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Early win totals released, KU has over/under of 3.5 wins for 2020 season

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. tries to find an opening against Coastal Carolina Saturday night at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Sept. 7, 2019.

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. tries to find an opening against Coastal Carolina Saturday night at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Sept. 7, 2019. by Mike Gunnoe

There is always something special about the first set of win totals released by the betting market. It gives fans an idea of what unbiased people think about their favorite team.

With the entire sports world on pause for the time being, the early win totals for the 2020 college football season are even more meaningful. It provides a sense of normalcy, and perhaps there is reason to believe there will be football this fall after all.

Caesar’s Entertainment released win totals for every FBS team for the 2020 season on Monday. The Kansas football program has an over/under of 3.5 wins, according to the information relayed by Chris Fallicia of ESPN on his personal Twitter account.

A bettor would receive even odds by betting the over for 3.5 wins by KU, while the under comes with -120 odds. For comparison, the Jayhawks opened with an over/under win total of 3.5 last year on FanDuel’s Sportsbook before settling in at exactly three wins one day later.

Kansas went 3-9 last fall, which was Year 1 of the Les Miles era. The Jayhawks earned a 24-17 win over Indiana State in the season opener behind a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. KU rolled to a 48-24 win over Boston College in Week 3, and secured a 37-34 victory over Texas Tech.

Following the win over Texas Tech, KU ended the year on a four-game skid and was outscored by a total of 111 points over the final month of the season.

While there was progress made last fall, the Jayhawks have plenty of questions entering the second year under Miles. Most notably, KU will have a new quarterback after Carter Stanley started every game under center in 2019.

Kansas is also unable to practice this spring, which is especially difficult for a team dealing with so much roster turnover. When factoring in that KU hasn’t won more than three games in a year since 2009, it seems hard to bet the over on this early win total this far out from the season opener.

Like last season, KU has the lowest win total in the Big 12 conference. West Virginia has the second-lowest line with an over/under of 5.5 wins for the 2020 season. Oklahoma, of course, is the early favorite to win the league with an over/under of 10 wins.

The Jayhawks will face a pair of FBS opponents with lower win totals during nonconference play.

Boston College, which will travel to Lawrence on Sept. 19, has an over/under of five wins for this upcoming season. Kansas will travel to Coastal Carolina a week later. The Chanticleers, who netted a 12-7 win over the Jayhawks in 2019, have an over/under win total of 4.5 wins for the 2020 campaign.

Big 12 conference win totals

Oklahoma: 10 (Over +175, Under -200)

Texas: 9 (Over +130, Under -150)

Oklahoma State: 8.5 (Over +115, Under -135)

Baylor: 8 (Over Even, Under -120)

Iowa State: 8 (Over -125, Under +105)

TCU: 6.5 (Over +120, Under -140)

Kansas State: 6 (Over -140, Under +120)

Texas Tech: 6 (Over -110, Under -110)

West Virginia: 5.5 (Over +125, Under -145)

Kansas: 3.5 (Over Even, Under -120)

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Getting to know: TCU basketball

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) gets inside TCU guard Edric Dennis (2) to score a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) gets inside TCU guard Edric Dennis (2) to score a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) by Associated Press

In the final home game of the season, No. 1 Kansas has a chance to once again celebrate a Big 12 crown.

The Jayhawks can clinch a share of the league title with a win over TCU on senior night on Wednesday. Baylor actually dropped a 75-72 decision to TCU last weekend, while Kansas held on against Kansas State in Bramlage Coliseum.

It opened the door for KU (26-3, 15-1 Big 12) to have the opportunity to take care of business at home after not winning the conference title last year. But obviously the Jayhawks hope to win both games this week to come away with the outright crown.

TCU (16-13, 7-9 Big 12) has defeated both West Virginia and Baylor over the last three games. After losing six games in a row at one point, the Horned Frogs have won three of their last five contests to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

According to KenPom, Kansas has a 94% chance of victory, with a projected score of 72-55 in KU’s favor. Kansas is 19-2 all-time against TCU in this series. Dating back to February of 2013, the Jayhawks have won five straight and 15 of the last 16 meetings against the Horned Frogs.

Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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BREAKING DOWN TCU

TOP PLAYER

No. 1 — G Desmond Bane | 6-6, 215, sr.

TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) drives inside past Kansas guard Isaiah Moss (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) drives inside past Kansas guard Isaiah Moss (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) by Associated Press

TCU’s leading scorer has been even more dynamic as of late.

Bane is coming off a 23-point performance in a 75-72 win over Baylor this past weekend. It earned him some recognition, too, as Bane was named co-player of the week in the Big 12 along with Andrew Jones of Texas. Banes scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half against Baylor and finished with 22 points against ISU.

This season, Bane is averaging 16.1 points per game on 44.6% shooting from the floor. He has reached double figures in all but three games during Big 12 play.

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 4 — G PJ Fuller | 6-4, 175, fr.

As expected, Fuller has had his growing pains during his true freshman campaign. But he’s coming off a good week.

Fuller finished with a career-high 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting in TCU’s upset victory over No. 2 Baylor. Because of the performance, Fuller earned Big 12 newcomer of the week honors earlier this week.

