessee State: Kermit Davis may have a better team this season than the one that he had last season, when the Blue Raiders beat No. 2 seed Michigan State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The Blue Raiders obliterated Ole Miss on the road on Wednesday, following that up with a win at South Alabama.
Illinois: Coming off of a three-game losing streak that seemingly had Illinois fans ready to fire John Groce on the spot, Malcolm Hill and the Illini responded with a pair of quality wins. They knocked off Dennis Smith Jr. and N.C. State on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and followed that up by beating VCU, 64-46.
TCU: The Horned Frogs are one of just two teams in the Big 12 that remain undefeated after a 2-0 week. TCU not only knocked off potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz at the Washington Huskies for the second straight time, they also manhandled a good Arkansas State team, 77-54. Jamie Dixon and company will head to SMU and raucous Moody Coliseum on Wednesday. We’ll know more about them by then.
Jamie Dixon’s return to his alma mater is continuing to pay dividends on the recruiting trail.
Kevin Samuel, a top-100 center in 2017, committed to TCU on Tuesday to become the second four-star prospect to pledge to the Horned Frogs under Dixon.
TCU already has secured three commitments for its 2017 class with three-stars R.J. Nembhard and Kuat Noi already in the fold. Samuel, though, instantly becomes the headliner of the group. The 6-foot-10 center from Houston chose the Horned Frogs over offers from the likes of Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, UCLA and Texas A&M.
TCU’s recruiting in just a few months under Dixon has been very strong, starting with nabbing four-star UNLV de-commit Jaylen FIsher in June. Dixon and his staff have also been strong in-state, with Texas products Josh Parrish and Nembhard along with Samuel electing to stay in the Lone Star State with TCU.
The Horned Frogs were never able to find their footing in the Big 12 under Trent Johnson, but as Dixon continues to reel in top talent, it’s easy to see how TCU will be able to climb out of the conference cellar and into NCAA tournament contention before too long.
TCU’s leading scorer is leaving the school and college basketball behind.
Chauncey Collins, who had two years of eligibility remaining, will pursue a start to his professional career, the school announced Tuesday night. The Horned Frogs also announced the departure of little-used freshman guard Lyrik Shreiner.
“We would like to thank Chauncey and Lyrik for their contributions to TCU,” coach Jamie Dixon said in the school’s press release. “We wish Chauncey the best as he looks to begin his professional career to provide for his family and will support Lyrik as he continues his college career at another university.”
Collins started 24 games and averaged 12.3 points on 38.7 percent shooting while dishing out 2.0 assists and grabbing 3.0 rebounds in 31.0 minutes per game. His professional career would presumably begin overseas or in the D-League.
His departure paves the way for incoming recruit Jaylen Fisher to take the reigns at point guard immediately in Dixon’s first year coaching at his alma mater. Fisher is a consensus top-50 recruit who pledged to TCU following decommitting from UNLV.
Shreiner appeared in 22 games last year, averaging 5.4 minutes per appearance.