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TCU hosts NIT Quarterfinal matchup against Richmond

TCU head coach Jamie Dixon talks strategy with his team during a 66-59 NIT Round 1 victory over Fresno State. (Photo Courtesy of
TCU head coach Jamie Dixon talks strategy with his team during a 66-59 NIT Round 1 victory over Fresno State. (Photo Courtesy of

Coming off a 94-92 overtime road win against Iowa, the Horned Frogs have one last opportunity to send the Fort Worth faithful home happy with a NIT quarterfinal matchup with the Richmond Spiders. The winner of this game will advance to the NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“I’m looking forward to the crowd and the atmosphere,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “I wanted our four seniors to go out with the atmosphere and remember this kind of crowd, a packed house because these four guys have done so much for us.”

Senior guards Michael Williams and Brandon Parrish and senior forwards Karviar Shepherd and Chris Washburn Jr. will certainly relish their last time playing in front the TCU community.

“For me and the rest of our seniors, it’s going to be our last home game ever, so it’s going to be emotional,” TCU guard Brandon Parrish said.

Winning in the postseason has also give Parrish an extra opportunity: the ability to extend his program-record for most games played.

“It’s an amazing feeling to continue to add onto my legacy in a beautiful fashion, and it’s been an unbelievable feeling to continue to extend my college career with the team I love,” Parrish said. “This has been a great experience, and that I have more games with my team and can play one more game at home, is just a dream come true.”

The Richmond Spiders, the team standing between TCU and playing under the bright lights in New York, will give TCU another tough test.

“They’re a unique team in how they play and they’re a team that can space the floor with five guys and create an interesting match-up with [T.J.] Cline, so it’ll be a challenge for us defensively on one day of preparation, but we’ll be looking forward to it,” Dixon said.

Spiders forward T.J. Cline was named Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year, finishing sixth in the conference in scoring at 18.1 points-per-game, fifth in rebounding with 7.8 rebounds-per-game, and second in assists averaging 5.6 rebounds-per-game.

“Cline is an interesting matchup, and he’s a point-center in how he plays,” Dixon said.

Richmond freshman guard De’Monte Buckingham won the Atlantic Rookie of the Year, giving the Spiders a tough one-two punch.

Two key factors for TCU heading into Tuesday’s game will be defense and three-point shooting.

The defense was a significant reason for TCU’s second round NIT win against Iowa Sunday night, as the Horned Frogs forced 17 turnovers. If TCU is to come out victorious, winning the turnover battle will be a one of the main causes of their success.

“I don’t think we went in thinking we were going to force 17 turnovers and come up with those, but it happened that way,” Dixon said. “We got deflections and came up with loose balls, which was a good sign.”

TCU hit 10 three’s against the Hawkeyes, which allowed the Horned Frogs to open up a number of different elements of their offense. Spreading the floor with the long ball will go a long way for the Horned Frogs on Tuesday.

“The fact that we were hitting so well from three opened up Vlad down low and Alex off the dribble getting into the lane,” Parrish said.

Dixon agreed.

“Vlad [Brodziansky] finished some shots, but it’s all a result of good spacing with the three-point shooting and passing,” Dixon said.

No matter what happens on Tuesday, many players are encouraged by the effects postseason play will have on the future of their program.

“I love where this team is at and that we have so many young guys who are experiencing moments like this early in their careers,” Parrish said. “I think it’ll leave a good mark on them in terms of what they want to do in the future and having that experience of being here before, so it won’t be so brand new to them, being in the moment, next season.”

TCU guard Desmond Bane agreed.

“It’s great to get some experience in the postseason: The Big 12 tournament was a great for us to experience playing back-to-back games like that, and also playing in the NIT is great,” Bane said. “This is something we can build off of for the future of our program.”

TCU’s Tuesday quarterfinal matchup at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena is set for 6 p.m.

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