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Jayhawks still searching for turning point after ugly win vs. TCU

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) fights for a rebound with TCU guard RJ Nembhard (22) and TCU center Kevin Samuel (21) during the second half on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) fights for a rebound with TCU guard RJ Nembhard (22) and TCU center Kevin Samuel (21) during the second half on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Sure, Kansas put an end to its un-blue blood like three-game losing streak Thursday night against TCU. But what transpired at Allen Fieldhouse didn’t come close to resembling the type of turning point in the season the Jayhawks needed.

Senior Marcus Garrett spoke earlier in the week of looking at the remainder of the schedule as a new season. And this matchup had all the elements to be the reboot game KU had been chasing. TCU hadn’t played in 16 days and arrived in Lawrence as one of the two worst teams in the Big 12. 

For some reason, though, what should have been an easy A for the Jayhawks played out in the first half like they showed up to a final exam having never attended a lecture nor read any of the course materials.

Misfires multiplied — they were 5-for-23 and missed 11 in a row as the two teams traded woeful droughts — and the Jayhawks just got tighter with every clank and turnover.

College basketball is supposed to be fun, but that 18-point first half was the antithesis of that.

“Doubt definitely runs through every player’s mind,” KU junior David McCormack admitted following a predominantly ugly 59-51 victory.

The possibility of KU’s losing skid going from three to four felt very real in the first half, and the No. 15 Jayhawks played at times like that was the only thing on their minds.

“I don’t know if we played tight, per se,” McCormack said of the first half. “I think some people were just thinking too much or overthinking. We just told them to relax, play the game, but still be turned up at the same time. Once we got a well balanced mindset everything came natural.”

They weren’t just bad in the opening 20 minutes. They were abysmal. It was troubling. Any of the Big 12’s top teams could’ve buried KU by halftime. If this was an NCAA Tournament game in Indianapolis in March, even against a double-digit seed, the Jayhawks would’ve been packing their bags and headed home.

But this was a late-January game against a TCU team that entered the night ranked No. 93 in the nation at KenPom.com. So the Jayhawks won.

The result doesn’t mask this team’s issues. Inconsistencies continue to plague KU. The extreme fluctuations in the effectiveness of individual players from game to game or even half to half has kept the Jayhawks from achieving their typical elite status. Jalen Wilson went scoreless in 18 minutes against TCU. Christian Braun only attempted three shots in 27 minutes. Both have proven this season they are capable of far better.

For much of the year, the volatility in how KU plays defense has been at the front of head coach Bill Self’s mind. 

After the Horned Frogs shot 35% from the floor and coughed up the ball 22 times, on this night at least, Self felt better about one of his team’s problems. 

“We didn’t play great offensively the first half. We guarded for the most part for 40 minutes,” Self said. “Really proud of our guys for how they competed. I know they’re feeling some pressure. And they needed to enjoy this and I’m going to, too.”

It took an unexpected second half burst onto the scene from junior backup Tyon Grant-Foster (nine points and five rebounds in 17 minutes) and David McCormack playing to his potential — and even connecting on the first 3-pointer of his college career — in the final 20 minutes for the Jayhawks to recover at home and beat TCU.

But the Jayhawks have been in such a rut of late that they only focused on the positives afterward.

“A win is a win at the end of the day,” junior Ochai Agbaji replied, when asked whether the Jayhawks left less encouraged than they typically would following a victory. “Coming off of three straight losses, that’s what we just wanted to come in here and do, no matter what. You have to win games like those where things aren’t going our way offensively, and we’ve got to really lock in defensively and make them play bad. Those wins are always fun, and I think all the guys are enjoying this one, too.”

Self didn’t go as far as to call what happened fun. But he, too, surely while considering the psyches of his players, opted not to dwell on the negatives.

“It’s a good vibe,” Self said. “I’m not in any way shape or form going to leave here thinking it was an ugly --- win. I’m not going to do it.”

That’s what Self said because that’s what his Jayhawks needed to hear at this stage of a season that hasn’t lived up to his standards.

Even so, KU enters a challenging trip to Tennessee having merely survived against TCU.  The Jayhawks didn’t look like they started a new season. They’ll have to put off hitting that reboot button yet again, as they hope to eventually evolve into a team that can make a deep NCAA Tournament run.

