WVU Gameday Blog

WVU v. TCU: If these Washingtons were Benjamins

I suppose it’s fair to mention that history is on the line because TCU, while infested by injury bugs, is so close to being historically bad. So close.

The Horned Frogs have a 15-game losing streak, all of it in Big 12 play, after going 9-3 in non-conference competition. The .750 winning percentage outside of league play was the best since going 11-3 in the 1999-2000 season.

A WVU win today would make TCU just the third team to start 0-16 in Big 12 play. The 1998-99 Baylor team and the 2003-04 Texas A&M squads started and finished 0-16. TCU could be the first to go 0-18. This is the third season with 18 games — and the Big 12 has been a thing since the 1996-97 season — and teams have gotten close to 0-18 twice, including 2-16 TCU last season. Texas Tech was closer at 1-17 a year before.

But wait, there’s more. The conference record for consecutive losses is 20 games (Baylor, 2004-06), though the Horned Frogs, with four games remaining, are unlikely to tie or set that one because of a probably cozy home opener next season. The record 19 straight Big 12 losses (that same Bayor team) could happen in January. TCU has lost all 17 of its  Big 12 road games, and hasn’t won a conference road game since Feb. 20, 2012, but is a long way from Colorado’s 35-game Big 12 road losing streak (2006-10).

Nevertheless, WVU can and honestly ought to keep all those things going today and has to be counting this one when Bob Huggins maintains confidence that his team can make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team.

But will it be so easy? Projections say “YES”, all caps, and I imagine that’s because TCU plays slowly on offense and a 2-3 zone on defense and to minimize possessions and manage weaknesses, of which there are many.

That’s a danger against WVU because WVU can get hot, especially at home, where the points per possession is 1.22. That’s a big number. WVU’s overall PPP is 1.13, which is No. 34 nationally. In the road/neutral/Civic Center games, the PPP is 1.05.

The ways around that? TCU would have to force and avoid turnovers, rebound dominantly and make 3-pointers.

Those are all startling weaknesses for the Horned Frogs. No team has turned it over more or turned opponents over fewer times that TCU. The rebounding margin is the worst in overall games and conference games (minus-14.3!), as are the 3-point shooting percentages.

And here’s the highlighted stat. TCU has made the fewest baskets in Big 12 games (290) and all games (571). The second lowest totals are 82 and 109 baskets better. That’s crazy in this league, and because I can’t stop fixating upon this, TCU averages 19.3 baskets per game in Big 12 competition. That’s a half against WVU!

Their margin for error is super small and they’ll be without Amric Fields, who will miss a third straight game with injury. Five players are out for the season with injuries. That doesn’t help.

Best case for the Horned Frogs? It’s not far-fetched, actually. The have an elite scorer and the kind that can give WVU’s conference-worst defense fits. Kyan Anderson can get his shots inside and outside. He drives it well and can finish, which is a concern for WVU’s concerning problem with points in the paint, but he’s also shooting 40.6 percent from 3-point range (39-for-96), 44.8 percent in Big 12 play and 55.3 percent in Big 12 road games.

And here’s where things get weird. TCU is better on the road than at home. I mean, much better. Their scoring average, their field-goal, 3-point and rebounding percentages and their defensive marks are much better away from home.

Unlikely, yes. Impossible. Impossible is nothing.

This blog? It’s not nothing. Let’s throw it in the post …




Mike Casazza March 1, 20143:27 pm

It’s an 81-59 final and WVU played the second half the way it needed to play the second half.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20143:25 pm

Slipped into the restroom at the under-four timeout. It’s a public restroom with the troughs that are just shamefu Anyhow, this guy sidles in next to me…

“Do you know why 6 was afraid of 7?”
“I said, ‘Do you know why 6 was afraid of 7?”
“Sir, I’m in the middle of …”
“Well, 6 was afraid of 7 because 7 eight 9. I read that in the funny pages of the Sunday paper years back.”

Normally, I would have turned left and stared coldly at him. Clearly, that was not the stage for such a reaction.

