It’s been anything but normal for both of these teams in TCU and Kansas State as TCU battled bad injury luck while Kansas State sprung up to be the surprise team of the year. Both are looking to improve their seeding for March Madness, already splitting their regular season series. With a healthy Mike Miles Jr back in the TCU lineup, my prediction is that TCU rolls the Wildcats by covering the spread with ease.
TCU Vs. Kansas State Prediction
The return of Mike Miles Jr can’t be overstated as the Horned Frogs offense was as stagnant as it gets without his playmaking ability. He showed early signs of rust as expected, but quickly got back into form by leading a win over the Texas Longhorns at the end of the season. Their clunker against Oklahoma in their season finale is worth monitoring, but expected as that was a sleepy spot for TCU with their spot locked into the conference tournament.
His offensive production will be called upon again as Kansas State is one of the best defenses in the league. They finished the season ranked 14th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom. A brunt of their defensive success stems from their ability to limit opposing looks at the rim, holding opponents to an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 47.4%. They bode well especially from the perimeter, limiting three-point completion percentages to 29.5% which is 11th best in the nation per TeamRankings.
Perimeter play was an issue in Mike Miles Jr absence as TCU failed to generate their own looks with a lack of playmaking. With Miles Jr slashing abilities back in the lineup, he is capable of shifting the defense to his liking as they need to respect his interior scoring abilities. This opens up the perimeter for TCU to exploit, capitalizing on knockdown jump shots. TCU struggled from deep over the course of the season by shooting 29.6% from deep yet improved to 34% since Miles Jr returned.
One potential issue that does give me some worry is that it was recently released that big man Eddie Lampkin Jr did not travel with the team due to personal family matters. His presence will be missed as he plays a key role for the Horned Frogs interior as an offensive rebounding machine. He gives the Horned Frogs precious extra possessions, generating his rebounds into high quality looks at the rim.
TCU Vs. Kansas State Prediction: TCU -2
TCU Vs. Kansas State Odds
Even with the news of Eddie Lampkin Jr being unable to suit up, the Horned Frogs spread has yet to take a hit on either end as the number is currently the same as the opener at -2. TCU will be able to recoup his missing rebounding efforts as they crash the boards as a collective unit as every Horned Frog playing over 15 minutes averages over two rebounds per game.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a fast pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 146.5. Bettors were quick to take the over, bumping the number up to 147 since its release. This actually comes as a bit of a surprise and a line movement worth monitoring as both units are very elite on the defensive end. Especially if TCU possessions are limited without Eddie Lampkin’s efforts on the glass, reeling back towards their poor shooting.
TCU Vs. Kansas State Key Matchups
Kansas State interior play vs TCU interior Havoc
A key reason I believe TCU will cover the spread in my TCU Vs. Kansas State prediction is because of their ability to generate Havoc opportunities in the interior for quick points in transition.
Defense has been their consistent driving force for their success this season, ranking 24th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They have a nose for the ball and clamp down on the ball handler in the interior, clogging lanes and forcing opposing offenses into Havoc situations.
Turning turnovers into points in transition will be key to recoup the lost possessions from offensive rebounding, especially since Kansas State is a weak transitional defense that ranks well below average in fast break defense per Kenpom.
Back the Horned Frogs as a slight favorite as they should have little issue cruising to victory over the Wildcats with Mike Miles Jr running the offense.