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Baylor’s Basketball Success Proves TCU Can Have It, Too

At 0-3 and staring at a game in Stillwater against No. 8 Oklahoma State, things do not look promising for Trent Johnson’s program, to say the least.

It’s not just that they’re winless in conference, they’ve barely been competitive, losing their last two games by an average of 22 points, Yes, they were against ranked opponents, but such is life in this conference.

But in that most recent loss, to the now No. 12 Baylor Bears, may lie the spark of hope that this dormant program can in fact be revived.

The Frogs are already looking at another year of finishing at the bottom of the highest ranked conference in the country unless something spectacular happens soon. Given that and the absolute apathy toward college basketball in DFW, one could call it a helpless cause to ever make TCU basketball relevant. But that can be countered with one simple response:

“If Baylor did it, why can’t we?”

It’s beyond amazing that Waco, Texas has suddenly become the epicenter of Big 12 athletics, likely to the chagrin of the two schools equidistant from Baylor (TCU for still stinging that Baylor got the original Big 12 bid over them, and Texas because… they’re Texas, they think they own everything). But what has happened at the Ferrell Center has to be considered leaps and bounds more miraculous than what has been happening at the soon-to-be-gone Floyd Casey Stadium.

For it was only 11 years ago that Baylor’s men’s basketball program was mired in what had to be the worst scandal in NCAA history, at least until what happened at Penn State in 2011. Yes, far, far worse than what happened at SMU in 1987.

A dead player murdered at the hands of a teammate? The coach trying to destroy the reputation of the slain player to hide the actual offenses he himself was committing? These were things not even the most shameless film director would put into a TV movie of the week.

Baylor received perhaps the worst NCAA sanctions ever outside of getting the actual death penalty, including being banned from non-conference games for a year. With that and one of the worst stigmas to stain any program, recovery for Baylor had to be considered non-existent in a conference where that have to deal with the likes of Texas, Kansas and other powerhouses.

Yet here Scott Drew’s program now stands, with an Elite Eight appearance and an NIT crown in the past two seasons.

So how can anyone following TCU in any capacity say no chance to Trent Johnson’s program doing it?

Several more steps need to be taken, but many of them are. Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, which my biased mind has called the worst of the three college buildings in the immediate Metroplex for years, is about to undergo a $45 million renovation that will include more seating and new locker rooms. Meanwhile, Johnson may want to have a lunches with Gary Patterson to learn some tips on how he launched his program into the spotlight.

TCU basketball still has a lot of work to do to get out of the cellar they’re in. But they don’t have the history of a murdered body among their player alumni. And if one program can rebuild around that, anything is possible.

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