Team preview: TCU
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2005-06 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)COACH AND PROGRAM
No program is America digressed in one season as much as TCU did in 2005-06. After a 21-win campaign and an appearance in the NIT quarterfinals while still competing in Conference USA the year before, the Horned Frogs found life in the Mountain West last season to be not so smooth.
Two conference wins -- six total -- yielded an RPI of 288, 205 spots higher than the previous year.
TCU's 25 losses were the most in school history. The Horned Frogs were last in scoring offense (62.2 ppg), field-goal percentage (.370) and free-throw shooting (.636) among conference teams.
But there was a good reason for these struggles & actually, several reasons.
"I think particularly for me this year, as tough as things were for us, a lot of things were out of our control with injuries and illnesses, just tough luck," coach Neil Dougherty told the media after TCU's season-ending loss to Colorado State in the opening round of the MWC Tournament. "I'm just a horrible loser. But they brought me back all year long."
The Horned Frogs couldn't buy a break, losing 15 games by a combined 88 points. With no consistency in their starting lineup, they didn't know who to finish games with either.
Because of the attrition, Dougherty had to use 10 different lineups. The most he had used in any of his previous three seasons was five.
Nile Murray (16.7 ppg, 4.2 ppg, 2.6 apg, 1.7 spg), the center of every team's attention when it played TCU last year, was the only Horned Frog to start every game -- and for good reason.
Murray, who hardly played as sophomore at Temple after starting 19 games as a freshman, found a rebirth of his career in Fort Worth by garnering third-team all-conference honors as a senior.
The 6-4, 202-pounder, who led the team in scoring a school-record 19 times, had a season-high 28 points in TCU's final game against the Rams. The 82-percent free-throw shooter (second in the conference) shot only 37 percent from the field thanks to the extra defensive attention he received night after night.
Judson Stubbs (10.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) went one better than Murray, setting the school record for most times leading the team in rebounding with 20. The 6-7, 228-pounder often was undersized on the interior but still got his job done.
Chudi Chinweze (8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), a 6-7, 245-pounder, ended his career on a sour note by playing only one minute in the conference tournament because the flu. His senior season started off rocky, too, with a knee injury that forced him out of 11 games total.
He missed all but eight games as a junior with a torn ACL and never really recovered.
Chinweze's story summed up TCU's season in a nutshell.
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