Fuller scored a total of 20 points through his first 10 league games. Since then, Fuller has three double-digit outings over his last seven contests.

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No. 21 — C Kevin Samuel | 6-11, 250, so.

TCU center Kevin Samuel (21) blocks the shot of KU guard Devon Dotson (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

TCU center Kevin Samuel (21) blocks the shot of KU guard Devon Dotson (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) by Associated Press

Samuel was completely eliminated in the first meeting with KU, though that is usually not the case.

In a 60-46 loss to Kansas on Feb. 8, the TCU big man did not score in 30 minutes of action. It was his worst offensive rating (44.7) of the month. Since then, Samuel has scored at least 6 points in four of the last six games. He even poured in 19 in a win over West Virginia.

For the season, Samuel is scoring 10.2 points per game to go along with 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest.

MEET THE COACH

TCU is coached by Jamie Dixon, who is 84-54 in his fourth season at TCU and 412-177 in his 17th season overall. TCU is 1-8 in true road games this season.

ONE THING TCU IS GOOD AT

TCU has been able to get extra possessions thanks to its success on the offensive glass. The Horned Frogs rank 39th in the country with an offensive rebound rate of 32.8% this season.

ONE THING TCU IS BAD AT

The Horned Frogs are not great at taking care of the ball this year. They have posted a turnover rate of 21.6%, which ranks 319th in the nation.

VEGAS SAYS

The Jayhawks are 16.5-point favorites for their final home game of the season. Considering Udoka Azubuike’s status is still uncertain, that is a steep price to pay. I think KU will win comfortably and clinch a share of the Big 12 title, but getting key players healthy for the postseason is more important now.

Prediction: Kansas 73, TCU 62

This year’s record ATS: 17-11

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Getting to know: Kansas State basketball

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) battles for a rebound with Kansas State forward Makol Mawien (14) and Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) battles for a rebound with Kansas State forward Makol Mawien (14) and Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

It is no secret that this will be an interesting atmosphere for No. 1 Kansas this weekend.

For the first time since the brawl between Kansas and Kansas State, which took place on Jan. 21, the two teams will square off at Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks won the first meeting going away, by a score of 81-60, but the incident that took place at the end of the game ended up being the biggest storyline.

Now, it is time for the rematch. Oh, and the two teams happen to enter the matchup on completely different streaks. Kansas State (9-19, 2-13 Big 12) hasn’t won a game this month, riding an eight-game losing skid ahead of the latest installment of the Sunflower Showdown.

Kansas, meanwhile, has won 13 games in a row entering this weekend. The Jayhawks, who are tied with Baylor in first place of the Big 12 standings, are now 25-3 on the year (14-1 Big 12) with three games left to play in the regular season.

According to KenPom, KU has an 88% chance of victory against Kansas State. The system gives KU a projected 71-58 win.

Kansas leads the overall series with Kansas State, 198-94, and has won 10 of the last 11 matchups. Since Feb. 12, 1994, Kansas has won 59 of the last 65 meetings with K-State.

Tipoff is slated for 12:30 p.m.

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BREAKING DOWN KANSAS STATE

TOP PLAYER

No. 20 — G Xavier Sneed | 6-5, 215, sr.

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) goes baseline against Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) goes baseline against Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Sneed has been leading the way for the Wildcats during his senior campaign.

This season, Sneed is averaging 14.0 points per game on 37.1% shooting from the floor. Sneed has scored in double figures in a team-best 21 contests, which includes four 20-point performances. Sneed has paced Kansas State in scoring in 12 different outings.

In addition to leading the team in scoring, Sneed paces KSU in field goal attempts, 3-point field goals made and successful free throws. He is also tops in defensive rebounds with 108 boards on the year.

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 2 — G Cartier Diarra | 6-4, 188, jr.

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) is fouled by Kansas State guard Cartier Diarra (2) during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) is fouled by Kansas State guard Cartier Diarra (2) during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The only other K-State starter averaging in double figures is Diarra.

Diarra is averaging 13.1 points per game on 41.2% shooting with a team-best 4.4 assists per contest. Diarra is also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest in 31.0 minutes per outing. Diarra has led K-State in scoring on 11 different occasions.

Over the last 24 games, Diarra has reached double figures in 17 different contests. According to KenPom, Diarra ranks 36th in the country with an assist rate of 34% on the season.

No. 14 — F Makol Mawien | 6-9, 228, sr.

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) goes to the bucket against Kansas State forward Makol Mawien (14) during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) goes to the bucket against Kansas State forward Makol Mawien (14) during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The battle in the post could go a long way into determining how close this contest will be.

Mawien, a 6-foot-9, 228-pound senior, will have his hands full with KU center Udoka Azubuike on Saturday. This season, Mawien is averaging 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 21.4 minutes per contest.

With his next start, Mawien will become the fifth Wildcat (Steve Henson, Barry Brown, Jr., Rolando Blackman and Rodney McGruder) to start in 100 consecutive games.

MEET THE COACH

Kansas State is coached by Bruce Weber, who is 159-108 in his eighth season at KSU.

ONE THING KSU IS GOOD AT

Kansas State isn’t good at a lot of things during what has been a bad season, but it can still force turnovers. The Wildcats have posted a 24% turnover rate, which ranks eighth in all of college basketball.

