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Second Third Chance Points: Kansas State Wildcats

TCU and Kansas State face off once again, this time in the First Round of the Big 12 Tournament. What did the Frogs learn from the regular season series with the Wildcats that will produce a win in Kansas City?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU and Kansas State will open the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday in the first game of the opening round. The two teams split the season series this year, with the home team winning each contest. The Wildcats defeated the Frogs 58-53 in Manhattan in early January, then TCU extracted revenge on Kansas State in Fort Worth, beating the ‘Cats 69-55 in mid-February. One theme emerged in the two games between the Big 12's purple clad rivals - when these two teams get together, things usually get ugly.

In the first meeting, both teams failed to top 60 points, with the Frogs and Wildcats both shooting under 42% from the field. It was a foul-filled, disjoined contest that featured scoring runs and droughts by both teams. Kansas State was able to create some separation in the first half, eventually burying the Frogs late in the game.

In the second meeting, Kansas State had a dismal first half. The Wildcats managed just 15 points on 4/25 shooting from the field - that's 16.0%, the lowest recorded shooting half in Kansas State basketball history. The Frogs built a 20-point halftime lead, preventing the Wildcats from doing any damage in the second half.

KSU Game Flow 2

Start Fast

TCU's hot start in the second meeting eventually allowed the Frogs to walk away with a double-digit win. The Frogs shot 14/22 in the first half, which equates to a blistering 63.6%. The TCU defense held Kansas State without a field goal for the final 9:42 of the first half. At the break, the Frogs had a 35-15 lead over Kansas State that proved to be insurmountable. Another hot start in Kansas City could put TCU on the fast track toward advancing to the Quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.

First Half Dominance

TCU

KSU

Points

35

15

FG Percentage

63.6%

16.0%

FT Percentage

50.0%

75.0%

3-pt Percentage

50.0%

20.0%

Rebounds

18

13

Assists

11

2

Blocks

5

2

Points in the Paint

20

6

Both teams enter Wednesday's game with a bit of a confidence slump. After winning three of five in late February, the Frogs have dropped their last three in a row. However, the Frogs have remained competitive in these three contests. In their most recent outing against Iowa State, TCU led at the half, then dropped 44 second half points on 53.3% shooting. The Iowa State offense was too much for TCU to handle, scoring 63 second half points of their own, en route to an 89-72 victory. The good news for TCU is that Kansas State's offense is nowhere near as lethal as Iowa State's.

After big upset wins over #9 Kansas and #12 Iowa State, the Wildcats were in 6th place in the Big 12 with just one game remaining. However, the ‘Cats fell to the Longhorns in Austin last weekend, slipping into the 8-slot. The drop must be a confidence blow to a team that was looking to earn a bye into the Quarterfinals. An early start for TCU could further dampen the Wildcats' confidence.

Kitty's Cohesiveness Concerns

Kansas State enters Wednesday's game facing some personnel issues.  Sophomore point guard Jevon Thomas did not travel with the team to Austin on Saturday for undisclosed reasons. After the game, head coach Bruce Weber dismissed Thomas from the team. Rumors swirled as to the reason why, then after other players were rumored of wanting out, Weber reinstated Thomas earlier this week. The turmoil within the program has some questioning the leadership of Weber.

Marcus Foster has also faced his fair share of disciplinary issues this season. The talented sophomore guard has been removed from the starting lineup twice this season due to performance issues. He was also suspended for three games in early February for an unknown violation of team rules. Foster has since returned to the starting lineup, scoring 27 points in his last three games. Nino Williams also missed the Wildcats' season finale for undisclosed personal reasons. Williams has rejoined the team and is expected to play on Wednesday. The Wildcats are certainly facing some off-the-court issues. A distracted K-State team could potentially play into the hands of the Horned Frogs.

Keep Attacking the Paint

In the two meetings between the schools, 66 of the Frogs' 122 points scored against Kansas State have come in the paint. TCU really excelled at working the ball inside and creating scoring opportunities in the second meeting. Three of TCU's big men - Chris Washburn, Karviar Shepherd, and Kenrich Williams - were able to dominate down low, combining for 40 of the Frogs' 69 points. These three will have to recreate that effort tomorrow night if the Frogs are to knock off Kansas State once again.

Bench Play

The TCU bench has been rather inconsistent as of late. The starters have all pulled their own weight, but contributions off the bench will pay dividends for the Frogs. Amric Fields and Brandon Parrish have been the main contributors off the bench, combining to score 41 points over the last three games. If the Frogs are to knock off Kansas State, they will need Fields and Parrish to step up. Both players can hit deep shots, but they're going to have to prove it on Wednesday night. Speaking of deep shots, Chauncey Collins is another body off the bench that will need to contribute for the Frogs' to have success in Kansas City. Collins has struggled as of late, scoring just five total points in his last five games. The TCU bench will likely have to contribute if the Frogs are to advance to the Quarterfinals.

Bench Production

Get Hot, Stay Hot

Finally, this is March. Right now, everybody is 0-0. Any team is capable of putting together a late season-run, just ask the UConn Huskies. The Frogs have competed in nearly every Big 12 game this season and have proven that they can hang with just about anybody. The Frogs' offense has really picked up as of late, averaging just under 70 points per game over the last seven. TCU has also exceeded its Big 12 field goal shooting average for the last seven consecutive games. If the Frogs can build on this improved offense, keep their confidence high, and limit mistakes, the ceiling is the limit for this TCU team.

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The Frogs have proven that they can beat Kansas State. With a continued focus on offensive efficiency and limited mistakes, TCU could very well win their first Big 12 Tournament game in program history on Wednesday night.