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Getting to know TCU

TCU head coach Trent Johnson lays into an official during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

TCU head coach Trent Johnson lays into an official during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

After a perfect 13-0 start to the season, Big 12 play hasn’t gone quite as well for Trent Johnson and his TCU Horned Frogs (14-5 overall, 1-5 Big 12).

Still, TCU has competed, with two of its losses coming in overtime, including a wild, near-upset at West Virginia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVt6NVkPjJg

Johnson, who is 2-3 all-time vs. Kansas, including a December 2003 win when he coached at Nevada, is turning things around for the program, which last advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1998. Remember: Last season TCU went 0-18 in the Big 12 and 9-22 overall.

Entering Tuesday night, TCU ranked third in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 35.1% shooting. The two teams ahead of the Horned Frogs? Undefeated Kentucky (31.7%) and Virginia (34.1%).

In Big 12 play, TCU leads the league in FG% defense at 37.4% (ahead of second-ranked KU’s 38.6%), as well as 3-point FG% defense (25.3%).

Part of TCU’s success on the defensive end comes from its shot-blocking — 5.8 denials a game, which ranks 12th in the nation. On the season, the Horned Frogs are allowing 57.3 points a game (15th nationally). In Big 12 games, the Horned Frogs rank sixth in blocks (4.3) and are tied for fifth in scoring defense (66.0).

Defense has allowed TCU to battle better than its Big 12 record indicates. In four of its five losses in the league, the Horned Frogs either led or trailed by single digits in the final five minutes of the game.

TCU has lost its last 17 games against ranked opponents, with its last top-25 win coming in February of 2013 against Kansas — the infamous “Topeka YMCA” game.

So between the way their road trip to West Virginia ended and their eagerness to prove they can beat a ranked team, expect nothing to come easy for No. 9 Kansas (16-3, 5-1) at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center.

Here are the Horned Frogs the Jayhawks will have to worry about Wednesday night at Fort Worth, Texas.

HORNED FROGS STARTERS

No. 5 — Kyan Anderson, 5-11, senior G

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe defends as TCU guard Kyan Anderson pulls back for a shot during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe defends as TCU guard Kyan Anderson pulls back for a shot during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

TCU’s leader in points (13.7) assists (3.9), and steals (1.4), his scoring actually has dipped from last season (17.0 points), but that’s a good thing for the Horned Frogs and Anderson, because it means he isn’t being forced to do so much on his own.

Still, he has scored in double figures in 14 games this season — not surprising, considering his name, face and efforts have been the most consistent thing about TCU the past few seasons. Anderson ranks in the program’s top five in career games started, minutes played and steals. He’s top-10 in TCU history in scoring, 3-pointers, free throws made and assists.

His 30 3-pointers this season lead the team — by 16 — but he only hits 32.3% from long range.

The Horned Frogs visit the charity stripe 27.9 times a game, and Anderson is a big part of that. He shoots 89.2% at the foul line (tops in the Big 12) on 83 attempts (4.4 tries a game).

Unfortunately for TCU, he’s the only reliable free-throw shooter on the team — more on that to come.

Anderson put up 22 points at West Virginia, bouncing back from a 2-point night in a loss to Texas.

hoop-math.com nugget: While the rest of Anderson’s teammates don’t shot the ball from deep too often, he more than makes up for it, taking 52.5% of his shots from 3-point range. 73.3% of his 3-point makes have been assisted.

No. 32 — Trey Zeigler, 6-5, senior G

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxD6ROpg1Qg

An explosive guard, he has upgraded TCU’s experience this season. Zeigler played at Central Michigan and Pitt before landing in Fort Worth. He has posted more than 1,300 points and 500 rebounds in his career.

Averaging 8.7 points and 3.9 rebounds this season, Zeigler has facilitated TCU’s offense of late, leading the team in assists in six of the last eight games. In Big 12 play, he’s averaging 11.3 points and shooting 46% from the floor.

The veteran guard knocked in clutch jumpers at the end of regulation and in overtime at WVU.

Zeigler had a season-high 19 points at Kansas State, hitting 7 of 14 shot attempts.

Though he plays in the backcourt, he has not made a 3-pointer and attempted just 5 all season. Likewise, he isn’t a good free-throw shooter. While he has taken 81 attempts (just behind Anderson’s 83), Zeigler has connected on just 58% of his tries.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Zeigler, obviously not much of a shooter, takes 60.2% of his shots at the rim, which leads TCU. He has made 59.7% of his 77 attempts.