ONE THING KSU IS BAD AT

Azubuike should have another strong defensive showing in this game. Opposing teams have posted a block rate of 12.1% against K-State this year, a number that ranks 342nd in the country.

VEGAS SAYS

Kansas is favored by 11.5 points, which seem surprisingly low given what the computers say. KenPom projects KU to win by 13, while Torvik has Kansas winning by 12. The Jayhawks have also covered the spread in six consecutive games, for the record.

The spread is probably lower than both because of what should be an intense atmosphere. But Kansas State isn't playing well right now, and Kansas very much is. KU has also proven its defense is good enough to bury teams on the road, and that should be the case in this one.

Prediction: Kansas 76, Kansas State 57

This year’s record ATS: 17-10

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Getting to know: Oklahoma State basketball

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) attempts to stop Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) attempts to stop Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt) by Associated Press

Now back on top of the college basketball world, Kansas will return home with a chance for an easy win.

Two days after defeating previously top-ranked Baylor on the road, No. 1 Kansas is back in action against Oklahoma State for another Big Monday matchup. If you need proof of how the Jayhawks have become the team to beat in college basketball, just look at tonight's betting line set by Vegas.

Oklahoma State (14-13, 4-10 Big 12) has won three of its last four games, and has only dropped one game by more than 13 points this month. Yet the Jayhawks (24-3, 13-1 Big 12) are considered a 14.5-point favorite on FanDuel’s Sportsbook as of Monday morning.

KenPom gives Kansas a 94% chance of victory, projecting a score of 74-58 in KU’s favor. Torvik projects the Jayhawks to earn a 74-59 win. It is not too far off from how the first meeting went, with Kansas securing a 65-50 road victory over OSU on Jan. 27.

Last time out, Oklahoma State rolled to a 17-point victory over rival Oklahoma to capture its largest win over OU since 2010. After dropping its first eight Big 12 games, the Cowboys have now won four of their last six games and each of their last three home contests.

The Kansas-Oklahoma State series dates back to 1926 with KU holding a 117-59 all-time advantage. KU holds a 7-4 edge in the last 11 meetings. KU is 63-12 against OSU in meetings in Lawrence, including a 48-10 record in Allen Fieldhouse.

Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.

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BREAKING DOWN OKLAHOMA STATE

TOP PLAYER

No. 13 — G Isaac Likekele | 6-4, 215, so.

Oklahoma State guard Isaac Likekele (13) takes a shut under pressure from Kansas guard Tristan Enaruna (13) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Oklahoma State guard Isaac Likekele (13) takes a shut under pressure from Kansas guard Tristan Enaruna (13) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt) by Associated Press

There is nobody that makes an impact quite like Likekele when he’s playing at his best.

Likekele can find ways to contribute for the Cowboys as a scorer, rebounder and facilitator. He’s averaging 10.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. In fact, he’s the only active Big 12 player with an average of at least 4.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 5.2 rebounds per contest.

So far this season, Likekele leads OSU in plus/minus with a +100 margin on the year. He has scored in double figures in 15 of his 23 games this year, which includes a 26-point performance against Syracuse in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 21 — G Lindy Waters III | 6-6, 210, sr.

Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) throws a pass over Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) throws a pass over Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt) by Associated Press

Waters, who is wearing a protective mask to protect a broken bone in his nasal passage, is expected to make his 100th career start on Monday night. It is a milestone only 11 other Cowboys have ever reached.

In addition, Waters is just the 16th OSU player to reach 1,000-points, 200-assists and 100-steals in program history. Marcus Smart and Markel Brown in 2014 were the last to join that exclusive list.

This season, Waters is averaging 10.8 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per outing and 2.3 assists per contest. Waters, who is a captain for the Cowboys, is shooting 31.8% from long range as well.

No. 12 — F Cameron McGriff | 6-7, 220, sr.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) grabs a rebound from Oklahoma State forward Cameron McGriff (12) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Kansas defeated Oklahoma State 65-50. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) grabs a rebound from Oklahoma State forward Cameron McGriff (12) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Kansas defeated Oklahoma State 65-50. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt) by Associated Press

Coming off a 28-point performance against OU, McGriff will look to have another strong game against KU.

McGriff has a history of playing well against the Jayhawks. McGriff has four career games of 18 points or more against KU, and is averaging 15.2 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor over the last six meetings dating back to his sophomore season.

The senior forward is the only Cowboy to have started every game this season. He has started 72 consecutive games for OSU, which is tied for the 14th-longest streak in school history. McGriff averaging 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his final campaign.

MEET THE COACH

OSU is coached by Mike Boynton, who is 47-48 in his third season at OSU and third as a head coach.

ONE THING OSU IS GOOD AT

Oklahoma State isn’t great at a lot of things, but ranking top-50 in 3-point defense is worth mentioning given the large spread. Opposing teams are shooting 30.5% from long range against OSU this season.

ONE THING OSU IS BAD AT

The Cowboys struggle to hit shots on the offensive end at times. This season, Oklahoma State is shooting 46.7% on 2-pointers and 30.9% on 3-point attempts. According to KenPom, both those numbers rank 283rd and 286th, respectively.

