With no significant changes in this week’s top 25, No.22 TCU and No.9 Texas will face off as ranked teams for the second time this season on Wednesday night in Fort Worth.
Texas (22-7) is coming off a loss against No.7 Baylor after (giving up) an early 14-point lead.
To earn a share of first place in the Big 12 with No.3 Kansas, the Longhorns would have to win their final two games, one of which is against the Jayhawks.
When asked if his team felt an urgency to win in a meeting with local media on Monday, interim head coach Rodney Terry replied, “We’ve played March basketball for the last two weeks … Every game’s been a real game. We haven’t had an opponent where we can say, ‘Hey man, we can’t bring our A-game.'”
On Saturday, TCU (19-10), ranked in the top 25 for a program-record 13th consecutive week, won its most recent game with two free throws in the final seconds against Texas Tech.
After a 13-1 start to the season, the Horned Frogs, marred by critical injuries, have gone 6-9 over the last 15 games, one of them being the mid-January meeting in which they lost a substantial lead against the Longhorns.
However, the Horned Frogs will tie another program record if they can get a fifth top-25 win of the season against the Longhorns.
Terry knows that means his team will have its hands full again come Wednesday.
“This is a very well-coached team. It’s one of [head coach] Jamie [Dixon]’s better teams that he’s had at TCU,” he told reporters on Zoom on Monday.
“They cause a lot of problems with their active hands. They have active hands, and, in game one, they got their hands on a lot of balls, and they turned a lot of those turnovers into points.”
“Our shot selection has to be really good,” Terry continued. “We have to have floor balance, so we don’t have those guys just running out on us. There’s going to be a big premium on taking care of the ball [and] protecting the paint.”
“They’re a team that really gets downhill, and they do a lot of scoring around the basket. We’re going to have to do a great job of getting back in transition, protecting in the paint, and valuing and taking care of the ball,” he concluded.
TCU hosts Texas at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
There are three other Texas schools in this week’s top 25.
Houston remains No.1 after clinching the American Athletic Conference regular-season championship with a win over East Carolina on Saturday.
Baylor, now 22-8 after defeating Oklahoma State on Monday, rises to No.7 after a comeback win against the Longhorns on Saturday. The Bears are a game and a half behind Kansas and a half-game behind Texas in the Big 12 and will close the regular season against Iowa State at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday.
Texas A&M (21-8) moves from No.25 to No.24 despite losing to Mississippi State on Saturday. The Aggies are in second place in the SEC and end the year with Ole Miss and No.2 Alabama.
Elsewhere, Maryland and Pittsburgh enter the rankings for the first time this season at No.21 and No.25, respectively. Kentucky, considered a bubble team for the NCAA tournament by many, returns to the poll at No.23.
Creighton, Iowa State, and Northwestern all drop out after losses.
Here is the full Top 25 for this week:
FULL AP TOP 25 (first-place votes)
1. Houston (49) 27-2
2. Alabama (5) 25-4
3. Kansas (8) 24-5
4. UCLA 25-4
5. Purdue 24-5
6. Marquette 23-6
7. Baylor 21-8 — at the time the poll was released
8. Arizona 24-5
9. Texas 22-7
10. Gonzaga 25-5
11. Kansas State 22-7
12. Tennessee 21-8
13. Virginia 21-6
14. Connecticut 22-7
15. Indiana 20-9
16. Miami (FL) 23-6
17. Saint Mary’s 25-6
18. San Diego State 23-5
19. Xavier 21-8
20. Providence 21-8
21. Maryland 20-9
22. TCU 19-10
23. Kentucky 20-9
24. Texas A&M 21-8
25. Pittsburgh 21-8
Here are the other teams who received votes but did not make the top 25:
Creighton 87, Duke 78, Oral Roberts 40, Northwestern 39, Florida Atlantic 25, Iowa State 20, Nevada 17, Missouri 16, Arkansas 7, Charleston 6, North Carolina State 6, Clemson 5, Memphis 4, Boise State 3, USC 3, VCU 1, West Virginia 1.