Kansas opens its Big 12 tournament defense sans Josh Jackson against TCU, who defeated Oklahoma in their Big 12 tourney opener 82-63. I am a horrible bracketologist, but I get the sense TCU would need to beat Kansas as well as whomever their semifinal opponent would be to make the NCAA tournament.
TCU has the 6th ranked offense in the league (and 9th ranked defense, nice) scoring 1.03 points per trip. While I care obviously very little about the Big 12 tourney, I do care that TCU is last in the league at getting to the free throw line, which coupled with KU’s refusal to put teams on the line (mostly), means we should have a pretty quick game. Hooray. Offensively TCU actually ranked 2nd in twos, making 50.6 percent of them, but everything else was pretty bad. They are 8th in turnovers and 5th in offensive rebounding despite having two near 7 footers, and they don’t take enough threes to bring the three point lottery into play.
Defensively TCU has been horrible, although they may have gotten a bit unlucky this year. They do a good job of limiting 3-point attempts, and they are 3rd in the league at defensive rebounding and sending teams to the free throw line. They have a pretty good rim protector as well, but opponents are making roughly half their twos against them, which isn’t what you want when you force turnovers as rarely as they do.
Players to Watch
Vlad Brodziansky, junior forward
Vlad finished the year with the 4th best offensive rating in the league on the 7th highest usage rate. He also was 2nd in block percentage and barely turned it over. Given his ability as a stretch 5, he has to be drawing some attention from NBA scouts.
Jaylen Fisher, freshman guard
Fisher finished 6th in the league in assist rate, which is good, but his turnover rate was even higher, which is not good. He did shoot 42 percent from deep, however, and looks like he will be a very good four year guard for the Frogs.
Alex Robinson, junior guard
Robinson finished 3rd in the league in assist rate at a whopping 30.4 percent, and is probably the better defensive guard of him and Fisher. He was OK in terms of making twos (44 percent) but struggled from deep in league play at just 29.5 percent (although he is at 35 percent for the season).
Things to Watch For
- Lagerald Vick/Svi Mykhailiuk - Vick will get to start in Jackson’s absence, and either he or Svi needs to emerge as that 5th guy. Both have struggled defensively this season, and the 3-point shot has deserted both as of late (although they both have good season long numbers).
- Turnovers - Kansas has done a good job taking care of the ball as of late, but still is prone to a handful of possessions where they have some hiccups. Meanwhile, they have done a better job of turning teams over and not letting them even attempt a shot. That is a big key to watch for in March.
- Rest - Yes I will keep harping on that.