VEGAS SAYS

This is not a game I feel very confident in picking, to be honest. KenPom’s projection suggests Kansas will cover, but it would make sense if this game is closer with it taking place just two days after KU’s big win over Baylor. The players are surely mentally and physically exhausted.

In the end, it is hard to trust Oklahoma State’s offense enough against this Kansas defense. I’m picking the Jayhawks to cover the spread for the sixth game in a row, even if it means sweating the pick out in the final minute during walk-on time.

Prediction: Kansas 75, Oklahoma State 60

This year’s record ATS: 16-10

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Getting to know: Baylor basketball

Kansas Jayhawks guard Devon Dotson (1) puts a floater over Baylor Bears guard Jared Butler (12) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas Jayhawks guard Devon Dotson (1) puts a floater over Baylor Bears guard Jared Butler (12) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

It will be a heavyweight fight that you don’t have to buy on Pay-Per-View.

Two of the best college basketball teams in the country will square off on Saturday, and there is plenty on the line. No. 1 Baylor (24-1, 13-0 Big 12) hasn’t lost since Nov. 8, and can essentially lock up the Big 12 race with a win this weekend.

No. 3 Kansas (23-3, 12-1 Big 12) can avenge its lone loss of the conference season, and put itself in good position of clinching at least a share of the league title. Oh, and the winner could have the inside track on the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

To say this is a big game would be an understatement, especially with ESPN’s College Gameday in Waco, Texas. The Bears won the first meeting with the Jayhawks, earning a 67-55 victory in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 11. But sophomore point guard Devon Dotson was banged up and senior center Udoka Azubuike was limited on offense.

KenPom indicates this will be a slugfest between two elite basketball squads. KenPom gives KU a 46% chance of victory, projecting a 64-63 win for Baylor.

This series dates back to 1951 with the Jayhawks leading 32-6. Kansas has won 13 of the last 15 in the series and holds an 18-4 advantage in the last 22 meetings. KU is also 13-3 against Baylor in Waco.

The KU-BU contest will mark KU’s first true road game against No. 1 since March 8, 1958, when KU topped then-No. 1 K-State in Manhattan, 61-44.

Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m.

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BREAKING DOWN BAYLOR

TOP PLAYER

No. 12 — G Jared Butler | 6-3, 190, so.

Baylor guard Jared Butler (12) gets around Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) as he heads to the bucket during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Baylor guard Jared Butler (12) gets around Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) as he heads to the bucket during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

While Baylor has a balanced attack, Butler has often led the way this season.

Butler has paced the Bears in scoring 14 of 25 games this season after doing so in six of 34 games last year. Butler has seven games with 20-plus points this season, while scoring an average of 15.6 points per game in his sophomore campaign.

Butler ranks top-11 in the Big 12 in scoring (5th, 15.6), 3-pointers (2nd, 2.6/game), 3-point percentage (7th, .380), field goal percentage (8th, .421), steals (9th, 1.6) and assists (11th, 3.0) thus far.

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 45 — G Davion Mitchell | 6-2, 195, sr.

Deflated Kansas players Marcus Garrett (0), Udoka Azubuike (35) and Ochai Agbaji (30) make their way to the bench during a timeout in the second half as Baylor guard Davion Mitchell (45) pumps his fist on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Deflated Kansas players Marcus Garrett (0), Udoka Azubuike (35) and Ochai Agbaji (30) make their way to the bench during a timeout in the second half as Baylor guard Davion Mitchell (45) pumps his fist on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Mitchell has started all 25 games this season after coming off the bench in all 34 games during his freshman season at Auburn (2017-18).

In fact, Mitchell needed only 14 games to pass his freshman season scoring total (126) at Auburn. Mitchell has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 16 games after doing so in four of his first 43 collegiate games.

This season, Mitchell ranks 10th in steals (1.5), 6th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65) and 8th in assists (3.6) in the Big 12.

No. 31 — G MaCio Teague | 6-3, 195, r-jr.

Teague’s status remains uncertain, but he will likely have a big impact on this game if he’s ready to go.

Prior to missing the last two games with a wrist injury, Teague played in 90 consecutive games and made 86 consecutive starts. Teague has scored 11 or more points and played 35 or more minutes in each of his last seven outings. He actually led the Bears in scoring in six of those contests.

Entering this weekend, Teague is ninth in the Big 12 in scoring (14.4), third in FT% (.832), ninth in 3FGs (2.2/game), ninth in 3FG% (.357) and eighth in minutes (32.8).

MEET THE COACH

The Bears are coached by Scott Drew, who is 340-210 in his 17th season at BU and 360-221 in his 18th season overall.

ONE THING BU IS GOOD AT

The Bears typically control the offensive glass, and it leads to extra chances of putting the ball through the net. Baylor ranks fifth in the country with an offensive rebound rate of 36.5% this season.

ONE THING BU IS BAD AT

Avoiding monster swats by Udoka Azubuike will be easier said than done for the Bears. The talented big man had seven blocks in the first meeting, and Baylor has struggled with that all year. Opposing teams have a block rate of 13.1% against BU, which ranks 351st in the nation.

VEGAS SAYS

Baylor is a two-point favorite, though this pick comes down to who you think is going to win.