No. 34 — Kenrich Williams, 6-7, sophomore F

The second-year small forward chips in 8.4 points a game and leads the Horned Frogs with 6.6 rebounds.

His 11-point outing at West Virginia marked his ninth time in double figures this season. TCU is 7-2 when he scores 10 or more.

A junior-college transfer, Williams leads TCU with 50 offensive rebounds (2.6 a game).

Like Zeigler, he is a poor free-throw shooter: 33 of 56 (58.9%).

— hoop-math.com nugget: Here’s another Horned Frog who knows where he needs to be shooting. Williams takes 56.5% of his shots at the rim and makes 67.2% at that distance.

No. 33 — Chris Washburn, 6-8, sophomore F

A transfer from UTEP, the son of the No. 3 overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, Chris Washburn Sr., was a four-star prospect coming out of high school.

The younger Washburn is averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in his first season playing for TCU.

His eight dunks lead the Horned Frogs this season, but he is active defensively, too, averaging 1.53 blocks and 1.0 steals. Washburn had 3 steals against Baylor and blocked 2 shots at Texas Tech and at West Virginia.

He has missed both of his 3-point tries this season. And, guess what, he also stinks as a free-throw shooter: 38 of 57 (49.1%).

— hoop-math.com nugget: While Washburn has taken 53 shots at the rim this season, making 66% of those, he has only connected on 16 of his 48 2-point jumpers. … His 15 put-backs on the offensive glass lead TCU.

No. 14 — Karviar Shepherd, 6-10, sophomore C

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor gets a bucket past TCU center Karviar Shepherd during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor gets a bucket past TCU center Karviar Shepherd during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The big man has only contributed 6.7 points this season, which has a lot to do with him making just 48 of his 109 field goal attempts (44%).

The highest-rated prospect (No. 46 in Class of 2013 by Rivals.com) ever to choose TCU, Shepherd has just three double-digit scoring games this season after accomplishing that feat 16 times as a freshman.

The center had 15 rebounds last season against Iowa State, but this year he is averaging just 6.2 boards (5.5 in Big 12 games).

He has 17 blocks in 19 games and leads TCU with 52 personal fouls.

Compared to TCU’s other top rotation players, he’s not atrocious at the free-throw line: 31 for 49, 63.3%.

— hoop-math.com nugget: The majority of his shots — 58.7% — have come on 2-point jumpers, and Shepherd has made only 24 of 64 (37.5%).

HORNED FROGS BENCH

No. 4 — Amric Fields, 6-9, senior F

None by NCAA Colleges news

Contributing 7.1 points and 3.1 rebounds off the bench in just 16.2 minutes, Fields takes smart shots and makes them. He’s hitting at a 60% clip on the season — 42-for-70.

Six times last season, he led the Horned Frogs in scoring and reached double digits in 14 of the 18 games he played in, averaging 13.8 points.

Now that he’s in a backup role, it hasn’t affected Fields’ approach on offense. He scored 11 points and hit all 5 of his shots at West Virginia.

While he is typically efficient within the flow of the game, he too struggles at the foul line: 19 for 41 (46.3%).

— hoop-math.com nugget: Fields is actually the team’s most effective shooter. His eFG% of 62.1% leads the team.

No. 11 — Brandon Parrish, 6-6, sophomore F

Kansas defenders Tarik Black, left, and Wayne Selden try to smother a shot by TCU forward Brandon Parrish during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas defenders Tarik Black, left, and Wayne Selden try to smother a shot by TCU forward Brandon Parrish during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The second-year forward had a career-high 22 points back in November against New Orleans. He blocked five shots in December vs. Texas-San Antonio.

On the season, Parrish averages 5.9 points and 2.3 rebounds.

He spent 16 games as a starter before Williams replaced him in the top five.

In his three appearances off the bench, Parrish had 0 points at Texas Tech (3 minutes), 5 points vs. Texas and 3 points at West Virginia. He has only made 2 of 9 shots as a backup.

His 14 3-pointers this season ranks him second on TCU, and he has made 38.9% from long range.

Oh, year. Parrish is 23 of 40 at the foul line (57.5%).

— hoop-math.com nugget: Parrish has taken 37.1% of his shots at the rim and 37.1% from 3-point range. He has made 18 of 36 inside.

