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Second Chance Points: Kansas State Wildcats

The first time TCU and Kansas State met, the Wildcats walked away with an ugly 58-53 win in Manhattan. What can the Frogs learn from that early January trip?

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

One of the elements that the Big 12 Conference prides itself on is its competition format - in Big 12 basketball, each team plays every other team at home and on the road. The league boasts that this double round robin format is the most successful way to determine "One True Champion." This gives each team the opportunity to make corrections and adjustments before the second matchup in the season series.

Way back on January 7, the TCU Horned Frogs traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to face the Kansas State Wildcats. Both teams entered the game 0-1 in Big 12 play, looking to find their identity early in conference play. Instead, the Frogs and Wildcats played 40 minutes of painfully ugly basketball that ultimately ended in a 58-53 win for the ‘Cats.

U-G-L-Y, You Ain't Got No Alibi

TCU

KSU

Points

53

58

FG %

41.3%

38.1%

3-pt FG%

11.1%

40.0%

FT %

58.3%

75.9%

Rebounds

27

33

Fouls

23

21

Turnovers

14

15

TCU and Kansas State meet again tomorrow night here in Fort Worth, with the Frogs looking to extract revenge on the Wildcats in order to start the program's first-ever Big 12 winning streak. A big determining factor in the game will no doubt be whether or not the Frogs can continue the offensive success that they had in Saturday's upset of #21 Oklahoma State. In addition to continuing that success, the Frogs are going to have to improve upon several elements that were lacking in the first matchup with the Big 12's other purple-clad team.

Go with the Flow

The first game between TCU and Kansas State was ugly. Fouls, turnovers, and cold offenses led to a disjointed contest that featured many runs by both teams. The Frogs had several scoring droughts of four, five, even six minutes in length that ultimately led to their demise. The first big drought came at the very beginning of the game. TCU started 0/4 from the field, scoreless through the first 4:12. A portion of this slow start can be attributed to the nerves that accompany the first road conference game of the season. But after an 8-0 run to capture an 8-7 lead in the game (TCU's only lead in the contest), the Frogs followed up with droughts of 3:58 and 4:22. These droughts led to 19 first-half points on just five made field goals.

Kansas State opened the second half with 10 points in the first 3:31. However, the Frogs started 6/7 from the field, cutting the deficit to 36-33 about halfway through the frame. But alas, another long scoring drought would bury the Frogs.

Game of Runs

First Half

Time

Points

FGM/FGA

Turnovers

20:00-15:49

0

0/4

3

15:49-14:07

8

3/3

0

14:07-10:08

0

0/4

2

10:08-9:37

4

2/2

0

9:37-5:14

0

0/3

2

5:14-0:00

7

2/5

4

Second Half

Time

Points

FGM/FGA

Turnovers

20:00-11:24

14

6/7

2

11:24-6:27

0

0/5

0

6:27-0:00

20

6/12

1

The Frogs will likely be riding a confidence boost after Saturday's win, so it will be crucial for TCU to score early and often. The Frogs can't afford another slow start that could potentially undermine the progress made this past weekend. Look for the Frogs to be aggressive on the offensive end in the first half tomorrow night.

Avoid Foul Trouble

One of the factors that led to the disjointedness of the first meeting was foul trouble. The Frogs and Wildcats combined to commit 44 fouls and shoot 53 free throws in the game. For TCU, a big problem was the early foul trouble of Karviar Shepherd. The sophomore center picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the first half, resulting in his benching for the remainder of the frame. Shepherd then picked up his third foul just seconds into the second half. He would finish the game with three points in just nine minutes on the floor. For the Frogs to win tomorrow, he will need to provide consistent minutes that aren't disrupted by foul trouble.

Brandon Parrish, Kyan Anderson and Amric Fields each picked up three fouls of their own, again leading to inconsistent playing time and a lack of production, especially on the offensive end. Kenrich Williams fouled out of the contest, playing 29 minutes off the bench. The Frogs must avoid foul trouble in order to create offensive rhythm tomorrow night.

Attack the Paint

In Manhattan, the Frogs went to work in the paint. TCU shot nearly 60% in the lane, including going 10/10 from within six feet of the basket in the second-half. The Frogs have struggled heavily with hitting close-range shots in their previous few games, so the success that occurred in the first matchup must carry over into Wednesday night's game if TCU is to knock off the Wildcats for the first time since 1999.

One of the keys to victory will be whether or not the Frogs can dominate inside the paint again tomorrow night. It will be important for TCU to not only beat up Kansas State inside, but also connect on close-range shots. The Frogs proved that they can win without scoring three-pointers (see Saturday's game...), but the inside scoring needs to be enough to supplement a lack of production outside.

KSU Shot Chart

The Curious Case of Marcus Foster

In the January meeting between these teams, Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber benched his star sophomore guard Marcus Foster, reportedly because of Foster's lack of production and attitude problems. In the two games immediately preceding the first game against TCU (losses to Georgia and Oklahoma State), Foster combined to score just two points on 1/9 shooting from the field in 38 minutes of action. Against the Frogs, Foster came off the bench and lit up the TCU defense, scoring 23 points on 5/11 shooting in 29 minutes. The message that Weber intended to send was apparently received loud and clear. Foster scored in double-figures in the Wildcats' next seven games, averaging about 15 points per game in that span.

However, on February 4, Foster was hit with a three-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules. His first game back was Saturday, a contest in which he scored 19 points to lead K-State to a 59-56 upset win over #17 Oklahoma. Foster came off the bench in that game and recorded 25 minutes of playing time. It is probable that Foster returns to the Kansas State starting lineup on Wednesday night, so it will be crucial for the Frogs to contain him in the rematch. Foster leads the Wildcats with 14.0 points per game, shooting over 40% from the field. TCU will have to prevent another big performance from Foster if they look to beat the ‘Cats in the rematch.

About that last 1:00...

Many fans of college basketball, both diehard and fair-weather, often complain that the last few minutes of games take way too long. This was definitely the case in Manhattan. The last 1:00 of game play took 16:15 of real time and featured an injury, a clock review, three team timeouts, nine fouls, 15 free throw attempts, and 20 points. Nearly 20% of the total points scored in the game came in the last 1:00 of play, with most of them coming from the free throw line. Let's hope that TCU is up by enough that late-game fouling won't come into play...

KSU Game Flow

---

The Frogs have a good shot to win back-to-back Big 12 games for the first time in the program's history on Wednesday night. TCU wasn't able to get into an offensive rhythm in the first meeting in Manhattan. However, the Frogs dominated Oklahoma State in the second half on Saturday and some of that will likely carry over into tomorrow's game. It will be important for TCU to ride the high that accompanied their upset win over the Pokes and score early against the Wildcats. With some minor adjustments to accompany the strides made last weekend, the Frogs could (and maybe should?) extract revenge on the Wildcats tomorrow night.