No. 22 TCU eyes sweep of Oklahoma to wrap regular season
Jamie Dixon has accomplished plenty in his seven seasons as TCU’s coach.
In 2018, he led the Horned Frogs to their first NCAA Tournament in 20 seasons.
Four seasons later, Dixon coached TCU to its first NCAA tourney win since 1987 — Dixon’s senior year at the school.
Saturday, Dixon’s No. 22 Horned Frogs (20-10, 9-8 Big 12) have a chance to add to the list of accomplishments under Dixon.
A win in the regular-season finale, against Oklahoma (14-16, 4-13) on Saturday in Norman, Okla., would give TCU its first winning conference record since 2000-01 when the Horned Frogs were 9-7 in the Western Athletic Conference.
And the Horned Frogs’ performance this season has come playing in perhaps the toughest league in college basketball.
“Well, we got better, so that makes it harder right there,” Dixon said of the Big 12’s shift since he arrived. “Obviously, I figured us getting better would make it better. But I think it has generally been accepted by everybody (that the Big 12 is the best). And I think our fans are realizing it. There are great games every night. It is amazing.”
The first meeting between TCU and the Sooners was not one of those games.
The Horned Frogs dominated from the start and ran away for a 79-52 victory at home on Jan. 24 thanks to 23 points from Mike Miles.
Miles was injured early in TCU’s next game and missed three weeks.
He’s coming off his worst offensive game of the season, scoring just one point and missing all eight shots he took in Wednesday’s win over Texas.
“But he kept playing and played hard on defense,” Dixon said. “He came up with rebounds. A lot of the time he was playing post defense and guarding on the perimeter.”
Starting with the game in which was Miles was injured early, the Horned Frogs were just 1-5 without him.
But since his return, TCU has gone 3-1, scoring an average of 86 points in the three victories.
While the Frogs have been headed in a positive direction, the Sooners have scuffled through much of conference play.
A loss Saturday would set a program record for the most conference losses in a season.
Even through their struggles, the Sooners have been able to pull out victories against strong teams — knocking off Alabama, Kansas State and Iowa State since late January while dropping their other 10 games during that stretch.
Saturday’s game will be the final home game for Tanner Groves, one of Porter Moser’s first additions after Moser took over the Sooners after the 2020-21 season following a long stint at Loyola Chicago.
Groves is coming off one of his worst games of the season, going just 1 of 5 with two points in Wednesday’s loss to Kansas State. The Sooners are 8-6 when Groves scores at least 10 points.
“He could’ve gone anywhere in the country,” Moser said of Groves, who transferred from Eastern Washington in 2021. “He believed in what we were doing. He believed in how we were going to play him. … I’ll always remember that of him when we started this, believing in what we’re going.
“Those are starting points for a program.”
A win Saturday would give TCU the No. 5 seed at next week’s Big 12 tournament. Oklahoma will be the No. 10 seed in the tournament.
–Field Level Media