No. 22 TCU men’s basketball falls to No. 7 Texas in Big 12 semifinals

TCU guard Rondel Walker dives for a loose ball vs Texas on March 10, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Sederick Oliver, Executive Editor, Image Magazine

No. 22 TCU men’s basketball came up short against No. 7 Texas in a 66-60 loss last night in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

The Longhorns, behind three double-figure scorers, ensured that last night wouldn’t be a repeat of the March 1 matchup at the Ed & Rae Schollmaier Arena where TCU walked away with a 75-73 victory.

This started with UT’s activity on the glass, narrowly edging out TCU, 28-25 in total rebounds.

The Frogs dominated the boards with a 31-17 advantage on March 1, and the Longhorns seemed to remember the disparity.

Texas was first in diving on the floor to snag loose balls, boxed out with a purpose, and the recipient of many 50-50 plays such as securing long rebounds.

Another issue and cause for concern was TCU’s two fast-break points total for the night.

Despite being able to get away with it in their victory in the quarterfinals versus No. 12 Kansas State, the Frogs’ transition game was nonexistent.

Teams have identities, and TCU has spent the entirety of the season establishing itself as a team that runs the entire game.

Over the summer, head coach Jamie Dixon realized his club lacked strength in shooting, so he tinkered with the offensive strategy, looking to take advantage of the athletes at his disposal.

He conditioned his team to the point where every single Horned Frog was in nearly impeccable shape.

That hard work paid dividends, as TCU has been the nation’s leader in fast-break points throughout the season, but teams have started to key in on and strategize against this offensive attack.

Teams, much like UT last night, have started to rotate quickly, fix their defensive positioning and stop the ball, effectively neutralizing TCU’s transition game.

As for the Frogs, since they’ve struggled shooting the ball and scoring within the half-court, offense becomes hard to come by, especially considering how much easier fast-break points help with rhythm and confidence.

Against KSU, without their esteemed transition offense, they had a magical shooting night and buried the Wildcats under a barrage of 3-pointers, while still managing to get stops on defense and limit their free throw attempts.

With 19 personal fouls, TCU sent UT to the charity stripe 20 times, and the Longhorns converted on 16 compared to just 10-of-15 for the Frogs.

Aside from the six extra points, foul calls can either create or disrupt momentum, flow and TCU’s offense never found its footing as a result.

The Frogs shot just 35.6% from the field for the game, and failed to stop the Longhorns from getting to the rim to either convert on a basket or go to the line.

In spite of shooting 31% in the second half, TCU had chances late to take its first lead of the game, trailing by four points with 5:38 to play and again a minute later with 4:47 on the clock.

TCU never got any closer, making one of its last eight shot attempts from the field.

Junior guard and third-leading scorer in the Big 12, Mike Miles Jr. uncharacteristically shot zero free throws despite playing downhill and putting pressure at the rim all game long.

“I attack the rim the same way every game. I try not to blame the refs but it’s kind of hard [not to],” said Miles Jr. “I didn’t get calls tonight – sometimes I get them, sometimes I don’t, but for some reason every time we play Texas I never get them. It was the same thing tonight, and I’m not blaming the refs but it’s frustrating for sure.”

Miles Jr. still led the Frogs with 15 points going 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and redshirt senior forward Chuck O’Bannon Jr. was the only other double-figure scorer with 12 on 4-of-7 shooting.

Senior guard Damion Baugh also led TCU in rebounds with a career-high 10 boards, and senior forward Emanuel Miller had a season-high three blocked shots to go along with eight points and eight rebounds.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Dixon. “We got better these last couple of days, we just didn’t get it done, but I like where we’re going moving forward, and I’m excited about it.”

“We got better in March [last year] and we’re going to get better these next couple of days too before we play in the NCAA tournament,” Dixon said.

In the meantime, the Frogs will find out where they are selected to play in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday with the NCAA Selection Show starting at 5 p.m. on CBS.

TCU is expected to make its first back-to-back trips to the Big Dance in 70 years.