I’ve thought the Jayhawks were going to get the better end of the rematch for a long time, but especially with how well they have played over the last couple games on offense. It is just hard to pick any team beating Bill Self both times. I’m guessing KU will find a way to win this game, even if it is ugly.

Prediction: Kansas 65, Baylor 61

This year’s record ATS: 15-10

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Jayhawks need to get Udoka Azubuike more involved in rematch with Bears

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) delivers a dunk after a lob from Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) delivers a dunk after a lob from Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

There are many things No. 3 Kansas can do differently in Saturday’s rematch with No. 1 Baylor, but one small adjustment might be pivotal in avenging its lone Big 12 loss. Well, small might not be the best way to describe it.

Finding ways to make sure 7-foot, 255-pound center Udoka Azubuike is more effective on the offensive end in Waco, Texas, will be essential to KU’s chances of victory. Azubuike was limited to just 6 points on as many shot attempts during a 67-55 loss in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 11.

“The post game,” Azubuike replied when asked about ways the Jayhawks (23-3, 12-1 Big 12) can be better in their second meeting with the Bears. “They did a good job of denying me the ball. They got really good guys; they controlled the tempo of the game.”

Baylor, which recently set the Big 12 record for longest win streak with 23 consecutive victories, came up with an interesting game plan to slow down Azubuike in the first battle.

The Bears (24-1, 13-0 Big 12) fronted Azubuike in the post and then kept a help-side defender nearby. The help defender discouraged KU guards from attempting to feed the post. When the ball did go inside, the defender was there to provide help defense and fluster the big man.

In 32 minutes of action, Azubuike went 3 of 6 from the floor. Azubuike has only had two other games this season where he has finished with fewer points, though he wasn’t on the floor as much in either of those contests.

“Just movement, moving him a little bit more,” sophomore point guard Devon Dotson said on ways Kansas can get Azubuike more involved. “Just seeing different little sets to free him up a little bit and get him some more touches down low.”

Now, the Bears haven’t lost since Nov. 8 for a reason. Baylor has been an elite defensive team all year, ranking third in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom. For comparison, Kansas ranks second in that category.

But the Jayhawks, and their talented senior center, are certainly capable of playing better on the offensive end. Since that loss, KU has won all of its 11 games to set the stage for a potential league-determining battle with Baylor.

Over that span, Azubuike has scored in double figures in all but three outings while averaging 13 points per game. He’s attempting an average of 8.1 shots per game since then, which includes double-digit attempts in four different contests.

In his collegiate career, Kansas is 27-1 (11-0 this season) when Azubuike scores at least 15 points.

But the Jayhawks also know they have to do things differently in their rematch with the Bears. Azubuike said Kansas is implementing sets to help make post-entry passes easier for guards.

“If you notice the last game, I couldn’t set the screen because they were downing the ball real hard,” Azubuike said. “We have to do a better job of setting the screen in the middle, and the post passes have to be from the middle.”

Dotson, Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun have also improved at getting the ball inside over the last month. Part of that comes from there being more space, with Kansas switching to a four-guard lineup since it last faced Baylor.

It remains to be seen whether or not it all makes a difference for Azubuike this weekend. But if it does allow him to have more success, there is a very good chance it could lead to a better result for the Jayhawks.

A look at Udoka Azubuike’s offensive effectiveness since Baylor loss

Azubuike points | FGM-FGA | Team points in the paint +/-

at Oklahoma: 16 points | 7-10 FGs | KU +22

at Texas: 17 points | 7-9 FGs | KU +10

Kansas State: 10 points | 4-5 FGs | +18

Tennessee: 18 points | 6-7 FGs | +2

at Oklahoma State: 6 points | 3-4 FGs | -8

Texas Tech: 5 points | 1-5 FGs | +10

Texas: 17 points | 8-10 FGs | +18

at TCU: 20 points | 10-14 FGs | +10

at West Virginia: 6 points | 3-6 FGs | +10

Oklahoma: 15 points | 6-12 FGs | +10

Iowa State: 13 points | 5-7 FGs | +18

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Getting to know: Iowa State basketball

Kansas forward David McCormack reacts after dunking over Iowa State forward Solomon Young, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Kansas forward David McCormack reacts after dunking over Iowa State forward Solomon Young, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) by Associated Press

By definition, this could be considered a trap game for the Kansas men’s basketball team.

No. 3 Kansas (22-3, 11-1 Big) is six days away from a rematch with undefeated Baylor, a matchup that will certainly have Big 12 title implications. The only thing standing in the Jayhawks’ way of preparing for that heavyweight battle is Iowa State.

The Cyclones come to town tonight for a Big Monday tilt that might not have as much buzz as previous years. Iowa State (11-14, 4-8 Big 12) has lost five of its previous seven games, and potential NBA Lottery Pick Tyrese Haliburton is out for the rest of the season.

Even with Haliburton in the lineup, Kansas shredded ISU for a 79-53 victory in Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 8. The rematch in Allen Fieldhouse figures to be much of the same in terms of final score, too.

KenPom gives Kansas a 94% chance of victory, with a projected score of 79-62 in favor of the hosts. Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State, 183-66, dating back to 1908. KU holds a 94-16 advantage in games played in Lawrence, including a 53-10 mark in Allen Fieldhouse.

Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.

