Rising success of Frog basketball deserves fan recognition

TCU is going places in the world of college sports.

Horned Frog football is here to stay despite a BCS bust.

The baseball team, even though it’s been overshadowed by the football team’s recent crack into the BCS, was a win away from the College World Series. The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has the Horned Frogs ranked at No. 15.

According to Golf Week, men’s golf is ranked No. 4.

Men’s swimming is ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West.

Even the equestrian team made a run into the national championship in 2009.

The third leg of the football-baseball-basketball “big three” is stunted, however. What goes on in the oh-too-friendly-for-opponents confines of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum is relatively unknown.

Attendance problems for basketball games is no secret – I’ll beat the dead horse some more.

Before Neil Dougherty’s departure as head coach of men’s basketball in 2008, he made an appeal to TCU football’s most obnoxiously rowdy fan base by going chapter to chapter and calling on each fraternity to attend home basketball games.

The good ‘ole fraternity boys gave him their ears, and Dougherty’s message was somewhat well-received and the transition from football tailgating to basketball “pre-gaming” worked for about half of the basketball season. But losing saps the fun out of any sporting event if there isn’t a Cameron Crazy atmosphere, and that was that for Dougherty’s appeal to the football-faithful fans within the Greek community.

There’s still hope for TCU basketball, and it’s based on the “win a lot of games and conference titles and do it often” theory. The football team proved that in 2009.
The men’s basketball team is light years away from winning bunches of games or a conference title; 1987 was the last year the men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA tournament.

Let’s try to think outside the box for a moment.

Wait, there IS a ranked basketball team on campus!

The Associated Press has the women’s basketball team ranked No. 20, and the Lady Frogs are undefeated at the suddenly oh-so-cruel-to-opponents confines of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum this season.

Fill the stands and the Lady Frogs might challenge Connecticut’s 55 and counting home-winning streak. Wishful thinking at least.

According to gofrogs.com, Daniel-Meyer Coliseum holds nearly 8,500 when floor seats are added and 7,166 without. That dome can be rocked. The crowd is on top of the court, and the same acoustics that makes the feeble “Go Frogs!” chants as clear as a middle school Junior Varsity game can easily transform into the raucous environment of Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke or the “RAC” at Rutgers, both of which have official capacities of fewer than 10,000.

For those who discount Mountain West basketball, according to the St. Petersburg Times, The Pit at the University of New Mexico boasts the most deafening arena in the country with a decibel rating of 118. This campus has the ratio of women to men to justify filling those stands.

The women on the court are doing their part. Maybe Coach Jeff Mittie needs to start making his rounds to the sorority houses to get the girls into the stands. The women’s team has made the NCAA tournament in eight of the past nine years – that’s a winning pedigree.

Getting TCU basketball on par with the football and baseball team starts with filling Daniel-Meyer Coliseum when the ranked TCU basketball team is playing. There is one sport standing in TCU’s way from being an all-around great sports school, and you can argue it’s already made it if you just think outside the box.

Staff Reporter Ryne Sulier is a junior news-editorial journalism and political science major from Plano.