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Kansas vs. TCU: Tipoff Vitals
Kansas is looking to rebound from only their second loss of the season by going down south to play the TCU Horned frogs for the first time in Big 12 play. Some may think that it is the end of the world to lose at home, and at a facility such as Allen Fieldhouse it would be understandable, but it's not. KU will take those lessons learned from the loss and put them into action against TCU. The Horned Frogs may think that they are catching the Jayhawks at a bad time,but in reality TCU is catching KU at the worst time. The Horned Frogs offense is ranked 344th in the nation (one better than last) and will have an even harder time against the Jayhawks stout defense. You know KU will be riding into this game with a chip on their shoulder, and playing against such a weak opponent, there is no telling how bad of a blowout this could potentially be.
When: Wednesday, February 6, 9:00 PM ET
Where: Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, Forth Worth, TX
G-Jarvis Ray (Foot)
F-Armic Fields (Knee)
What good can you say about TCU? They have an O.K backcourt, I guess. The Backcourt is led by G Kyan Anderson (11.2 PPG-3.3 APG), G Garlon Green (10.2 PPG-4.2 RPG) and G Nate Butler Lind (4.6 PPG-2.2 RPG). If KU wants to avoid another headache from three-point range, then they'd better keep Green from getting hot as he is currently hitting 41%.
Weakness: Interior Defense
Where to start on TCU's weaknesses. Their most glaring weakness has been the defense in the paint. Over the course of the Horned Frogs' last five games, TCU's five opponents have spend 54% of their offensive plays in the paint where they hit 57%. You know Kansas is just gonna eat that up. TCU doesn't even have that much of a defensive presence in the mid range, where teams have hit 37% and 44% from three point range.
No Injuries to Report
Strength: Inside-Outside Combo
Really, the only thing has has kept the Jayhawk alive lately has been the inside-outside combo of G Ben McLemore (16.4 PPG-5.4 RPG) and C Jeff Withey (13 PPG-8.3 RPG-4.2 BPG). McLemore has been the only player on the Jayhawks roster to score more than 10 points in each of the Big 12 games so far. Withey has been the only defensive presence on the team during the conference season, and we even saw him fade against Oklahoma State. If one thing is for sure it's that this is a two man team and that is the way it will likely stay.
What can you say? The Pressure is off, right? In recent years the Jayhawks haven't always handled pressure well, at least not streaks. The last time Kansas had a streak this long was in the 2010-11 season, KU played poorly at home against USC, UCLA and Nebraska before finally losing to Texas and snapping their 69 game home win streak, similar to the loss to Oklahoma State. That is why I believe that KU has finally freed themselves of their own self imposed pressure. Now KU can focus on getting back on track, but they also might need to work on managing another type of pressure, that being the opponents defensive pressure.
Trending Up: G Naadir Tharpe
The only reason I find it fitting to put G Naadir Tharpe (5.2 PPG-2.6 AGP) is that he seems to have been the only PG on the Jayhawks roster who isn't completely incompetent. Even Head Coach Bill Self agrees that KU needs to see Johnson riding the pine say "the Jyahawks were a btter team with Elijah sitting down." Stastically, KU would benefit from seeing Tharpe starting over Johnson in the Jayhawks next game. Over the course of the last five games, Elijah Johnson has averaged 32.6 minutes, 7.2 points, 3.8 assists, 2.4 fouls and 3.8 turnovers. Thapre has averaged 17 minutes, 5.4 points, 2.6 assists, 1.8 fouls and only 1.2 turnovers per game, for playing such fewer minutes. Hypothetically if Tharpe were to get Johnson's time his stats would be 10.3 PPG, 5 APG, 3.5 FPG and 2.3 TPG.
Trending Down: Interior Offense
It may just seem like Kansas can't finish in the paint like they could, but it is true. In Big 12 play, Kansas is hitting about 48% in the paint, way below their season average of 54%. Kansas is now in the position to refuel their interior game by taking on the Horned Frogs' weak interior defense, which will hopefully give KU the "Colorado" and spark the offensive frenzy it so desperately needs.
KU may have gotten off to the wrong start against TCU on the turf, but on the court, it will be a completely different issue. My only concern in this game is not if we are going to win, but by how much. Statistically this game is in the Jayhawks favor, a mismatched defense with a horrible offense going up against a great defense and great inside game. I think you can tell who I am talking about. However Kansas has found ways to defy statistics recently and play down to the level of their opponents. G Naadir Tharpe should be expected to start instead Johnson; otherwise all of those criticisms would have meant nothing, and give us a clear picture on who our PG should be the rest of the season. Besides, we are playing TCU, what's the worse that could happen? Oh, right.