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BREAKING DOWN IOWA STATE

TOP PLAYER

No. 45 — G Rasir Bolton | 6-3, 183, so.

Kansas guard Devon Dotson, center, drives to the basket between Iowa State's Rasir Bolton, left, and Tre Jackson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Kansas guard Devon Dotson, center, drives to the basket between Iowa State's Rasir Bolton, left, and Tre Jackson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) by Associated Press

With Haliburton on the shelf, Bolton is the team’s go-to option on the offensive end.

Bolton is averaging 14.7 points per game, which ranks eighth in the Big 12. His 63 assists are second on the team and he has made a team-high 93 free throws this season. Bolton has also connected on 38 attempts from beyond the arc.

The transfer from Penn State has reached double figures in 18 of 25 Cyclones appearances, including seven of his previous eight games.

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 12 — F Michael Jacobson | 6-9, 240, sr.

Last time out, Jacobson had a huge game in Iowa State’s lopsided win against Texas.

Jacobson recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds in what was an 81-52 home victory over Texas on Saturday. Jacobson started all 35 games a year ago, one of two Cyclones to do so. He also needs just 88 points to reach 1,000 in his career.

This season, Jacobson is averaging 7.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the Cyclones.

No. 33 — F Solomon Young | 6-8, 242, jr.

Earlier this month, Young returned to the starting lineup against West Virginia and has been playing well as of late.

Young is averaging 12.7 points per game over the last eight contests. During that stretch, Young is shooting 50.8% from the field and has reached double figures in six of the last eight outings. Against Texas, Young posted 17 points on a 4-for-5 effort from the floor.

For the season, Young is averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

MEET THE COACH

The Cyclones are coached by Steve Prohm, who is 94-67 in his fifth season at ISU and 198-96 in his ninth season overall.

ONE THING ISU IS GOOD AT

The Cyclones have been active in the passing lanes, posting a defensive turnover rate of 21.1% this season. According to KenPom, only 64 teams in all of college basketball have posted a better clip.

ONE THING ISU IS BAD AT

Iowa State’s not a team built to have success on the glass, particularly on the defensive end. Opposing teams have recorded an offensive rebound rate of 31.6% against ISU, which is a number that ranks 316th in the nation.

VEGAS SAYS

Kansas is a 16-point favorite as of Monday morning on FanDuel’s Sportsbook.

The trap-game narrative is a real thing, even though Kansas is certainly going to win tonight. This will be KU’s second game in three days and the team surely wants to just get through this stretch to get some much-needed rest before a big game.

It’s tempting to take the points, but Iowa State isn’t particularly good and that will be on full display tonight.

Prediction: Kansas 77, Iowa State 59

This year’s record ATS: 14-10

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Getting to know: Oklahoma basketball

Kansas' David McCormack (33) dunks during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck)

Kansas' David McCormack (33) dunks during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck) by Associated Press

After getting through a two-game road stretch unscathed, the Kansas men’s basketball team is set to return to Allen Fieldhouse for two games in three days.

The Jayhawks, who are ranked No. 3 in the nation, will square off with Oklahoma on Saturday before welcoming Iowa State to town on Monday. Even without starting point guard Devon Dotson, Kansas (21-3, 10-1 Big 12) claimed the first meeting against OU with a 66-52 victory on Jan. 14.

Since falling to the Jayhawks at home, the Sooners (16-8, 6-5 Big 12) have won five of their last eight games. Oklahoma has recorded back-to-back wins over West Virginia (69-59) and Iowa State (90-61) entering this matchup.

Kansas, meanwhile, has won nine games in a row since falling to Baylor at home. With a win on Saturday, KU can post a win streak of 10 games or longer for the 17th time in the Bill Self era. According to KenPom, Kansas has a 90% chance of victory with a projected 74-60 win.

The Jayhawks lead the overall series with the Sooners, 149-68, including a 49-7 clip in Allen Fieldhouse.

Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m.

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BREAKING DOWN OKLAHOMA

TOP PLAYER

No. 35 — F Brady Manek | 6-9, 231, jr.

Oklahoma's Brady Manek (35) and Kansas' Isaiah Moss (4) watch the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.

Oklahoma's Brady Manek (35) and Kansas' Isaiah Moss (4) watch the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. by Associated Press

During Big 12 play, Manek has been one of the top 3-point shooters.

Manek has made a conference-best 34 triples (3.1 per game) at a Big 12-leading 47.2% clip. It is the biggest reason why Manek is second in the league in scoring during Big 12 play with 16.3 points per game.

For the season, Manek is tied with TCU’s Desmond Bane for the most triples in the conference with 64 or an average of 2.7 per game. Owning 180 career 3-pointers, Manek already ranks eighth in OU history for made 3-pointers.

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 21 — F Kristian Doolittle | 6-7, 232, sr.

Oklahoma's Jalen Hill (1) and Kristian Doolittle (21) fight for the ball with Kansas' Chris Teahan (12) and David McCormack (33) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck)

Oklahoma's Jalen Hill (1) and Kristian Doolittle (21) fight for the ball with Kansas' Chris Teahan (12) and David McCormack (33) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck) by Associated Press

Doolittle has come out of a little slump to help the Sooners win back-to-back games.

