TCU was definitely going to get an upgrade in basketball competition upon joining the Big 12 Conference.
And that won’t be more prevalent than Wednesday night when No. 5 Kansas shows up in Daniel-Meter Coliseum to look to add one more loss to TCU’s 0-8 conference record.
That’s the Kansas Jayhawks, boasters of three national championships and 23 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, against a TCU team that’s currently 9-12 and hasn’t seen the dance since 1998.
The comparison between the two programs is staggering. Kansas’ second-most-ever wins (2,089) are nearly twice TCU’s (1,101). The Jayhawks have played for 10 years more than the Horned Frogs and yet have nearly 500 fewer losses (808-1,284). They’ve made more trips to the national title game (9) than TCU has made trips to the NCAA Tournament (7).
Such is the case when a program forced to languish in football territory has to face one from a region where people actually care about basketball.
And yet for all that success, Kansas may owe a little debt of gratitude to TCU for their current stability, if not existence. After all, it was TCU’s arrival that kept the Big 12 from imploding. The anticipated breakups of the conference over the last two years would have left Kansas high and dry with no conference; such is the plight of a school with no recognizable football program to attract a conference like the (then-called) Pac 10.
While the Jayhawks, as usual, are battling for another conference championship and top seed in the tournament, TCU is just trying to find a way to win a game.
The Frogs aren’t just struggling to win. They’ve lost their last five games by at least 13 points, including 71-50 at West Virginia, 82-56 to Baylor and 60-43 at Texas.
One good thing they can look forward to is a big crowd. The last time the Jayhawks came to Fort Worth, it set a Daniel-Meyer attendance record at 7,267 on Dec. 1, 2003. That game saw Kansas beat the Frogs 85-66.
The other possible ray of hope harkens back to that same year. The Jayhawks were upset in their very next game by Nevada – a Nevada team coached by Trent Johnson, now TCU’s coach.
Kansas is also coming off a loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday. But given that coach Bill Self responded to that game by saying his team was acting spoiled, it’s a good bet the Jayhawks will be fired up.
As if the Frogs didn’t need another obstacle.
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