Men’s basketball ready for the challenge of Big East

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    Men’s basketball head coach Jim Christian said the TCU’s conference change to the Big East has generated excitement within the program and a readiness to compete.

    “Our kids are excited about it, our fans are excited about it and obviously I’m excited about it,” Christian said.

    The men’s basketball team, however, was questioned by many as to whether the program was developed enough to play on the same level as the other teams in the Big East.

    Every program across the country has gone through cycles of highs and lows, Christian said.

    TCU has started to turn out of its down cycle and would continue grow, he said. Growth like the program has experienced and the ability to prove it would belong in the Big East is something only time could tell.

    “I have to go out and prove that [TCU] does belong,” Christian said.

    Forward Amric Fields said the team also faced scrutiny from people that said the program does not belong in the Mountain West Conference. The team began this season with something to show.

    “If we can prove ourselves here, we can prove ourselves in any conference,” Fields said.

    Christian said the efforts the program needs to make to be successful in the Big East should follow the road paved by the University of Connecticut’s football team. UConn football did not have a history of competing at a high level, but over time it competed for league championships.

    “It was a process for [UConn] to develop, make good decisions, have a calculated plan, and that’s what we have to do in basketball,” Christian said.

    Fields said he felt confident the coaches would adequately prepare the program in the next two years for the move.

    “I would just put it in coach Christian’s hands. He knows what he is doing, and I think he’ll get us ready,” he said.

    Christian said the team has a lot of work to do to prepare, but that work will be exciting.

    Fields, one of four freshman on the TCU roster, would have the opportunity to play half his collegiate career in the MWC and half in the Big East.

    Fields said he looked forward to the switch and felt it would have a positive effect.

    “If anything, I think it will motivate me to get better every day,” he said.

    Christian said moving to a high-profile basketball conference would improve the program’s recruiting ability, as well. There have already been calls made to recruits emphasizing the impact the move would have on the program.

    “The quality of guy we’re calling on now is more likely to listen to us because he knows about the Big East,” he said.

    Junior English and history double major Dalton Goodier said he was glad when he heard the news about the conference switch and thought the basketball program deserved it.

    “We shouldn’t have settled for anything else,” he said.

    Goodier said becoming a part of the Big East would promote attendance at home games.

    “It’s more exciting to get to see a good team rather than a mediocre one,” he said.

    Men’s Basketball vs. Northern Iowa

    Day: Saturday

    Location: Daniel-Meyer Coliseum

    Time: 1:00 p.m.