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TCU Preview

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas is expected to unveil a new-look lineup tonight against TCU and, after three games away from home, the Jayhawks will no doubt be excited to get back inside Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas obliterated TCU in their last matchup and the Frogs followed that up with big losses to Baylor and Oklahoma. (How could a team ever lose to both of those two?) Jamie Dixon may or may not be on the bench due to Covid, but more importantly, the TV networks and school administrators are still making millions.

On the court, TCU has been pretty bad on both ends. They’re 8th in the league in offense, scoring just 94.7 points per 100 possessions and are shooting around 47 percent on twos. Despite a hot night from three last time out against the Jayhawks (42 percent), Kansas held them under a point per possession thanks to some great work inside the arc and on the glass.

I suspect TCU will try to do a little more pick-and-roll to try to isolate against Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson on the perimeter after their (lack of) defensive efforts the last few games. But, that’s not really what their offense is built, on so it may not work as well as they want.

Defensively, TCU is dead last in the Big 12, allowing a whopping 114.4 points per 100 possessions. Kansas torched the Frogs both inside and outside last time out, and with a mightily struggling offense, TCU is just what the doctor ordered. TCU does limit 3-point attempts well, but that’s about it. They don’t have the perimeter players to stay in front of KU’s guards, and David McCormack was allowed to have his way down low last matchup. If that continues, it should be a return to form for the Jayhawks.

Players to Watch

RJ Nembhard, 6-5 junior guard

Nembhard has struggled a bit more with the turnovers lately, but as the Jayhawks don’t force many, he should settle back into his role as a high assist, good shooting point guard. He’s the big key to TCU: take him out of the game, and the Jayhawks win.

Mike Miles, 6-2 freshman guard

Despite going scoreless against Kansas the first time out, I like what I have seen out of Miles overall this year. He moves well without the ball, draws a fair bit of fouls for a guy his size, and looks to be a very good shooter. I think Kansas got a little lucky against him last time out.

Kevin Samuel, 6-11 junior forward

Samuel is shooting over 60 percent on twos and also leads the Big 12 in offensive rebounding and is 2nd in shot blocking. Another McCormack good game against him would be very impressive.

The Pick

Well, Kansas absolutely needs this one to stem the tide and also to avoid maybe (although probably not) falling out of the rankings entirely. Fortunately TCU is bad and hasn’t had a coach for awhile so I like the Jayhawks to win relatively comfortably, say 74-63, and I will update as to whether that’s picking them to cover or not once I see a line.

(Editor’s note: The line opened at KU -14.5.)

2021 record ATS: 11-3.