Slow pace, bad offense means TCU unlikely to hit 50 against KU
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 278
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted
• 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.
• 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.
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.
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