TCU-Kansas Preview

Kansas had to work overtime to maintain its No. 1 ranking just over a week ago. It appears that the Jayhawks won't get to enjoy it much longer.

Looking to bounce back from a loss that seems likely to cost it the top spot, the Jayhawks could take their frustrations out on visiting TCU on Saturday - especially after their coach recently questioned their focus.

A snowstorm and traffic gridlock prevented Kansas (14-2, 3-1 Big 12) from arriving at the arena until an hour before playing at West Virginia on Tuesday, but the Jayhawks had bigger problems once they made it. They committed a season-high 22 turnovers and seemed to struggle against the No. 11 Mountaineers' personnel and style of play, falling 74-63.

''The game in a nutshell is that they were so much more aggressive and quicker,'' coach Bill Self said. ''They were way more athletic than we were and played above the rim. We didn't do any of that.''

Kansas was held to its lowest point total of the season while being outscored 40-10 in bench points. It was also outscored 33-13 at the free-throw line as West Virginia repeatedly drove to the basket.

Perry Ellis had 21 points for the Jayhawks, but the rest of the team shot 12 of 34.

''We couldn't get stops,'' Ellis said. ''They were getting anything they wanted driving down the lanes and that really hurt us. It shows we definitely have a lot to work on and I feel like we can get better and learn from this.''

Self expects it - and apparently also wants to see a little self-awareness.

"Without being too negative, I think we are a little too full of ourselves," he said after Tuesday's game. "I don't think we played hungry tonight or at Texas Tech (last) Saturday (in a 69-59 win). We knew this would be a fight and I didn't think we showed as much competitive juice as West Virginia did."

The loss probably isn't good news for TCU, which certainly won't be facing a team lacking motivation. Along with wanting to get back on track - as well as on Self's good side - the Jayhawks are looking to extend their 34-game home winning streak and 25-game run at Allen Fieldhouse in Big 12 play.

The most recent of those was a 109-106 triple-overtime victory over No. 2 Oklahoma on Jan. 4 in what was effectively a showdown for the No. 1 spot in the poll the following week.

Even a lopsided win over TCU, though, likely won't be enough to keep Kansas atop the rankings next week. The Horned Frogs (9-7, 1-3) have dropped seven in a row to Top 25 opponents and a staggering 32 straight such games on the road since Nov. 28, 1998.

They weren't able to build on last Saturday's one-point win over Texas, losing 82-54 at No. 22 Baylor on Wednesday.

''We took some ill-advised shots,'' coach Trent Johnson said. "Bad offense leads to good offense for a team that talented, and that physical. ... We're not good enough to deviate from the plan. Obviously, we all know that.''

TCU shot 40.4 percent from the field while allowing the Bears to hit 63.3. Baylor went 15 of 19 on foul shots to 5 of 8 for the Frogs.

Karviar Shepherd scored a team-high 13 points for TCU, which had only one other player reach double figures.

''We're not very good,'' Johnson said. ''We're certainly not in that class.''

The same could be said about TCU in comparison to Kansas, though the last three meetings have been surprisingly close. The Jayhawks won them by a total of 17 points as part of a six-game winning streak in the series.

The most recent was in the conference tournament quarterfinals March 12, when the Frogs gave Kansas a scare before falling 64-59.

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