Of the two newcomers to the Big 12 this season, West Virginia has by far the most high profile. TCU, quite frankly, has had virtually no success in basketball in recent seasons.
Since Billy Tubbs left after the 2001-02 season, TCU is 131-181. Last season's 18-15 mark was only the second winning season in that time. The Horned Frogs are on their third coach in six years with the well-traveled Trent Johnson (late of LSU, Stanford and Nevada) taking over and they play in the shadow of a football program that has risen rapidly.
Johnson is hoping the school puts the same emphasis on basketball as it has on football, upgrading facilities and making a concerted effort to improve. That's one of the reasons the football program was able to take the final steps from a good program to a great one.
But before that happens, Johnson knows something else has to take place.
"The bottom line is our football program and our baseball program did a lot of winning before they got good facilities,'' Johnson said. "We need to take care of business and not have a sense of entitlement. If we do that, everything else will take care of itself.''
Johnson has been successful pretty much everywhere he's been, but in the Big 12 he faces the task of coaching against a lot of other very successful coaches.
"You've got five guys who have coached in the Final Four, four guys who are pretty good and one grinder,'' Johnson said. "I think we can achieve [success] in time. Is it going to happen overnight? Probably not."
Big 12 supervisor of officials Curtis Shaw seems a firm believer that there are too many fouls called in college basketball games. He would get no argument from most fans.
That's why officials this season are being told to look at things just a little bit differently when it comes to what Shaw describes as marginal and incidental plays. A foul is still a foul, but not all fouls are created equally. Some of the lesser ones shouldn't be called.
"There's contact on every play. But does it disrupt rhythm, speed, balance or quickness?'' said Shaw, whose last game as an active official was West Virginia's national semifinal loss to Duke in 2010. "If it does, it's a foul. If not, let it go.''
Shaw admitted that sometimes that might mean officials could wait to see the result of a play before blowing a whistle or not, which is sure to raise some eyebrows. But in some cases it's necessary to reduce the number of fouls. For instance, if an offensive player is slightly knocked off stride driving to the basket, if his shot goes in then the contact didn't affect the player's rhythm, speed, balance or quickness, don't call it.
"We're not saying it's not a foul if the ball goes in,'' Shaw said. "But if it doesn't affect the play then maybe it's not a foul.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.