The last time the TCU Horned Frog men’s basketball team started the season 8-0 was in the 1997-1998 campaign, which also happens to be the last time they made the NCAA tournament.
This year’s team is looking to change that.
TCU’s 8-0 start in the 2014 season includes wins over Power Five conference teams such as Washington State, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State, whom the Frogs beat to take the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic title.
The Horned Frogs were picked by many experts to finish last in the Big 12, but their hot start has earned the respect of national voters — they received 45 votes in the most recent AP poll, the most for the team since 1999.
Third-year head coach Trent Johnson attributes his team’s success to health and hard work.
“We’re healthy, and that put us in a situation where we could get better over the course of practice,” Johnson said Monday. “We’re competitive in practice, and that gives us a chance to be competitive in games.”
The Frogs’ improved health is a stark contrast to last year, when only four players saw action in every game.
TCU has also enjoyed outstanding play from new transfers Chris Washburn, Trey Zeigler, and Kenrich Williams.
Statistically, the Frogs are led by Kyan Anderson (12.5 points and 3.8 assists per game) and Karviar Shepherd (7.0 rebounds per game).
Those two players, in addition to Washburn, Zeigler and Brandon Parrish, round out the starting five. Williams has been a strong sixth man off the bench.
Johnson said that he isn’t surprised by his team’s strong start.
“The surprising thing…is the nature of the injuries we had the past few years,” Johnson said. “We had a pretty good feel…that we had a chance to compete at a high level.”
While Johnson is certainly pleased with the early results, he stressed that he’s making sure his team isn’t resting on its laurels.
“All that being said, we have a game tomorrow, and what we’ve done up to this point in time doesn’t matter. It’s all about getting better and moving forward,” he said.
That game is against the Furman Paladins (2-4), led by Stephen Croone, who averages 17 points per game.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Wilkerson-Greines Tuesday night.