If you are like me who has a TCU national title future, then oh how nice it is to have Mike Miles Jr back from injury. Giving the Horned Frogs offense a much-needed boost in scoring production, TCU exploded for 100 total points in their last game out against Oklahoma State. Speaking of scoring explosions, the Jayhawks offense went insane in the second half against Baylor, mounting a 64-31 run to seal away a top-10 victory. With both units firing on all cylinders, who will come out on top in this Big 12 clash?
Kansas Vs. TCU Prediction & Pick
The Pick: TCU Moneyline
Although it is a small sample size amidst the return of Mike Miles Jr, I can’t help but back the Horned Frogs on the moneyline as they will look to remind the rest of the Big 12 that they are one the best in the conference. Their last outing brought their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency back above champion level, meaning TCU now fits the mold of past champions. Should they remain healthy, they are capable of a deep run come March.
As I mentioned earlier, it can’t be overstated how horrific TCU’s offense was in the absence of Mike Miles Jr. Missing an extended period of time due to injury, the Horned Frogs scraped and clawed to the best of their abilities in a losing skid. Their defense could only keep the contest so tight before the lack of offense buried them in late game situations. Especially with turnovers, giving the other team higher quality looks in transitional and not allowing TCU to set up their vaunted defense.
Those woes have subsided for now as Miles Jr was a revelation to their offense. Not only did he bring back his lethal scoring prowess, but he opened up the floor for TCU as a whole. As he commanded defensive attention, this eased the pressure off his secondary scorers which gave them better looks at the rim. With crisp facilitation, TCU’s offense looked practically brand new as they poured the scoring on the Cowboys.
It’s not as if Oklahoma State is a bad defensive unit either, they currently rank 10th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. TCU has another stout defense on deck in the Jayhawks as Kansas ranks 15th in AdjD per Kenpom. The Jayhawks will look to cause Havoc around the arc, turning that into fast break points in transition.
Kansas Vs. TCU Odds
Oddsmakers opened this at a near pick’em, slightly leaning towards the Horned Frogs by opening them as a -1 favorite on their home court. Bettors are in agreement with oddsmakers, backing TCU up to -2 as of writing. This actually comes as a bit of a surprise as recency bias may be swaying bettors towards TCU after the much-anticipated return of Miles Jr. It can’t be stated enough how anemic their unit became without him, also sorely missing Eddie Lampkin Jr in the interior as well.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a blistering pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 150. Bettors are tempering their expectations of points being put up on the board, backing the under down to as low as 149 in some shops. While both units put on magical offensive displays in their last game out, they both also field elite defenses that are poised to limit each other’s scoring production. Both are top-25 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom.
Kansas Vs. TCU Key Matchups
Can TCU limit the Jayhawks perimeter onslaught?
Kansas three-point shooting vs TCU perimeter defense
Just like what the Jayhawks defense does at an elite rate, the Horned Frogs are also a feared unit in the half court set as their havoc puts immense pressure on opposing offenses. TCU’s length and athleticism are on full display as they scramble around the defensive end, seemingly always having a hand in the ball handler’s face.
Smothering opposing looks and disrupting the Jayhawks rhythm will be key as they have been clicking as an offensive unit. Looking anemic early on, Kansas has rounded out as a complete unit by putting more emphasis on Jalen Wilson’s playmaking.
Taking the game over himself has opened up the court for his complimentary scorers, giving more open looks at the perimeter for the likes of Gradey Dick and Dajuan Harris Jr. TCU will look to force Wilson into bad passing situations, forcing mistakes and taking advantage of points in transition and beating them at their own game.
Back the Horned Frogs to win outright as they will look to remind the rest of the Big 12 that they are in the upper echelon of the conference after their losing skid without Miles Jr.