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Getting reacquainted with TCU

TCU head coach Trent Johnson watches in the final minutes against the Jayhawks on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

TCU head coach Trent Johnson watches in the final minutes against the Jayhawks on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

Unfortunately for Trent Johnson, the above pose has been his go-to move this season.

That's what going winless in conference play will do to a coach.

Things won't get any easier for his TCU team (9-14 overall, 0-11 Big 12) today at Allen Fieldhouse, but they could be worse. The Horned Frogs could have to deal with Kansas starting freshman center Joel Embiid. But Jayhawks basketball coach Bill Self announced Friday the 7-foot phenom will miss the game, because he didn't practice on Friday and continues to recover from some nagging knee and back soreness.

That's good news for TCU, because Embiid went for 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks in just 19 minutes in a 91-69 Jayhawks blowout victory on Jan. 25 at Fort Worth, Texas.

The Frogs, dead last in the Big 12 standings, will take all the help they can get against first-place KU (18-6, 9-2).

Though the Horned Frogs have lost 11 straight games since closing their non-conference schedule on Dec. 29 by beating Texas Southern, three of their Big 12 losses have come by six points or less. Most recently in such a scenario, they gave Texas a scare on Feb. 4 before falling at home, 59-54.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TylgEpktMUs

Still, the fact of the matter is TCU just isn't that good, despite the presence of a few talented players. One major issue is depth. Johnson relies heavily on his starters, and they can only do so much.

The Frogs are in the bottom half of the Big 12 in almost every statistical category. They only rank among the top five teams in the league in free-throw percentage (third, 73.1%) and turnover margin (fourth, +1.26 a game).

Now, let's get reacquainted with the five TCU starters who will do all they can to pull off a mammoth upset at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kyan Anderson, No. 5

5-11, 175, jr. guard

— Jan. 25 stats vs. KU: 12 points, 2/8 FGs, 0/3 3s, 8/8 FTs, 1 rebound, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 37 minutes.

TCU's best shooter — 47.1% field goals, 33 of 84 3-pointers, 85.4% free throws — gives the Horned Frogs much more than that.

Anderson is seventh in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.3 points a game, but he's also fourth in a assists with 4.9, second in the league in free-throw percentage (behind only Oklahoma State's Phil Forte, who hits 92.5%) and averages 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes.

He has eight 20-plus point game this season and became a 1,000-point career scorer at TCU with 27 points at Iowa State.

Amric Fields, No. 4

6-9, 220, jr. forward

— Jan. 25 stats vs. KU: 13 points, 5/10 FGs, 1/2 3s, 2/4 FTs, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 block in 37 minutes.

The junior forward has led the Frogs in scoring six times this season while only playing in 16 games.

Fields averages 13.6 points and 6.1 rebounds and is a threat from three-point range, too, making 18 of 50 from deep to date.

Basically, the Frogs' offense goes as Fields and Anderson go. In Big 12 games, the two have combined to score 326 of TCU's 650 points and have 68 of the team's 124 assists.

Fields' seven rebounds against Baylor made him the team leader in that category for the fifth straight game.

Brandon Parrish, No. 11

6-6, 185, fr. guard

— Jan. 25 stats vs. KU: 15 points, 6/11 FGs, 2/3 3s, 1/2 FTs, 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, fouled out in 32 minutes.

The freshman has scored double digits 13 times in his first season, with a season-high of 18 against West Virginia.

Parrish averages 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds, and has connected on 31 of his 84 3-pointers (36.9%).

He is shooting nearly 40% from the field in conference play.

Karviar Shepherd, No. 1

6-10, 225, fr. center

Kansas center Joel Embiid stuffs a shot by TCU center Karviar Shepherd during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas center Joel Embiid stuffs a shot by TCU center Karviar Shepherd during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 stats vs. KU: 8 points, 2/6 FGs, 4/4 FTs, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 3 blocks, fouled out in 18 minutes.

The highest-rated player ever to wear the TCU uniform (No. 46 in the class of 2013 by Rivals.com), the big man has given the Horned Frogs a legit interior presence.

Shepherd averages 8.4 points, is 10th in the Big 12 with 6.9 rebounds and swats about 2.0 shots a game (fourth in the league).

He's a solid free-throw shooter, who hits 74.1% at the line this year (12th in the Big 12).

