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Slow pace, bad offense means TCU unlikely to hit 50 against KU

TCU head coach Trent Johnson reacts to his team's play during the second half of a game against West Virginia on  Jan. 23, 2013, in Morgantown, W.Va.

TCU head coach Trent Johnson reacts to his team's play during the second half of a game against West Virginia on Jan. 23, 2013, in Morgantown, W.Va.

Team: TCU
Record: 9-12
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 278
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted

3 Strengths

Forcing turnovers: TCU is a rare team that creates a lot of giveaways without getting many steals. Opponents turn it over on 22.1 percent of their possessions against the Horned Frogs (82nd nationally) despite the fact that the Horned Frogs rank 250th nationally in steal percentage. Defensive turnover percentage is one of the few statistics that TCU has performed well in during Big 12 play, as the Horned Frogs rank second in the league in the statistic (22.2 percent).

Drawing and avoiding fouls: TCU ranks 88th nationally in offensive free throw rate and 103rd nationally in defensive free throw rate. The result is a team that averages 19 free throws attempted per game compared to 16.3 for its opponents, which isn't insignificant considering the Horned Frogs' slow tempo.

Playing a slow pace: With a team that lacks talent, TCU coach Trent Johnson has reduced the tempo to give his team the best chance to compete against more talented opponents. The Horned Frogs rank 335th in KenPom's adjusted tempo rank and should attempt to limit the possessions again Wednesday against KU.

3 Weaknesses

Shooting: TCU ranks among the worst shooting teams in the nation this year. The Horned Frogs rank 293rd in three-point shooting (30.3 percent) and that's the highest they're ranked in any shooting category nationally. TCU is 320th in two-point shooting (42.5 percent) and 340th out of 347 teams in free throw shooting (340th nationally). It shouldn't be surprising that TCU's shot selection is out of whack, as 48 percent of its field-goal attempts are two-point jumpshots — the 10th-highest split nationally according to Hoop-Math.com. TCU has made just 32 percent of those jumpers.

Poor ballhandling: Many times, TCU doesn't get to showcase its poor shooting because it turns the ball over first. The Horned Frogs have given it away on 22.5 percent of their possessions this season (281st nationally) and 22.8 percent of their possessions in Big 12 play (ninth in league).

Defensive rebounding: TCU is much better defensively than it is offensively, but its biggest weakness on that end is finishing possessions. The Horned Frogs grab just 66.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds, which is 249th nationally. KU isn't a great offensive rebounding team, but it is coming off its best offensive rebounding performance in Big 12 play. Against Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks grabbed 46.1 percent of their missed shots — the second-best mark this season behind the Richmond game.

3 Players to Watch

Six-foot-7 forward Garlon Green (No. 33) takes the most shots for TCU (26.1 percent, 328th nationally) but he's still far from a good offensive player. His strength is his three-point shooting, as he's made 41 percent of his limited tries (16 of 39). He rarely gets to the free throw line, though, settling for too many two-point jumpers (63 percent of his field goal attempts are two-point jumpers). Because of that, Green is shooting just 39 percent from two-point range while not offering much defensively or on the glass.

Five-foot-11 guard Kyan Anderson (No. 5) is TCU's second-most frequent shooter (23.9 percent shot percentage), and though he's more efficient than Green, he still has limitations. The sophomore is TCU's best distributor, handing out 26.6 percent of his team's assist when he's on the floor (195th nationally). He's also the team's best on-ball defender, ranking 329th in steal percentage. He's not a great three-point shooter, though (28 of 82, 34 percent), and his turnover rate is crazy-high for a starting point guard. Like Green, Anderson isn't much of a threat to get all the way to the rim, as only 20 percent of his field goals have been close shots.

Six-foot-8 forward Adrick McKinney (No. 5) stands out as TCU's best rebounder. He's solid on both ends, ranking 120th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and 107th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage. McKinney also is one of the Horned Frogs' best offensive threats because of his ability to get to the free throw line. He ranks 25th nationally in free throw rate while drawing 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes (103rd nationally). He's not a good free throw shooter (50 of 93, 53.8 percent), but this TCU team will gladly take one point per possession considering the other options it has.

Prediction

This TCU team deserves to be in the discussion for worst Big 12 team of all time. The Horned Frogs should finish the conference season 0-18, and through eight Big 12 games, they have only lost one game by single digits (a 62-53 home loss to Texas Tech).

TCU is especially helpless offensively. The Horned Frogs rank 330th in adjusted offensive efficiency and have not scored more than 56 points in any conference game. According to the KenPom rankings, TCU also ranks as the second-worst team that KU has played this year.

If the Jayhawks struggle in this one, it will rightfully be time for fans to panic. I don't think KU will, though. After a humbling home loss to Oklahoma State, I see the Jayhawks taking advantage of TCU mistakes to score some easy points in transition in front of a pro-KU crowd in Fort Worth.

Not only that, TCU should find it difficult to score against KU's strong interior defense. I'll be surprised if the Horned Frogs crack 50.