Anyhow, Huggins just cleared the bench and Tyrone Hughes and Richard Romeo have scores.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20143:16 pm

Head down, writing, but Staten’s driving doesn’t impress Shepherd, who fouls and has some lip for Staten. Might have returned the lip, actually. Staten has that shade about him.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20143:04 pm

TCU looks mostly disinterested. Harris took a long 3 that the Frogs watched. Adrian stepped in for the board and scored easily, except that he received a shamefully soft foul from Montigel. It’s 58-42, free throw pending because Trent needed a timeout to keep his team afloat.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20143:02 pm

Williams has 8 and 7, by the way. Seemed like his kind of day.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20143:01 pm

OK, this should do it. Williams makes two free throws and then scores on a putback. Adrian gets a tip, I guess at the top of a 1-2-2 zone, and Staten feed Harris for a layup. He misses the free throw but its 53-42.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:56 pm

And TCU is going to the high screen, slip-your-big offense that WVU can’t often defend.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:56 pm

Actually, TCU gets the ball. Don’t ask me why.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:55 pm

Shepherd misses a dunk and gets a technical for, I guess, trying to get the ball while hanging on the rim. That looked like a fleeting attempt though. Harris makes two free throws and WVU has the ball up 48-40 with 12:34 to go.


Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:54 pm

Hits a step in going left. Of course. We have 11 combined points in 71/2 minuted this half

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:53 pm

Browne worked a lot on right-side 3, and especially moving to his right, in pregame. He’snot taking them.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:53 pm

TCU hasn’t taken a 3 since the 11:17 mark of the first half.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:51 pm

Noreen blocked a shot and then Shepherd two-hand blocked a Staten layup. Harris then double dribbles. We need a carry here to complete the circus.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:50 pm

Worth noting TCU is 1-for-4 from 3. Content being patient and getting where it wants to go.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:49 pm

I wish I DVR’d this. WVU is doing things I’ve never seen and I want to see them again to understand why. Adrian was on Anderson the whole defensive possession. Harris was on Shepherd, and doing a good job. Maybe WVU tired of the turnstile on the perimeter, I don’t know.

But TCU turned it over and Harris dribbled the length of the floor. He had a lane but passes it to a covered Adrian, who passed it to Dibo, who missed a 3. Adrian got the board, the ball went to Harris and he didn’t shoot. Dibo then air balled a 3 and we’re in a timeout that we all deserve right now. WVU leads 44-40.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:46 pm

WVU survives that mess, but Staten has it stripped by Anderson, who fakes a pass to no one and misses a layup. Too much panache for my taste.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:46 pm

Whoa, Dibo with a two handed bounce pass into the post at Noreen’s toes. That should be an automatic benching, too. Have to know where you are and who you’re engaging.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:44 pm

And a TCU turnover, one it deserved, frankly.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:44 pm

Bad basketball by TCU. Adrian got caught guarding Anderson and Ray came to set a screen, which let Staten switch to Anderson. Just drive on Adrian. Why get fancy?

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:43 pm

Three fouls on Ray is a big deal early in the half. He’s their best on-the-ball defender today (maybe every day, maybe best defender, period) and he’s got 11 and 9 already.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:42 pm

Your first half in a screen cap.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:25 pm

They’ve made the same number of shots and free throws and WVU has nine more shots and five more 3s … and it’s a three-point game.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:25 pm

NOPE! Staten drives and drops it off to Williams, who loses it on the way up. TCU gets the final shot, but misses a 3.

WVU leads 39-36, but I feel like TCU won that half.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:23 pm

Eh, TCU. Runs a nice set with Shepherd in the high post, but he throws a pass to the back heel of a cutting Ray on the baseline for a turnover. Terrible pass WVU calls its first timeout with 10.9 to go up 39-36. Staten, Dibo and Harris return, reducing the likelihood this could be an adventure…

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:21 pm

I’m not trying to be funny. WVU is playing and struggling against TCU’s scout team.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:20 pm

Oh, man. Christian Gore just open-court crossover’d Harris into a stumble and a foul and two free throws. Not a good look for Harris. He sits. I think that’s an automatic.

Staten jumper for a 38-36 lead.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:16 pm

TCU’s gamble busts. Staten sees Anderson and drives and draws Anderson’s third foul. Now he HAS to sit with 2:35 to go in the half. Looks like Staten will survive at Anderson’s expense.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:16 pm

DWMFOF. (Devin Williams Misses From One Foot)

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:15 pm

He misses. Still a 12-2 run and a 33-32 TCU lead.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:14 pm

And if Shepherd makes the free throw, it’s a 13-2 run with seven points at the foul line. That’s how you let bad teams hang around. Then again, TCU is 12-for-22.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:14 pm

The Frogs hung around and I thought WVU, on the way to a 30-21 lead, were going to pull away. Foul trouble has played a part, but with Harris on the bench and Staten guarding two fouls, you see how shaky WVU can be against anyone.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:12 pm

Yeah, Ray’s a superior defender. Leaks inside off Connor and blocks Watkins at the rim. Soft take by Watkins, but I don’t thin he expected that sort of play from the help side.

