Skip to main content

TCU vs. Kansas Basketball Preview: Why a Loss Would Be Rare for KU

The Jayhawks are looking to bounce back from a loss at home, which they have done remarkably well in recent years.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Kansas suffered its first loss of the Big 12 slate Tuesday and will look to keep from seeing its losing streak grow to two when it faces TCU inside Allen Fieldhouse Saturday. The Horned Frogs are also coming off a loss (at West Virginia) but have the disadvantage of now having to play in the most difficult road arena in the Big 12 (and beyond).

Another thing on the Jayhawks’ side: Bill Self rarely loses back-to-back games, and that’s especially true when one of the games is in Lawrence. The last time KU dropped two in a row with one of them in AFH was December 2017, when the Jayhawks lost to Washington in the then Sprint Center and then Arizona State upset them at home before going to the Final Four that march.

Before that? You have to go back to February of 2013, when Marcus Smart’s backflip and Oklahoma State upset KU at home, igniting a three-game losing streak with the next two on the road. Basically, what TCU is looking to do is rare.

Opponent Overview

Team: TCU

Record: 14-4

KenPom: 31

Line: TBD

Team Form

TCU was perfect in the non-conference season with its full allotment of players (the Horned Frogs lost to Northwestern St. early without Mike Miles and Damion Baugh) but it’s just 3-3 to start Big 12 play.

The Horned Frogs won their first two league games against Texas Tech and Baylor but have dropped three of its last four. The first two were to top-half Big 12 teams (Iowa State and Texas) by a combined six points before beating K-State handedly at home Saturday. But most recently, TCU was down 24-9 early at West Virginia but cut the lead to four late in the second half before the Mountaineers pulled away to win by nine.

Players to Watch

Mike Miles is the heart and engine of this team. The junior guard came into the season with high expectations and he’s delivered. Miles is averaging a career-high 19.1 points with 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting an incredible 64% from inside the arc. His Achilles heel, though, is three-point shooting. Miles is shooting 28.8% from deep, which is the worst mark of his three-year career.

The Horned Frogs’ most productive all-around player might be guard Damion Baugh, who is averaging 12.3 points, 4.2 boards, and a team-high 5.1 assists. But like Miles, Baugh is sub-30% from three so far this year.

In the post, 6-7 forward Emmanuel Miller is second on the team in points (14.6) and rebounds (6.1). And while he only takes a little less than two threes per game, he is hitting 48% on those shots. But the big man down low is 6-11, 300-pound sophomore Eddie Lampkin Jr. Lampkin is averaging 7.7 points and seven rebounds, including 3.5 offensive boards per game. But Kansas won’t hate seeing him on the line. The big man is only 56% from the line this year.

Matchups to Watch

TCU isn’t going to jack up 30 threes on Saturday, and there’s a reason why. As a team, the Horned Frogs are shooting 28.7% (346th nationally) and in Big 12 play, the Frogs haven’t taken more than 19 threes in a game and the most they’ve hit is seven (7-15 against Iowa State).

Instead, TCU wants to run and get to the paint. The Horned Frogs are second in the league in tempo during Big 12 play and second in two-point offense. And part of that success is TCU’s ability to grab offensive rebounds (26th best in the country) and getting to the line (46th best).

On defense, the Horned Frogs are pretty solid all the way around. TCU is top 100 in both three-point and two-point efficiency and they attack the ball, ranking 33rd in block percentage and 26th in steal percentage. The biggest weakness is giving up offensive boards, which they do 31.7% of the time.


I am higher on TCU than their record may indicate. Despite currently being fifth in the conference, I would not be surprised at all if the Horned Frogs finish in the top three in the Big 12 when it’s all said and done.

But I am not picking against Kansas in this spot. KU lost three players to fouls, had its point guard hit his head and miss some action, and shot terribly from three, and still almost beat a top-15 team on the road in overtime. And since history says that TCU likely won’t burn KU from three—though there are enough examples to say someone from the Horned Frogs will probably get hot—it’s going to have to dominate the paint and turnover battle to win.

Kansas is going to have a chip on its shoulder and the crowd should be ready to go. Jalen Wilson probably won’t score 38 again, but he should get more help. Give me Kansas to stay at one loss in the league after Saturday.

Kansas 77, TCU 70

Prediction record

10-7-1 ATS

Last game – Prediction: 79-75 KSU | Actual: 83-82 (OT) KSU