TCU Makes Field as No.6 Seed


TCU Basketball | Image by William Purnell/USA TODAY Sports

FORT WORTH — The room was full of optimism and anticipation as the TCU Horned Frogs men’s basketball team gathered to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show at the Stuart Family Courtside Club inside Schollmaier Arena on the school campus.

After a grueling season in the Big 12 and a late run in the conference tournament, the Horned Frogs solidified a spot in the field, making the tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1953.

“This is a special day for us,” head coach Jamie Dixon said as he spoke to the team and a collection of TCU community members before the show. “Obviously, we just came off a nice tournament run. I loved how we played up there. We played so hard, even down the stretch against Texas. We fought every second and every minute and I’m just so proud of these guys; how they played and how they performed after a great win against Kansas State– a great team.”

“I thought we could win the whole thing, but it’s good to be sitting here and getting ready for this next tournament coming up, and that’s what we’ve been building this whole year for.”

“When you think about where it all started, you think about obstacles, you think about adversity, this team’s been through it all,” forward Emanuel Miller added as TCU’s fourth-year players took turns answering questions in front of the crowd, “From the very start, we’ve been through it all, and we’ve prevailed every single time, and I think we have so much growth that we have seen throughout this program.”

“There’s so much growth we have experienced, and I think we’re going to continue to do that, and I think, as a program collectively, we’re just beyond grateful to be in this position not only for last year and for this year as well.”

The Horned Frogs had been projected as a No.5-seed or a No.6-seed for most of the season.

After the first two regions were unveiled, TCU finally saw its name pop up as the No.6 seed in the West Region, matched against the winner of the 11-seed play-in game between Arizona State and Nevada at Denver’s Ball Arena at 9:05 p.m. CDT on Friday. The winner will face either No.3-seed Gonzaga or No.14-seed Grand Canyon on Sunday.

“We’re excited,” Miller said as he met with media members. “There are exciting times ahead of us. To be going back-to-back years with the TCU program is exciting. I think we’re all just soaking in our emotions right now, and we just know that we have great things ahead of us.”

“We get the play-in game,” Dixon continued. “But a lot of people don’t like the 5/12 matchup because you get the best of the at-large teams, and obviously, that’s historically been the upset game. You get a team that probably hasn’t played a lot of power teams that’s really good, say a Charleston or say a Drake, in those games, and you tend to get the power fives and the bigger conferences in the six-spot.”

“It’s a little different,” he responded when asked about preparing for two possible opponents. “I think the only time I’d ever had that was the first year we got in here at TCU with the Syracuse, Arizona State game … It’s a little different; there’s no question. We focused one day on one team, and the next day on the other team is kind of how we did it.”

TCU was eliminated in an overtime thriller in the second round against No.1 seed Arizona last season. The Horned Frogs defeated Seton Hall in the first round for the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 1987. The loss to Arizona has motivated this year’s team, and the players have their eyes set on something greater.

“I don’t feel like we’re a surprise anymore,” guard Mike Miles told reporters on Sunday. “We know how good we are, and I feel like everyone in the country knows how good we are. We’re staying confident going into this tournament. We’re staying together and believing in one another, and trying to get the win.”



Houston (31-3) is the No.1 seed in the Midwest region and the No.2 overall seed. They will play 16-seed Northern Kentucky (22-12) at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, at 8:20 p.m. CDT on Thursday. The winner moves on to the second round against either No.8-seed Iowa or No.9-seed Auburn on Saturday.

Texas (26-8) is the No.2 seed in the Midwest region. They will play 15-seed Colgate (26-8) at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, at 6:25 p.m. CDT on Thursday. The winner advances to play either No.7-seed Texas A&M on No.10-seed Penn State on Saturday.

Baylor (22-10) is the No.3 seed in the South Region despite losing in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. The Bears will face 14-seed University of California at Santa Barbara (27-7) at Ball Arena in Denver at 12:30 p.m. CDT on Friday. The winner plays No.6-seed Creighton or No.11 North Carolina State on Saturday.

Texas A&M (25-9) is the No.7 seed in the Midwest region. They will take on 10-seed Penn State (22-13) at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines at 8:55 p.m. CDT on Thursday. The winner plays No.2-seed Texas or No.15-seed Colgate on Saturday.

Texas A&M – Corpus Christ (23-10) makes the NCAA Tournament after winning the Southland Conference for the second year in a row. Like last season, the Islanders will have a play-in game during the First Four. They will play in the Tournament’s first game against 16-seed Southeast Missouri State (19-16) in Dayton, Ohio, at 5:40 p.m. CDT on Tuesday. The winner plays No.1 overall seed Alabama in the South Region.

Texas Southern (14-20) is also a No.16-seed and part of the First Four. The Tigers are making their NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament and play 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson (19-15) in Dayton at 5:40 p.m. CDT on Wednesday. The winner gets No.1 seed Purdue (29-5) at 5:50 p.m. CDT Friday.

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