The men’s basketball team made its first postseason appearance in nearly seven years Tuesday night when they played in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.
TCU defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers 83-73 in their first postseason game since their appearance in the 2005 National Invitation Tournament.
This year marks the fifth year of the CBI tournament, which consists of teams that did not get an invitation to the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
Although teams would prefer to play in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT, head coach Jim Christian said any opportunity to play in a postseason tournament is important to the team’s growth.
“This is why you play,” he said. “In the first half, Kyan Anderson took his first charge of the season. He finally saw the play [and] made the play. Amric Fields took a charge in the second half. Nate Butler, who hasn’t played well in about two months, hit three 3s. So when people say, ‘Why do you play in these tournaments? It’s either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT or nothing.’ That’s why you play – so these guys get the chance to get confidence, to get a chance to develop their games, to get a chance to play better basketball so we can move the program forward. And that’s what people have to understand.”
Christian said he was glad the team got a chance to redeem their 21-point loss to Colorado State in the Mountain West Conference tournament and looks forward to its continued progress in the tournament.
“I want to see guys continue to develop,” he said. “I want to see us keep doing the things we want to get better at. I want the guys to keep playing.”
Butler scored a season-high 10 points against the Panthers. He said he enjoyed playing on the first TCU postseason team in seven years, even though the CBI is not the best tournament.
“It feels good,” Butler said. “It’s awesome. I like this team.”
Fields said the team fought hard to play in a postseason tournament, and he believes they earned it.
“I think we deserve it,” Fields said. “We played so hard during the season. We just want to come out here and play hard and win this thing.”
The Frogs will play Oregon State Monday in the second round of the tournament.