In “caring about the streak” terms, we have entered must-win territory. Kansas heads to Fort Worth two games back with seven to play, and they encounter a TCU team fresh off a big win over Iowa State (in Ames) yet still looking for more if they want an NCAA tournament berth.
The Frogs offense has struggled as of late, but still sits in 6th in the conference. The Hawks will have to watch out for the Frogs’ shooters, as three of them are at 36 percent or higher from three, and two are 38 percent or higher. Then there is the offensive rebounding, which ranks 3rd in the conference, although the Jayhawks allowed them to grab just a quarter of their misses in Allen Fieldhouse. The biggest worry may in fact be that TCU is 2nd in the Big 12 at getting to the free throw line, which could tax an already thin KU lineup.
Defensively the Frogs have had a rough go of it. Despite letting opponents take the fewest amount of threes in the conference, TCU still gives up a whopping 1.09 points per trip, good for 8th in the Big 12. They are last in 2-point shooting allowed, 9th in forcing turnovers, and 7th in allowing offensive rebounds. The turnover number is especially important given Kansas’s issues taking care of the ball on the road this year. If KU can’t avoid turnovers in this matchup, it might never happen.
Players to Watch
Kouat Noi, 6-7 sophomore forward
Noi doesn’t do much other than score, but he’s one of the more efficient scorers in the conference, making 60 percent of his twos and almost 40 percent of his threes. He had 10 points, but a season high 3 turnovers, in the first meeting.
Alex Robinson, 6-1 senior guard
Robinson leads the Big 12 in assist rate, but his shooting numbers have taken a dive in Big 12 play. Devon Dotson dominated him on both ends of the floor in the first matchup, and if he does so again Kansas could come away with another win.
Desmond Bane, 6-5 junior wing
Similar to Noi, Bane is mostly a scorer, but does so incredibly efficiently. He ranks 6th in the league in 3-point shooting and is making 51 percent of his twos in league play.
TCU is favored by 2.5 here, but given the way Devon Dotson dominated the first matchup with Alex Robinson and the fact that TCU doesn’t force turnovers, I am quietly confident. I’m still not sure if this KU team can extend the streak, but I don’t think they will eliminate themselves tonight. Kansas 76, TCU 73.