Frogs Seek 2nd Straight Top-25 Win

Jim Christian's Horned Frogs (16-11) have the chance to get their second straight win vs. a top-25 team. TCU knocked off UNLV in their previous home game.

A fifth quality win vs. an RPI top-75 team would all but secure TCU's first postseason play in years.

The Frogs have a chance to earn that 5th victory tonight when New Mexico comes to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

On January 28, TCU played on the road against New Mexico, and the Frogs cut the Lobo lead to as little as five points in the second half but faded down the stretch as New Mexico got a 71-54 victory.

In the friendly-confines of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, Jim Christian's team has played much better than on the road.

TCU has won seven straight games at home, and they knocked off UNLV in their previous home game.

In doing so, the Frogs have guaranteed themselves their first winning season since 2004-2005 when the Frogs finished 19-13.

TCU has not beaten back-to-back ranked teams at home since 1997-1998 when the Frogs beat Hawaii and New Mexico.

The Lobos are 22-5 on the season. In their last contest, they suffered a tough loss on the road at Colorado State. A snowstorm forced the Lobos to fly directly to Fort Worth from Fort Collins this week.

TCU head coach Jim Christian has been pleased with how his team has played and practiced this week since their victory vs. Air Force.

"I was proud of how we played at Air Force," Christian said. "We were playing a hot team who just beat San Diego State. They were on back-to-back home games. Not many teams this year have had back-to-back home games and someone has come in and beaten them the second time through."

The Frogs have shot the ball well in the second half of Mountain West Conference play. TCU has made six or more shots from behind the arc in ten straight games. In four of their last six games, the Frogs have hit at least 12 three pointers.

However for Jim Christian, defensive focus is the key to the Frogs' consistent success.

"We need to have consistency of knowing exactly what we need to do. We have to stick with our gameplan as we substitute," Christian said. "I think that is where we lose some [effectiveness]. We can't lose focus as guys get tired and new guys have to come in and be fresh."

"Defense is just consistency," Christian said. "We have gotten big stops, but we haven't been a consistently good defensive team."

Christian also noted one specific change which he believes has buoyed his team since TCU's home victory vs. Colorado State.

Christian has inserted Connell Crossland into the starting lineup, and the Frogs have seen their defense and rebounding improve since the switch.

"Connell has started three in a row for that reason. For his ability to rebound. He had eight rebounds in 13 minutes. He had nine rebounds the game before that playing at Boise," Christian said. "About four games ago, our inability to rebound the basketball was really costing us games."

"You can't win in this league when we've got two people playing [the 4 position] getting one and two rebounds per game. You can't put the onus solely on J.R. to get every defensive rebound. We have been a better rebounding team since we put him in the game," Christian said.

The Lobos, on the other hand, have been one of the nation's best defensive teams throughout the season. New Mexico ranks fifth defensively in field-goal percentage defense. They rank 9th nationally in scoring defense.

To stop the Lobos, opponents have to slow down senior forward Drew Gordon who is averaging 12.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.

Colorado State knocked off New Mexico by minimizing Gordon's effectiveness. Gordon was outplayed by Pierce Hornung who set a career-high in rebounds Tuesday.

Defensively, TCU will have to buckle-down to guard New Mexico's lateral screening action. Sophomores Kendall Williams and Tony Snell both run off lateral screens in New Mexico's motion offense.

Kendall Williams also ranks 5th in the Mountain West Conference in assists per game with 3.96.

Showing Progress

TCU fans have wanted to see progress from Jim Christian's basketball team.

Consider this:

TCU is 10-0 when holding their opponents to under 47.6 percent from the floor.

TCU is 10-0 when out-rebounding their opponent.

TCU has beaten 2 top-25 teams.

This year's 16 wins so far are two more than in any season since 04-05.

TCU has four top-75 RPI wins.

A berth to the NIT (or NCAA tournament) would be TCU's first since 2005.

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