The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a crucial, double overtime win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys and come to home to play their 2nd straight game in which “revenge” will be the theme. Acclaimed as the worst regular season loss in the Bill Self Era, TCU took down the Jayhawks in early February to get their first, and currently only, Big 12 win. With furthering their Big 12 lead and payback as the Jayahwks' only motivations, this game should provide Kansas fans with a high scoring game, unlike the first one in Fort Worth.
When: Saturday, February 23, 4:00 PM ET
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence Kansas
Watch: ESPN3, Big 12 Network
No injuries to report.
I don't say this because I am lazy, but because their almost nothing good about this team. The Horned Frogs are last in almost every team statistical category in the Big 12 except for blocks per game and 3-point %, where they rank 9th and 8th respectively. G Kyan Anderson leads the team in scoring with 11.2 PPG. Really. That is their leading scorer. To satisfy those hardcore TCU basketball fans, I guess you could say that their backcourt is their strength, G Garlon Green (10.2 PPG-3.8 RPG) and G Nate Butler Lind (5.1 PPG-2.5 RPG) but only because they start three guards.
The are not enough words to describe how bad the TCU offense is. Allow me to put it in perspective, the Jayhawks scoring drought was Indiana-like compared to the Horned Frogs offense. TCU is 345th nationally in PPG, the lowest of any “power 6” team. Their field goal percentage isn't pretty either, .403 on the year. As amazingly bad as their offense is, it is more amazing that they scored a conference season high of 62 points against Kansas, and won.
No Injuries to Report
In an unusually weak offensive year for Kansas, it is good that the Jayhawks defense is good enough to bail us out. Kansas has allowed team to shoot just 35% from the field, 32% outside the paint and 40% inside. Kansas has held Big 12 opponents to just 61 PPG in conference play. C Jeff Withey (13.4 PPG-8.6 RPG) leads the Big 12 in blocks with 4 per game and is by far the most intimidating force down low for the Jayhawks.
Weakness: Giving up free points
The scoring and FG% defense has been great for the Jayhawks, just not when it comes to giving up fouls and free throws. In the Jayahwks last 6 games, Kansas has committed close to 22 fouls per game and has given teams close to 27 free throws per game. Those teams have averaged 18.3 makes on those 27 attempts. Kansas is literally giving those points away. Kansas is also finding the ways to give the opponent more opportunies to score, notably by just giving the ball to the opponent, as Kansas is 7th in the Big 12 in turnovers.
Trending Up: G Travis Releford
All of the focus this year has been on the freshmen sensation Ben McLemore or the best defensive big man Jeff Withey or the struggles of PG Elijah Johnson, leaving little attention given to G Travis Releford (12.2 PPG-3.9 RPG). Releford was the unsung hero of the game against the Cowboys, leading the Jayhawks with 18 points. What makes that feat even more impressive is that McLemore only had 7, so their was pressure to find a different scorer and Releford stood up. Since the Jayhawks' three game skid Releford has averaged 14.3 PPG and 5 RPG. Could we see Releford give an unexpectedly good performance in March like Elijah did last year? Maybe so.
Trending Down: Forwards
Boy has the absence of Thomas Robinson really taken its toll on the Kansas frontcourt. F Kevin Young (7.6 PPG-7 RPG) is the Jayhawks highest scoring Forward. Young plays only 22 minutes, F Perry Ellis (4.3 PPG-3.4 RPG) plays only 13.1 minutes and F Jamri Traylor (2.1 PPG-2.7 RPG) plays only 10.7 minutes. Young will have his moments, but will have enough bad moments to counteract those good ones, like last game when he scored 8 points quick then when dry and got 4 fouls. This has become such a problem Kansas, once again went small and had four guards on the floor at once.
The only bad thing about this game is that no matter how much Kansas will beat TCU by, the Horned Frogs will still have a 1 next to their W-L column. A 50 point blowout would not be enough to erase the horrible memory placed by TCU when they pulled of the miraculous upset. Knowing how inconsistent Kansas has been al year, maybe a blowout wouldn't be advised, as Kansas goes to Iowa State next week and they should conserve their energy for that game. There is absolutely no way TCU pulls off the sweep of Kansas, and if by some cruel twist of fate they do, Kansas basketball will be in a bad, bad place. Though it won't happen.Kans