And Shepherd gets an and-one on Watkins, who’s been a mess since he entered. TCU leads 33-31 with a free throw coming after the timeout at 3:26.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:11 pm

bodies banging and falling all over and Connor slides into Montigel getting a loose ball on the baseline under the basket and gets called for a foul. Silly, needless call.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:09 pm

TCU’s switched it’s 2-3 a little and put Ray, a much better defender, on Connor’s side. He’s on Connor much more than Tom Montigel was, which is to say Montigel wasn’t. He’s on the left side of the zone now and just about as close to Connor as he was when he was on Connor’s side.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:08 pm

And two fouls on Staten. Anderson is really good at getting his shot and rising up fast for it. He makes two free throws and it’s 32-28. WVU’s reaction to its run, at home, is lacking. Browne back in, but not for Staten. I think Huggins is leery of having his best facilitator and passer on the bench in this situation. Gotta trust the kid, I guess. I’m OK with that.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:05 pm

TCU: 11-for-21. And these are good shots they’re getting and making.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:04 pm

CoNNNor for Browne and the crowd is really pleased with that decision.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20142:01 pm

WVU has four guys on the floor who look like they believe they can or will score on whoever is guarding him. the exception is Noreen, because he’s not that type of player. But that’s helping WVU move more, cut hard and play assertively on offense.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:59 pm

Someone called last call on the TCU bench, I think. Feels like the party is just about over for the Frogs.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:58 pm

Connor has been on the bench since the under 12 timeout. Don’t you have to put him back in?

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:57 pm

Related: Ray has made two long, long jumpers. Darn near 3s, both of them. He’s 4-for-24 from 3 this season.

WVU can’t miss, though. Harris dunk, Harris and Adrian 3s and its 26-19.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:55 pm

The best part about this Connor eruption is Huggins was noting/griping yesterday that guys make shots against his team that never make them against other teams. He’s right, but still…

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:54 pm

And Terry Henderson is on the bench today. He’s not wearing a surgeon’s mask or anything, either.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:53 pm

Worth noting Connor was 0-for-5/0-for-4 all season.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:52 pm

Such a good play by Staten. Ball goes left and all the eyes are on Connor and Harris. Harris shoots and Connor stays put so Staten, unchecked, attacks and puts in the rebound. WU is up 18-17 now and has free throws after this timeout.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:51 pm

CoNNNor! Three 3s!

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:50 pm

Connor! That’s two in two attempts and He’s tied the score at 13-13.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:50 pm

Shepherd an shoot it, and he’s happy to take that, but WVU is going to take that, too.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:47 pm

TCU can hide Anderson in the zone, so Staten will have to be smart if he wants to press the issue. He just drove on Parrish and got a foul call.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:47 pm

…after he sets Connor up for a 3.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:46 pm

And Anderson has two fouls at 14:33. He fouled out of the first game, and I bet you Staten takes notice.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:45 pm

And a Chase Connor sighting! Third Big 12 game for him (Round 1s v. Oklahoma State and Iowa State).

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:44 pm

Hard to say if that was a design by TCU, but it did go at the defensive liability who now has two fouls and Huggins said teams are picking on his defenders and challenging them to stop things opponents find the Mountaineers can’t stop. Dibo’s been porous in the post, though to be fair, that’s not why he’s here.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:41 pm

And Ray gets isolated and goes at Dibo, who does try hard, but can’t seem to guard without fouling. He has two and has to sit at 15:58.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:40 pm

On cue, Adrian out, Browne in, TCU turnover, Harris layup.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:40 pm

Adrian misses a 3 and Huggins needs to figure out what to do here early, I think. WVU can play small, but an Gary Browne play effectively?

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:39 pm

Frogs take a 6-1 lead with two scored by Shepherd (he’s been a steady 12-6 guy in league play) but Harris follows with a 3 and a foul shot. Anderson then gets a look late in the shot clock and makes a 3. Seriously, 55 percent on the road. It’s 9-5.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:37 pm

Huggins thought Dibo played his best effort game against Iowa State. He’s guarding Jarvis Ray like crazy so far, but also has a foul for pushing off on a rebound.

Mike Casazza March 1, 20141:36 pm

This feels like a double-double day for Williams. One rebounds, one point on one possession.