Doolittle has strung together a pair of dominant performances by scoring 27 against West Virginia and 20 against Iowa State. The 47 combined points over his last two outings comes after Doolittle scored a total of 36 points over the previous five games.

In addition, Doolittle ranks seventh in the conference in scoring (15.0 points) and third in rebounding (9.0 boards). Doolittle is one of only three major-conference players averaging at least 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists.

No. 12 — G Austin Reaves | 6-5, 202, r-jr.

Kansas' Ochai Agbaji (30) is defended by Oklahoma's Austin Reaves during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.

Kansas' Ochai Agbaji (30) is defended by Oklahoma's Austin Reaves during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. by Associated Press

Reaves has been one of Oklahoma’s leading offensive weapons during his first season with the team.

Reaves sat out the 2018-19 season after transferring to Oklahoma from Wichita State University. Reaves has hit the ground running , as he averages 14.2 points per game to rank 11th in the Big 12 and third among newcomers.

Reaves has reached 20 points on five occasions this season, including a career-high 23 points against UTSA on Nov. 5 and at Creighton on Dec. 17.

MEET THE COACH

The Sooners are coached by Lon Kruger, who is 176-113 in his ninth season at OU and 655-417 in his 34th season overall.

ONE THING OU IS GOOD AT

The Sooners won’t cough up the rock much in this showdown in Allen Fieldhouse. Oklahoma’s turnover rate of 15.4% ranks 11th in the nation, according to KenPom.

ONE THING OU IS BAD AT

Kansas should have the advantage on the glass, as Oklahoma has struggled to collect missed shots. According to KenPom, the Sooners rank 321st in the nation with an offensive rebound rate of 22.5%.

VEGAS SAYS

Before looking at the line, I was convinced that I would be taking the points in this one. I assumed it would be close to 14 or 15 points, similar to KenPom’s projection, and that seemed like a lot given KU could have a letdown after a big road win at West Virginia just a few days ago.

With Kansas being favored by just 11 points on FanDuel’s Sportsbook, however, that is enough to change my pick. Kansas won by 14 on the road on Jan. 14, and the rematch in Allen Fieldhouse should be just as easy.

Prediction: Kansas 73, Oklahoma 60

This year’s record ATS: 13-10

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Getting to know: West Virginia basketball

West Virginia players celebrates their 65-64 win over No 7 Kansas in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Morgantown, W.Va.

West Virginia players celebrates their 65-64 win over No 7 Kansas in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Morgantown, W.Va. by Raymond Thompson/AP Photo

No. 3 Kansas will be put to the test with a road tilt tonight.

The Jayhawks will travel to take on the Mountaineers in a rematch from the Big 12 opener. KU recorded a 60-53 in the first meeting on Jan. 4 in Allen Fieldhouse, but the second showdown should be even more difficult.

West Virginia (18-5, 6-4 Big 12) is coming off back-to-back wins over Kansas State and Iowa State. The Mountaineers have been tough to beat at home, posting a 12-0 record in the WVU Coliseum. West Virginia is also dominating the boards, pulling down a conference-leading 41.4 rebounds per game with a plus-8.7 rebound margin

Though 10 games into the Big 12 season, Kansas (20-3) sits alone in second place at 9-1 in the league. Baylor is leading the way with a 10-0 clip, while West Virginia and Texas Tech are tied for third with a 6-4 record against league foes.

According to KenPom, Kansas has a 53% chance of victory. The projected score on his site is a 66-65 margin in KU’s favor.

Kansas has a 13-5 advantage over West Virginia in the overall series. However, KU is 2-5 against WVU in meetings in Morgantown with the Mountaineers claiming five of the last six battles at WVU Coliseum.

Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m.

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BREAKING DOWN WVU

TOP PLAYER

No. 1 — F Derek Culver | 6-10, 255, so.

The Jayhawks did a solid job of limiting Culver in the first meeting, but it might not be so easy the second time around.

Culver scored five points and finished with 12 rebounds in the Big 12 opener. For the season, Culver is averaging 10.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Culver has reached double figures in rebounds in 25 of his 49 career games.

As a freshman, Culver led the Big 12 in rebounding in conference games with an average of 10.9 boards per game. His best game was a 22-point and 21-rebound outing against TCU in 2019, marking the first WVU player to post a 20-20 game since 1977.

None by WVU Basketball

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 34 — F Oscar Tshiebwe | 6-9, 258, fr.

Tshiebwe caused problems for the Jayhawks last time out, especially in the first half.

That has really been the case for a lot of teams trying to contain the talented big man, however. Tshiebwe is averaging 11.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a freshman, and has been named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on three different occasions.

Tshiebwe’s rookie campaign shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering his pedigree as a prospect. He is just the second McDonald’s All-American to ever enroll at WVU as a freshman. Chris Brooks (1986) was the only other player to do so in program history.

None by WVU Basketball

No. 10 — G Jermaine Haley | 6-7, 215, sr.

In last year’s meeting against the Jayhawks in Morgantown, Haley had the game winner for the Mountaineers.

Haley had his career-high in points with a 28-point effort against Iowa State, though he has been more of a scoring threat as of late. Haley has reached double figures in 21 of his previous 32 games for WVU.

