Men’s basketball: Must-see games

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    The men’s basketball season is just around the corner. Here are five teams to watch when they visit the Frogs.

    1. SMU (Nov. 8)

    As part of the Tip-Off Showcase, TCU will take on cross-town rival SMU on the neutral court of the American Airlines Center in Dallas for their season opener. The Mustangs return all five of their starters from last season and have also added a talented recruiting class, led by shooting guard Keith Frazier. Former NBA coach Larry Brown is entering his second season as head men’s basketball coach at SMU.

    2. Texas Pan-American (Dec. 15)

    UTPA is in its first season as a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). This is a game to watch for two reasons. One, it will feature former TCU guard Chris Zurcher, who transferred to UTPA after seeing little playing time as member of the Frog team for the last two years. More importantly, it will be TCU’s first home game since Nov. 19. After five straight games away from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum (DMC), the Frogs will take on the Broncs at home before the holiday season.

    3. Texas Tech (Jan. 18)

    While TCU went 2-16 in Big 12 conference play last year, Texas Tech’s record was only one game better at 3-15. The Raiders are now under the direction of head men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith, who previously coached at Minnesota. After a tough opening stretch in conference play, including away games at Baylor and Oklahoma State, the Frogs’ fifth home conference game could be an important one. Given that the Raiders are largely focused on rebuilding, this is a game TCU can, and should, win.

    4. Kansas (Jan. 25)

    Last year against Kansas, a new DMC attendance record was set when the Frogs pulled off the biggest upset college basketball based on the Ratings Percentage Index. Kansas has won the Big 12 title each of the last nine years, and the hype has only increased this season with the addition of Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 prospect in the country. The Jayhawks will surely be looking for revenge after last year’s embarrassing defeat in Fort Worth, but hopefully the Frogs can pull off another surprise.

    5. Oklahoma State (Feb. 24)

    However, the Jayhawks are not the lone frontrunner for the Big 12 crown. Oklahoma State is tied with Kansas for the top spot in the Big 12 preseason polls. Last season’s leading scorers Marcus Smart and Markel Brown return for the Cowboys. Smart was projected to be a top five pick in the NBA draft before he decided to return for his sophomore season. Like Kansas’ Wiggins, Smart’s draft stock is rising. The game against the Cowboys will, if nothing else, be a chance to see future basketball stars in action.