Kansas has had three consecutive close calls at home, but there’s a reason they keep winning. Allen Fieldhouse is one of the best home-court advantages in the nation, which is part of the reason TCU has never beaten Kansas on the road.
The Horned Frogs have lost three of their last five games, but they have wins over Kansas State and Baylor this month as they look to pad their case for a tournament bid. An upset in Lawrence would be the biggest boost possible.
Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Saturday’s matchup in Kansas.
TCU vs. Kansas Odds
Kansas enters as a 7.5-point home favorite, sitting at -314 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 145.5 points.
Kansas hasn’t won by more than seven at home since blowing out Harvard in December, and yet this line doesn’t feel like a huge stretch by any means. The Jayhawks always seem to have an edge at home, and a TCU team that has faltered late in games at times probably isn’t the safest bet to survive a back-and-forth battle with a team as talented as Kansas. Do the Horned Frogs have enough to cover +7.5?
TCU vs. Kansas Prediction & Pick
I’m not confident in TCU’s ability to close out this game on the road, but I do think the Horned Frogs can keep it close enough to cover. The development of Emanuel Miller is ensuring TCU’s offense isn’t so one-dimensional with Mike Miles Jr., and the Horned Frogs (unlike a few Big 12 teams) aren’t just reliant on their offense or defense anymore.
Kansas’ strong defensive backcourt should help limit TCU’s offense, while the Horned Frogs will try to at least limit Jalen Wilson with their size like a few tough defenses have already done.
Kansas historically wins at Allen Fieldhouse and should win again, but the Jayhawks’ close home wins over Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma are indicative of how tightly-packed the Big 12 is right now. TCU is right up there with the best teams in the conference.
TCU vs. Kansas Key Matchups
The reigning champions remain one of the nation’s most complete teams, even if they haven’t always been a dominant force. The Jayhawks are averaging 77.2 points per game, down a bit from last season but still high enough.
So much of beating Kansas comes down to limiting Jalen Wilson. Wilson is averaging 20.8 points and 8.9 rebounds, shining as the centerpiece of the Jayhawks’ offense. He’s had tough days against strong competition, including Indiana and Iowa State, notably. Kansas State let Wilson run wild in Kansas’ last game, but TCU’s defense is much better than the Wildcats.
With some size in the frontcourt between Eddie Lampkin Jr. and Emanuel Miller, TCU has a chance to at least limit Wilson and force some other pieces to score.
The Horned Frogs defend the three well, but Kansas isn’t a high-volume three-point shooting team. Gradey Dick is the exception – the freshman has shot very efficiently from beyond the arc, even against tough defenses like Iowa State’s. The recent emergence of forward K.J. Adams has also been a huge boost to Kansas’ offense.
TCU has scored as much as Kansas has this season, though when push comes to shove, can the Horned Frogs’ offense keep up at Allen Fieldhouse? They scored 65 points at West Virginia earlier in the week and have scored under 70 points in three of their six Big 12 matchups.
The offense runs through Mike Miles Jr., but the x-factor is Miller. Miller has two 20+ point performances in his last three games and uncoincidentally struggled in losses to Iowa State and West Virginia. If he is scoring like a legitimate No. 2 option to Miles, TCU can keep up with a team like Kansas. Miller does much of his work closer to the basket. He and Lampkin will try to take advantage of a Jayhawks frontcourt that isn’t as loaded defensively as its backcourt.
Kevin McCullar has been a huge defensive addition and knows TCU well from his time at Texas Tech. The typically strong defense of McCullar and Dick against TCU guards Miles and Damion Baugh will be a deciding factor in this game.