Coach’s Quotables: Jamie Dixon Talks NIT

The Horned Frogs may not have made it to the Big Dance, but that doesn’t mean the season is over.

After a much-improved season with a 19-15 record (and win against No. 1 Kansas in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals), TCU is headed to the NIT for the first time since 2005, set to host Fresno State on Wednesday at the Schollmaier Arena. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Head coach Jamie Dixon becomes the second TCU basketball coach to lead his team to a postseason tournament during his first year on the program (the first was Johnny Swaim, who landed the Frogs in the NCAA Tournament in 1968).

Dixon talked Monday about the upcoming game.

On preparing for Fresno State…

“I watched them some last night, and I watched them this morning. Again, [Fresno State is] playing really well at the end of the year – saw that. I know they’re big – bigger, maybe, than we thought, as far as a team coming from the Mountain West, but [Fresno State is] an experienced team.”

On the impact of having home court advantage for the first game…

“I think I’m going to have to hold that judgment. We haven’t been to an NIT or a postseason in, 13 years, I guess, so it will be interesting to see the NIT, and the quick turnaround obviously is a challenge for some. There’s a lot of excitement about our program and the improvement.”

On the team’s reaction to the NIT bid...

“Getting to the [NCAA] Tournament was our ultimate goal this year. We came up short, so there is that disappointment, but the NIT is the next step, so we’ll take that.”

So what’s the secret to beating Kansas?

“We shot the ball well. We seemed to get good shots against them all three games we played them, so I think we saw that as something we could do. I think it’s just making some plays down the stretch. They did too, as they’ve been doing all year. They won the close game [vs. TCU on Dec. 30], but we made seven straight free throws and got drives to the basket and [did] the things that they’ve been doing all year long.”