It’s a very good thing the TCU Horned Frogs pulled an upset on the road at Iowa State a week ago. That win will naturally carry a lot of mileage over the next few weeks, but what is also important about that victory is that it occurred before more injuries swamped this snakebitten team.
TCU was affected on the court by injuries on Saturday, and it also received more bad injury-related news off the court. The double-whammy made a 71-62 home-court loss to Oklahoma feel even worse.
TCU is not particularly imperiled in the larger context of the bubble picture — not yet, at any rate. However, it might become especially hard to dig out wins in the ultra-competitive Big 12 in the coming weeks.
TCU was without Kouat Noi on Saturday, and his 3-point shooting was missed on a day when the Frogs made just 9 of 32 triples against Oklahoma’s zone defense. Noi should be back soon, but the Horned Frogs learned on Saturday that forward Lat Mayen will be out for the rest of the season.
TCU head coach Jamie Dixon discussed his shorthanded team’s struggles against the OU zone:
“We knew they were going to play it and we obviously didn’t get to practice against it much because of our situation with our numbers,” Dixon said. “Still got to find a way and we didn’t.”
Dixon’s patchwork lineup will need to bounce back on Monday night at Oklahoma State. TCU needs to avoid a resume-denting loss. If it can do that, the Frogs will still be in solid shape for the NCAAs. However, the margins are getting smaller, and what has happened the past two seasons on the injury front has not made Dixon’s task any easier.
#TCU's Jamie Dixon: "We've had four guys with season-ending injuries. That's unheard of. And when I say that, they've had injuries throughout almost a year-and-a-half."
— Dean Straka (@DWStraka49) February 16, 2019
This piece by Dean Straka of the Dallas Morning News details the major recent injuries and roster losses suffered by TCU, the biggest one being the season-ending injury to Jaylen Fisher, the player who often enabled this team to flourish.
The reality of attrition has never truly left Jamie Dixon’s team in each of the past two seasons. When this season ultimately ends, TCU will wonder what could have happened if everyone had been healthy. That refrain is similar to 2018.
That big-picture question, however, can wait. What matters now is fighting through these injuries and simply making the NCAA Tournament.
The Frogs have been plagued, but their Biblical run of bad injury luck doesn’t have to have the last word.
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