Kansas 69, TCU 44

Hawk to Rock

This seems like a Kevin Young-type game. The Jayhawks should have opportunities for steals, transition points and offensive rebounds, and Young excels in all three areas. Give me double-digit points and at least three steals and three offensive rebounds for the KU senior.

Predictions tally
19-2 record, 235 points off (11.2 points off/game)

Hawk to Rock
SE Missouri: Perry Ellis (2nd in KUsports.com ratings)
Michigan State: Jeff Withey (4th)
Chattanooga: Andrew White III (10th)
Washington State: Ben McLemore (4th)
Saint Louis: Perry Ellis (7th)
San Jose State: Travis Releford (2nd)
Oregon State: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Colorado: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Belmont: Kevin Young (6th)
Richmond: Jeff Withey (1st)
Ohio State: Ben McLemore (1st)
American: Jeff Withey (5th)
Temple: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (4th)
Texas Tech: Ben McLemore (4th)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (4th)
Texas: Elijah Johnson (8th)
Kansas State: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (3rd)
West Virginia: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (1st)
Average: 3.9th in KUsports.com ratings

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Comments

jhawkr 1 year, 2 months ago

I am awaiting the follow-up article as to KU being the 2nd worst team TCU has faced !

Totally pathetic basketball that started weeks ago and just when I don't think we can play any for the worse, a total meltdown on ESPN. I had been giving a couple of OState fans crap about their scoring 3 pts. in the first nine minutes and their crappy first half. Never dreamed the Hawks could play worse then them.

Bill has to be a total sleepless fool with nightmare after nightmare. I hate to say it, but a turn-around this season doesn't look likely. So much for the 3 hour team air it out session followed up with what looked like an easy rebound game. Nothing and I mean nothing will be easy the rest of the season .................

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Timothy Rake 1 year, 2 months ago

One word - no 2: UGLIEST, EVER

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Michael Luby 1 year, 2 months ago

SMH, I didnt watch the game. I recorded it. Glad I didnt see it. Its time for Self to push the panic button. Get EJ the eff out of the starting line up.

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Scott Smetana 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm betting this game comes as a nice break from practice this week.

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Kent Wells 1 year, 2 months ago

Well this should be fun to watch. If they manage to not turn it over, they can't shoot with a flip. I'd say if you factor in extended bench time, TCU gets 48-52. Wouldn't a low 10s be a fun goal for a half with maybe 36 total points....

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 2 months ago

I know that this goes against the law of homecourt advantage, but I'm going to go out on a limb today.

I'm predicting a win for the visiting team tonight.

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jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

After seeing KU respond weakly to XTReme Ball against OSU, it will be interesting to see how much TCU roughs KU up. In their home crib, Johnson might be tempted to order some XTReme forearm smashing. On the other hand, making an enemy of Self with unnecessary roughness is probably not wise, as little Travis Ford will discover when Self shows up in Stillwater with 15 angry men.

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jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

And old rule among basketball gamblers: when a highly ranked team loses, it beats the spread the next game.

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

The biggest suspense is: Does this game go for KU as it is supposed to? Namely, a 30+ point win.... (Sorry if that sounds arrogant to any TCU fans, but this KU alum simply wants to see SelfBall executed to the smoothness we think the team is capable of--nothing against TCU. TCU's current statistical production is what allows me to suggest such a margin. TCU can only get better, and their new coach is a good one.)

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

What a win it could be if TCU Horned Frogs could knock off a top5 team like KU...umm, just dont see that happening. Now imagine the Vegas odds of that happening...

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Ron Prichard 1 year, 2 months ago

"Many times, TCU doesn't get to showcase its poor shooting because it turns the ball over first." I actually laughed when I read this. If this is one of the three points made about your team, you are having a bad, bad year.

Jesse, following up on milehigh and Oakville's comments, has any Big 12 team ever finished winless in the conference? I now Colorado had some bad teams, but I don't remember any that bad. Same with Nebraska. Other than that, I can't think of any team that was that terrible, but I am sure I don't remember all of the bad teams over the years. I am usually focusing on the other side of the standings. You know...where KU typically is.

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Dickless Head 1 year, 2 months ago

TCU has 2 young men on their team who openly worship Satan. They don't even attempt to hide it. Their on-the-court record does not surprise me in the least.

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danno1313 1 year, 2 months ago

Yea and I thought KU would beat Ok State.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago

My memory goes from 1966 to now but you could make a case that at some point every team in the Big Eight except for Kansas filled the role of worst team at one time or another. Colorado, Nebraska and even Iowa State had some miserable teams, although I'm not sure anyone was in TCU's class.

As for the Big 12, Texas would have had a chance this year had it not been for the presence of TCU.

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milehighhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Jesse --

Refresh my memory if you could - If TCU is the second-worst (KenPom) team we've faced, who was the worst?

Also...It could be cool to do an article at some point about "worst teams in the history of the B12" to get some perspective on just how bad TCU is.

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