This season, Haley is averaging 9.4 points per game and has posted an offensive rating of 112.6. Only Tshiebwe (113.0) has a better offensive rating than Haley for WVU.

None by Bleacher Report CBB

MEET THE COACH

The Mountaineers are coached by Bob Huggins, who is 288-156 in his 13th season at his alma mater and 877-367 in his 38th season overall.

ONE THING WVU IS GOOD AT

Similar to Kansas and the other strong Big 12 teams, West Virginia has an elite defense. The Mountaineers rank third in 3-point defense (27.6%) and ninth in 2-point defense (42.7%) so far this season.

ONE THING WVU IS BAD AT

West Virginia hasn’t been efficient from deep or the free-throw line this year. WVU is shooting 30.3% from deep, which ranks 306th in the nation. The Mountaineers also rank 331st with a 64.3% clip at the charity stripe.

VEGAS SAYS

Kansas is getting 1.5 points on FanDuel’s Sportsbook as of Wednesday morning, despite KenPom giving a slight edge to the visitors. The atmosphere is going to be really good, and KU has obviously struggled to win in Morgantown for a reason.

But this defense has proven it is elite enough to win tough road games, and West Virginia doesn’t have enough offensive firepower to trust that side in this matchup. I’m taking the points in a KU win.

Prediction: Kansas 66, West Virginia 63

This year’s record ATS: 12-10

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Getting to know: TCU basketball

TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) attempts to strip the ball away from Kansas guard Devon Dotson (11) as TCU head coach Jamie Dixon, right, watches in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) attempts to strip the ball away from Kansas guard Devon Dotson (11) as TCU head coach Jamie Dixon, right, watches in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) by Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo

There might be bigger games down the road, but Kansas coach Bill Self believes this is an important two-game stretch for his team.

The first of back-to-back road games will take No. 3 KU down to Fort Worth, Texas, where it will square off with TCU on Saturday. Five days later, the Jayhawks will travel to Morgantown to face West Virginia.

Saturday’s matchup figures to be an important contest for both teams. Kansas (19-3, 8-1 Big 12) is hoping to stay in the thick of the league race, while TCU (13-9, 4-5 Big 12) is looking to end a four-game skid.

According to KenPom, Kansas is projected to win by a 69-59 margin with an 81% chance of victory.

Kansas leads the overall series with TCU, 18-2, including 7-1 in games played in Fort Worth and 6-1 in Schollmaier Arena. KU has won the last four meetings and 14 of the last 15 battles with TCU dating back to Feb. 23, 2013.

Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m.

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BREAKING DOWN TCU

TOP PLAYER

No. 1 — G Desmond Bane | 6-6, 215, sr.

In his senior season, Bane is leading TCU with an average of 16.2 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest.

Entering the season, Bane was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team and he’s been as good as advertised. Bane leads the Big 12 Conference in 3-point field goals made per game (2.8) and ranks second in 3-point field goal percentage (44.2) this year.

It was even obvious from the start that Bane was going to have a strong campaign. Bane had four games of 20-plus points through TCU’s first seven games. That was the most 20-point games by a TCU player since Corey Santee did so four times in the 2001-02 season.

None by TCU Basketball

SUPPORTING CAST

No. 21 — C Kevin Samuel | 6-11, 250, so.

Samuel has had a strong sophomore season, averaging 11.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for TCU.

This season, Samuel has been a very efficient weapon in the frontcourt. He is shooting 66.5% from the field, which ranks second in the Big 12 and fifth in the NCAA. Samuel’s 10 double-doubles leads the Big 12 and ranks 25th nationally.

In addition, Samuel is averaging 3.0 blocks per outing. Samuel recorded six blocked shots in back-to-back games against George Mason and Iowa State, becoming the first TCU player with five-plus blocks in consecutive contests since Derrick Davenport did so in 2000.

None by Big 12 Conference

No. 22 — G RJ Nembhard | 6-5, 195, so.

The sophomore guard showcased his ability to take over a game in the Big 12 opener.

Nembhard scored a career-high 31 points to lead TCU to an 81-79 overtime win against Iowa State on Jan. 4. He drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game with 1.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. In the end, Nembhard scored 21 of TCU’s final 32 points.

For the season, Nembhard is averaging 12.4 points per game to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest.

None by TCU Basketball

MEET THE COACH

The Horned Frogs are coached by Jamie Dixon, who is 81-50 in his fourth season at TCU and 409-173 in his 17th season overall.

ONE THING TCU IS GOOD AT

The Horned Frogs have done well on the offensive glass this season. TCU has an offensive rebound rate of 33.6%, which ranks 31st in the country via KenPom.

ONE THING TCU IS BAD AT

TCU is not going to get much production at the charity stripe on Saturday. According to KenPom, the Horned Frogs rank 340th in the nation with a 62.5% effort from the free-throw line.

VEGAS SAYS

Kansas is a nine-point favorite over TCU, which is right in line with KenPom’s projected score. Given that the Horned Frogs desperately need a win, and will be playing in front of a favorable home crowd, I’m taking the points. It's an important stretch for KU, but I have my doubts it will begin with a double-digit road win.

Prediction: Kansas 68, TCU 62

This year’s record ATS: 12-9

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