Kansas takes on the only Big 12 offense better than it through the first 10 games of the conference season as they face a TCU team that has been held under 1 point per possession just once this season, November 24 against New Mexico.
Although the Frogs lost Jaylen Fisher for the season, they haven’t missed much of a beat offensively. Most worrisome for the Jayhawks is the fact TCU is the 3rd best offensive rebounding team in the league, pulling down 35 percent of their own misses. KU’s new two-big lineup may impact that a bit, but probably not much.
The other worrying number is that TCU shoots 42 percent from three in Big 12 play, but the good news is they don’t take many of them at all. Of course, Oklahoma State doesn’t either but managed to take roughly half their shots from deep on Saturday, so who knows. Nevertheless, the big key will be the offensive rebounding. TCU grabbed roughly half of its misses in the first meeting, so maybe don’t be too hopeful for tonight.
Defensively, TCU is pretty bad, ranking 7th in the league allowing 1.11 points per game. The bad news for KU, though, is a lot of this is luck driven. The Frogs allow the fewest threes in the league, but opponents are shooting over 40 percent from deep. They don’t do much better inside the arc, but one has to think the defensive numbers will trend positively for them in the future.
In the first meeting, the Jayhawks shot over 50 percent from deep, but interstingly enough, under 50 percent from two. It is worth noting that TCU does fairly well forcing turnovers, though the Jayhawks were able to take care of the ball well in their first meeting. However, Devonte Graham has been a bit overworked, which may impact the turnover numbers a bit.
Players to Watch
Kenrich Williams, 6-7 senior forward
Williams has been one of the best rebounders in the league, and is shooting 40 percent from deep for the season. He also draws a ton of fouls in Big 12 play, so he naturally is going to be a thorn in KU’s side. He had 11 and 11 in the teams’ first meeting, though he was just 1-5 from deep, so he could be even better tonight.
Alex Robinson, 6-1 junior guard
Robinson has handled the ball a lot more in Fisher’s absence, and ranks 4th in the league in assist rate at over 34 percent. He is just a 34 percent 3-point shooter for his career, but is over 40 percent in Big 12 play this season.
Desmond Bane, 6-5 sophomore wing
Bane has just an 18 percent usage rate, but has made the most of his shots, shooting 52 percent on twos and 44 percent from three in Big 12 play. Fortunately, he doesn’t do a ton on the glass, but Kansas can’t afford to leave him open on the perimeter.
Keys to the game
- Rebounding - Although Oklahoma State played well on Saturday, Kansas lost via a lack of effort on the defensive glass. If they do that again tonight, expect the same result.
- Threes - TCU doesn’t give up a ton or take a ton, so whoever makes the most of their few opportunities will have a leg up.
- Fouls - Udoka Azubuike was unstoppable in the last meeting, but his impact was lessened by fouling out. He needs to avoid a foul out, or foul trouble, tonight.
I have no idea. Kansas is reeling. TCU has been unlucky. TCU hits the glass pretty well, which is a problem for Kansas, and limits 3-point attempts, which is a problem for Kansas. I am going to go with the Frogs, 85-81.