Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Even the arrival of four-star freshman center Karviar Shepherd hasn’t been enough to deliver TCU a Big 12 victory this season. The Horned Frogs are in danger of becoming only the fourth power-conference school since 2000 to go winless in its league.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — TCU’s most recent in a soul-sucking string of 15 consecutive losses had just ended Monday night when coach Trent Johnson reflected on his depleted roster and the ignominy of what might be looming.

“The kids need rest,” Johnson said after Oklahoma State beat the Frogs 76-54, leaving TCU with just three opportunities to avoid a winless Big 12 record. “We need to regroup, find a way to play better and find a way to try to get a win.”

They haven’t found one yet this season, not in the Big 12 anyway.

For certain, there are worse teams in Division I than TCU, which won nine nonconference games, two of them over Conference-USA co-leader Tulsa. Still, the specter of going 0-fer in the league carries a historically rare and undeniable shame.

Since 2000, only three power-conference programs have failed to win a league game. One of those was a former Big 12 squad, Texas A&M, which suffered through an 0-16 campaign in 2004. Since then, only the Pac-10’s Oregon State (0-18) in 2008 and The Big East’s DePaul (0-18) in 2009 have been so perfectly imperfect.

TCU (9-18, 0-15 Big 12) hopes to avoid that miserable club by winning today at West Virginia, or next week against Texas or Oklahoma. Yet with injuries limiting Johnson to seven healthy regulars, securing even a single victory would be surprising in the loaded Big 12.

“Think about it: A week ago the team that was in ninth place in our league was Oklahoma State. Are you kidding me? And two weeks ago it was Baylor. Are you kidding me?,” Johnson said. “That speaks volumes about the strength of this league.

“I know one thing: I’d like to have this team—regardless of our injuries—and play in other leagues. This league from top to bottom, with the exception of one team, is extremely strong right now.”

Tipoff: Saturday 1:30 p.m. in Morgantown (Root TV)
Records: The lowly Horned Frogs (9-18, 0-15) sport an average losing margin of 17 points in league play, but their 74-69 loss to WVU in Fort Worth represented the closest call so far. West Virginia (15-13, 7-8) hopes to snap a three-game skid.
RPIs: TCU is No. 199 and WVU is No. 81.
Coach: Trent Johnson (246-225 in 15 seasons overall) is 20-39 at TCU, where Year 2 of his rebuilding project has been painful. The guy has been coach of the year in the WAC (Nevada), the Pac-10 (Stanford) and  the SEC (LSU), but it may take something miraculous—like a .500 league record—for him to ever win that award in the Big 12.
TCU top players: Point guard Kyan Anderson, who contributes a team-high 34 minutes per game, averages 16.8 points and 4.5 assists. He had consecutive games of 27, 29, 25 and 23 points this month against Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and K-State. But in the first meeting vs. the Mountaineers, he managed 12 points on only seven shots (matching his fewest attempts against a Division I opponent this season). … 6-9 forward Amric Fields (13.1 points) is the only other Frog in double figures but he is questionable with knee injury . If Fields doesn’t play Saturday, TCU will have one eligible player who stands taller than 6-7. And that would be the 6-10 freshman Karviar Shepherd (8.7 points and 7.0 rebounds). … Brandon Parrish (8.7 points) and Jarvis Ray (8.5 points) are the other options for TCU, which has averaged a paltry 58.8 points in league play.
WVU roster notes: Juwan Staten’s player of the year odds have dwindled with each WVU loss, even though he’s still a statistical wonder: second in Big 12 scoring (18.1 points), first in assists (5.96), second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.98), fourth in field-goal shooting (49. 7 percent) and tops in free-throw attempts (206). On 12 occasions this season he has played 40 minutes or more. … Eron Harris (18.0 points, 41 percent 3-point shooter) went 0-5 from long range at Iowa State. … The Mountaineers—who have allowed foes to shoot 54 percent and average 86 points during the past three games—are last in the Big 12 in field-goal defense (44.8 percent) and scoring defense (73.6). … WVU’s rebounding margin of minus-1.2 ranks next to last in the league, ahead of only TCU’s minus-8.4. … Terry Henderson (undisclosed illness) isn’t expected to play, leaving WVU with eight scholarship players for a third straight game.
Line: WVU favored by 14
Prediction: West Virginia 75-62
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  • Aaron

    In listening to Root sports commentators discuss Juwan Staten, based on the numbers, they stated he is the best PG in the league and should be First Team All Conference.

    Also, according to Root Sports Robby Incmikoski, Staten's game has improved to the point that he is going to declare for the NBA draft and test the waters.

    I'm curious Allen, have you heard this as well?

    • The bookman

      He's not ready.

      • Aaron

        I agree but he's going to take a look. I said as much 2 months ago when MH reported that he was unequivocally coming back.

        I think they will tell him that at best, he's a project that will go in the 2nd round (no guaranteed money) and that he needs to return to WVU and work on his 3 point shot.

        Saying that, after hearing The Logo's comments regarding the years draft class, which he rates poor, I can see someone in the late first round willing to take a chance on him.

        If that happens and he's guaranteed a million dollars or more, how can he pass that up.

      • KeatonsCorner

        Absolutely is....

  • Aaron

    While I don't disagree with the assessment of Staten's possibility for player of the year, I never believed he had a chance at the award despite being, in my humble opinion, the best point guard in the league.

    He's certainly the most valuable player of any team in the league in regards to his team. He should enter next season on the all conference team and if he can improve his 3 point shot as much as he's improved the rest of his game, he'll have a shot at it next year.

    • Aaron

      I just saw a stat during the UConn-UC game. JuWan Staten is one of 3 guards to average 18+points, 5+assists and 5+rebounds per game. The others are Shabazz Napier of UConn and Deandre Kane of ISU, both Seniors.

  • polarbear

    One positive headline this season is all we ask. It cant be that hard. I would have guessed that a beat writer for a major university would be one of the best jobs ever. I guess no one has any passion left.

    • Allan Taylor

      Not that it's a beat writer's job to cheer you up, Polar Bear, but maybe you missed these:
      — "Mountaineers refuse to lighten up in shelling Cyclones"
      — "Noreen: WVU hoops resurgence ‘fun to be a part of’"
      — " Browne calls upset of Cyclones ‘a great win for the state’"
      — "Staten transforms himself into dominant playmaker"
      — "Dibo delivers clutch 3 to spurn K-State’s comeback"

      Those are just from February, by the way.

      • Barry

        Allan, you are doing a great job. Keep it up.

        • The bookman

          Just tell it like it is, Allan. I like the balanced approach you have brought to WVU sports reporting. We don't need writers to lift us up, we need successful teams to lift us up. We're climbing the rope. Keep telling us about where you see us on that journey.

          • earl

            it irritates me more when a writer tries to be overly positive about a negative thing. when we are doing bad and not winning it hurts me to get one here and read an article about it, but i appreciate it more then hearing about all the morale victories.