He didn't play that well in his first matchup with Kansas, and Embiid had something to do with that. If the Frogs stand a chance of sticking around with the Jayhawks in the rematch, they'll need a career day from the center whom KU once recruited.

Shepherd scored a career-high 15 points against Texas Tech and secured 11 rebounds, his best effort in Big 12 play, against Oklahoma.

Jarvis Ray, No. 22

6-6, 195, sr. forward

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins gets a put-back bucket against TCU guard Jarvis Ray during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins gets a put-back bucket against TCU guard Jarvis Ray during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 stats vs. KU: 8 points, 2/6 FGs, 4/5 FTs, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers in 23 minutes.

The only senior in the starting lineup is also the only senior in TCU's entire rotation.

Ray has started every game for the Horned Frogs this season, and averages 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

For a guard, he makes his presence felt on the glass, and has 28 offensive boards on the year.

He has only scored double digits in one Big 12 game this season: 11 on Jan. 11, vs. Baylor. In the eight games since, his best outing was against KU: eight points.

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Bill Self press conference notes: Feb. 13, 2014

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self had his weekly press conference Thursday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, two days before the No. 7 Jayhawks (18-6 overall, 9-2 Big 12) play host to TCU (9-14, 0-11).

The Jayhawks rolled past the Horned Frogs, 91-69, on Jan. 25.

Here are the bullet-point highlights from Self's Q & A with the media.

• Joel Embiid's status: No update at this point. The freshman center feels better. The MRIs and things like that have been done, and they show that his injuries should get better quickly. A lot of his availability for Saturday depends upon whether he can practice on Friday. You think about it longterm, and they're not gonna do anything to jeopardize his health down the road. A lot of times there is no reason to hold guys out if they're healthy. Embiid's not doing anything at practice. Just dressed out for practice on Wednesday. No activity. Didn't even shoot free throws. He looks a little different — not exploding, not as likely to initiate contact. The big man just hasn't looked like himself.

• On Jamari Traylor, who didn't play against Kansas State due to disciplinary reasons: Self will visit with Traylor today and hold off on a decision until after they visit, but he anticipates that visit going well.

• KU's dribble-penetration defense: If you look at KU against K-State, the Jayhawks scored "all their points" on dribble penetration. It's the hardest thing to guard. In that particular game, KU didn't defend the rim "worth a flip" and allowed K-State to get inside off the bounce. Sometimes it is a matter of pride and want-to. Players have to be tough and mentally into it. On Monday, the Jayhawks didn't have that type of mindset.

• KU's ball-screen defense: There is a toughness element in fighting through it. K-State probably scored five baskets off ball-screen offense against Kansas. Three of those, KU's players probably weren't in tune to what they should have been doing.

• Self doesn't know what the players have learned from the K-State overtime loss, because they haven't played yet and have only had one 75-minute practice since then (the team had Tuesday off). Syracuse and Wichita State are the only teams that haven't had tough losses. KU is playing in the best conference in America and is 9-2. The Jayhawks aren't doing badly. But KU needs to be better at making other teams play poorly. They didn't do that at K-State.

• Brannen Greene was a spark against K-State. He was good late and helped KU's comeback to force overtime.

• You only play roughly 35 games in a season, so players should be excited every time they play. There are dog days in baseball, football can become more of a grind late in the season. The key in basketball is how does a player's body feel. A lot of guys are sore but they're not hurt. That's natural at this time of year.

• On Conner Frankamp playing well in limited minutes: All the role players have done well but they haven't had the same opportunities as their starters. All the players have done well, and that's great for the team moving forward, even into next year as guys who are coming back will be chomping at the bit to play a bigger role.

• TCU is winless but they'll get one before the year is over. It's just a matter of time. They were actually close in the second half at Iowa State, and Melvin Ejim scored 48.

• SMU emerging under Larry Brown and Tim Jankovic: To see the interest level and the new arena and brining college basketball excitement back to the Metroplex is very cool to see. They probably did that faster than a lot of people thought.

• Saturday, Monday format of the Big 12 is great preparation for the NCAA Tournament.

• Several former players have said they will be back for this weekend with the NBA All-Star break. Self probably won't find out until about 5 p.m. Friday that they need tickets. "That's kind of how my guys operate."

— Click here for complete audio from the press conference.

