By Jeff Wilson
Frogs Today senior writer
No matter the sport, all players and coaches are searching for consistency.
Consistency always seems to be unattainable. It definitely isn’t long-lasting when a player or team gets a taste of it.
But consistency doesn’t just relate to a basketball player’s shooting or a baseball player’s hitting, etc. Being mentally consistent is a thing, too, and 18- to 22-year-olds can struggle with that.
The keys are to not get too high and not get too low, and to grind ahead when things are at their toughest.
Take the TCU men’s basketball team, which came off one of the program’s all-time highs after toppling consecutive top-10 opponents only to lose the final two games of the regular-season.
The losses were at Kansas and at West Virginia, both venues where the Horned Frogs have never won, and the games were competitive. They were the final two games in a stretch that saw TCU play seven times in 14 days, which the NCAA doesn’t allow but the Big 12’s COVID protocols forced to happen.
The games took their toll physically and mentally. A team that had cut down considerably on turnovers in wins over Texas Tech and Kansas got sloppy. Fatigue looked to be a factor Saturday in the loss to last-place West Virginia, which had lost seven straight and 14 of 15.
Coach Jamie Dixon said afterward that there are no excuses. Players have to find a way in the face of adversity.
He’s said that all season.
Maybe the Frogs get a little too confident in themselves. The players have questioned how hard they competed in losses following a big win, as was the case after winning at then-No. 15 Iowa State only to get blown out at home by Texas.
Texas is up next at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City. The Frogs are the No. 5 seed, and the fourth-seeded Longhorns will be attempting to do one of the most difficult things in college basketball — beating a good team for a third time in the same season.
TCU gets a chance to regroup. The Frogs need some rest. No one is at full strength. Their goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament is right in front of them.
They might have already clinched it, but Dixon is weary of the odd things that always seem to happen on Selection Sunday. The 2017 Frogs are an example.
A win Thursday would erase any doubt.
It will take consistency, especially on the mental side.
A silver lining emerged last week in what has been a lousy season for the TCU women’s team, which is 6-21 overall and riding a 13-game losing streak.
Senior Lauren Heard scored 21 points in a narrow road loss to Texas Tech, and in the process became the all-time leading scorer in TCU history. She knocked Zahna Medley off the top perch and will head to the Big 12 tournament needing only eight points to reach 2,000.
Heard has started 121 games in her career and holds the conference record for games played at 152.
The Frogs will be the No. 10 seed in the Big 12 tournament after going 2-16 in conference play and finishing in last place.
What to watch this week
Another busy week for TCU athletics. I could be wrong here, but it looks like only men’s golf and equestrian are off. Advice: Follow the beach volleyball team to Hawaii. Who’s with me?
Baseball: at Louisville, 11 a.m. Tuesday (ACCNX); vs. Army, 6 p.m. Friday (ESPN+); vs. Army, 2 p.m. Saturday (ESPN+); vs. Army, 1 p.m. Sunday (ESPN+)
Men’s basketball: vs. Texas, 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Kansas City, Mo. (Big 12 tournament. Would play in semifinals Friday with Thursday win; would play in finals Saturday with Friday win)
Women’s basketball: vs. West Virginia, 8 p.m. Thursday, Kansas City, Mo. (Big 12 tournament. Would play Friday in quarterfinals with win)
Beach volleyball: Outrigger Queens Classic, Manoa Hawaii. vs. Nebraska, 2 p.m. Thursday, Manoa, Hawaii; vs. Cal, 8 p.m. Thursday, Manoa, Hawaii; vs. UC Davis, 2 p.m. Friday, Manoa, Hawaii; vs. Hawaii, 8 p.m. Friday, Manoa, Hawaii; bracket play, Saturday.
Women’s golf: Friday-Sunday, Clover Cup, Scottdale, Ariz.
Rifle: Friday-Saturday, NCAA Championships, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Swimming and diving: Monday-Wednesday, NCAA zones, Madison, Wis.; Thursday-Saturday, NCAA Invitational Championships, Elkhart, Ind.
Men’s tennis: at UCLA, 3 p.m. Thursday
Women’s tennis: at Baylor, noon Thursday; at Texas, noon Sunday
Track and field: Friday-Saturday National Indoor Championships, Birmingham, Ala.
Recapping our week
Thanks to all of you who made the transition along with Jamie Plunkett and Melissa Triebwasser as they transitioned to Frogs Today, tripling our staff size and giving us a much larger presences on social media to the tune of 700 new Twitter followers.
(FYI, expect some Roxo Media House/Frogs Today Rangers news in the coming days and weeks.)
More progress was made on the studio for the Frogs Today streaming YouTube show with Brian Estridge, which is scheduled to debut next week.
We will be going to paid content soon, which includes a community element that will blow your mind.
Stay tuned. This is getting really good.
Playing Lady of Spain again: One of the best sports movies ever is Slap Shot, which hit theaters just over 45 years ago. The Seattle Kraken have hired the organist in the movie.
His name is Rod Masters, now 68. In the movie, he gets nailed in the head by a wild slap shot by one of the Hanson brothers in their debut game with the Charlestown Chiefs. Later in the movie, he’s wearing a helmet when Reggie Dunlap, played by Paul Newman, hears the organ, goes up to the booth and yells, “Never play Lady of Spain again!”
It turns out that Masters has been a musician his entire adult life, but never quite like this.
Trash panda gets some love: I have a lot of questions about this one. Who keeps a raccoon as a pet? Do raccoons really have tiny hands? Are raccoons, who eat garbage, really this high maintenance? I need answers.
Bad golf shots: Reminds of the time my best friend said told me to watch him because he was going to spin is chip shot, which he then bladed across the practice green.
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com