— Hear from freshman Brannen Greene and senior Tarik Black by clicking here.

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Getting to know TCU

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.

Things aren't exactly easy in the Big 12 for the Horned Frogs of TCU. They only won two conference games in 2013 and currently sit at 0-6 in the Big 12 (9-9 overall) heading into tonight's home game against No. 8 Kansas (14-4, 5-0).

Of course, that doesn't mean a Bill Self team couldn't go down to Fort Worth, Texas, and lose at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. It happened last season, when TCU won, 62-55, on its home floor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SrWO94SGSw

Pulling off a second massive upset of Kansas seems unlikely. TCU is 10th (last) in the Big 12 in scoring offense (66.1 points), scoring margin (-2.6), field goal percentage (41.3), three-point field goal percentage (31.2), rebounding (32.7), rebound margin (-5.3) and offensive rebounds.

The Horned Frogs opened conference play this season with home losses to West Virginia (by 15 points), Kansas State (by 18) and Texas Tech (by 11), and road losses at Baylor (by 26), Oklahoma State (by 32) and Oklahoma (by eight).

TCU nearly rid itself of the zero in its conference win column on Wednesday, but ultimately lost, 77-69, to the Sooners.

As reported by Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TCU coach Trent Johnson felt good about his team's play at Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs tied the game with less than four minutes to play.

“That’s probably as well as we’ve played in league play,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “We’re a lot better team than what we’ve shown in the previous five league games. So hopefully this will give us some confidence the remainder of the year so we can play better basketball.”


Here are the five Horned Frogs the Jayhawks will have to worry about as they try to keep TCU winless in the Big 12.

Kyan Anderson, No. 5

5-11, 175, jr. guard

Ben McLemore (23) and Elijah Johnson (15) press TCUs Kyan Anderson (5) late in the Jayhawks 62-55 loss to Texas Christian University, Wednesday at TCU in Ft. Worth, TX.

Ben McLemore (23) and Elijah Johnson (15) press TCUs Kyan Anderson (5) late in the Jayhawks 62-55 loss to Texas Christian University, Wednesday at TCU in Ft. Worth, TX. by Mike Yoder

If anyone from TCU is capable of getting hot, it's Anderson. He averages 15.1 points and 4.6 assists, and has scored in double figures 13 times this season. He scored 23 earlier this week at OU.

Anderson's 104 free-throw attempts lead the team by far, and he hits 81.7 percent at the foul line. He also makes 36.8 percent of his threes (21-for-57) to lead TCU. Overall, Anderson shoots 47.4 percent from the floor.

His 1.5 steals a game are the third-best average in the Big 12, and he plays 33.5 minutes a game, second overall in the conference.

Amric Fields, No. 4

6-9, 220, jr. forward

TCU missed Fields most of last season, when he only played three games due to a knee injury, and he has only played in 11 games this season, due in part to a broken hand he suffered during non-conference play.

But when he is on the floor, he makes things happen for TCU. Fields averages 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Despite the time he has missed, he is third on the team with 12 tree-pointers made (on 35 attempts, 34.3 percent).

Brandon Parrish, No. 11

6-6, 185, fr. guard

His 24 three-pointers lead the Horned Frogs, and he averages 10.2 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Though just a freshman, he has started every game, scored double digits 11 times and scored a career high 18 vs. West Virginia.

Parrish was the first player to commit to second-year coach Johnson, who is still in the early stages of a major project.

Karviar Shepherd, No. 1

6-10, 225, fr. center

The Star-Telegram's Stevenson recently wrote about how the freshman big man, to whom KU actually offered a scholarship, is starting to make a bigger impact on offense.

Shepherd averaged 14.0 points against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. He followed that up with 12 points (and 11 rebounds) at Oklahoma. Compare that to his first three Big 12 games, when he attempted a total of 14 shots.

“He’s got a better understanding now of good shot/bad shot,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “I think he’s making strides offensively.”


On the season, Shepherd averages 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

Jarvis Ray, No. 22

6-6, 195, sr. forward

The only senior in Johnson's rotation, and a steady No. 5 option in the starting lineup, Ray averages 9.6 points and 4.0 rebounds.

He swipes 1.28 steals a game, sixth in the Big 12. Plus, Ray is third on TCU with 21 offensive rebounds.

Reply 2 comments from Steve Corder Jayhawkmarshall