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Bunnell’s Bounces: Riff Ram > Rock Chalk

TCU sits as 6-point underdogs heading into tonight’s matchup against #6 Kansas.

NCAA Basketball: North Dakota State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU Basketball started 2021 the right way by picking up a W in an ever-so-important Big 12 road game against Kansas State.

The Horned Frogs closed as -4 point favorites against K-State and after a roller coaster of events they eventually covered, winning 67-60. A combined score of 127 was just 4.5 points away from hitting the over for the fifth time in the last seven TCU games; the Frogs have now hit two consecutive unders.

The first half was dominated by TCU, at one point the Frogs were winning by as much as 16, but the Wildcats just wouldn’t go away. With just 0:44 seconds left, K-State had brought the game within three and were at that point 56% favorites to cover the spread. Thankfully, the Frogs made a few late-game free throws (for once) to seal the deal.

A conference win is a conference win nonetheless, but if I recall correctly, this was the same Kansas State team that lost to Fort Hays State by double digits on their home court. Truthfully this has nothing to do with anything, I just really wanted to mention that K-State lost to Fort Hays State at home.

The Frogs have now won five straight games, but the path to six in a row is going to be tough considering the 6th ranked Kansas Jayhawks are coming to the Scholly.

Kansas has looked solid all season until some unworldly fluke of a game transpired at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks were handed their worst home loss in program history against Texas (84-59) this past Saturday which can mean one of two things from my perspective: 1. Kansas is going to be motivated after being embarrassed on national television and come out guns ablaze. 2. This will be the start of a slump for the Jayhawks which would be great for TCU.

Basically what I’m saying is that Kansas is either going to beat TCU convincingly by 15+ or the Frogs are going to pull off a miraculous top-10 upset. I don’t see any grey area for this matchup.

As excited as I am for a top-10 team to come to Fort Worth, I’m equally as nervous. Let’s see where the oddsmakers have the lines set for TCU’s first home game of 2021:

TCU vs #6 Kansas

  • Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: KU -6, TCU +6
  • Over/Under: 138
  • Money Line: KU -265, TCU +215

My Pick: TCU +6, Pass on O/U

It’s tough not to sound like a homer when picking your home team, but there is plenty of value in this line for the Frogs tonight.

The Jayhawks’ last game against Texas exposed some real issues for Bill Self’s squad. For example, Kansas is shooting 45% from 2-point range thus far compared to 54.9% last season. They also shot a whopping 3-of-23 from 3-point land (13%) which is awful compared to their season average of 37%.

Good news for the Frogs is that they are currently allowing opponents just 28.2% shooting from deep. Hopefully this is a trend that continues for KU tonight.

Kansas will be without freshman guard Bryce Thompson for tonight as he is sidelined with a back injury. Also on the injury list is arguably the Jayhawks best player, Marcus Garrett, who has been day-to-day ever since taking an elbow to the head against Texas. Garrett did not practice leading up to tonight’s matchup though he is currently listed as questionable.

Not having Bryce Thompson in the lineup clearly affected KU the last time out, and not having Garrett would be an even bigger dent in Bill Self’s scheme. Even if Garrett suits up tonight, I expect his minutes to be limited until he is back to 100%.

A relatively depleted Kansas squad opens up major opportunities for TCU’s offense led by RJ Nembhard and Mike Miles. The two guards are currently accounting for an impressive 55% of the Horned Frogs’ offense and are nearly impossible to defend.

Considering the potential defensive woes for KU tonight, the Frogs should be able to keep things close, if not pull off the upset.

Moving on to some games outside of Fort Worth, I have put together my three best bets for today’s college basketball slate. I had a rough go last time out which brought me to a 15-10-1 record on the year.

We can only go up from here.

Pick 1: Longwood -0.5 vs USC Upstate

  • Tip-off: 5:00 p.m. CST

Why: Here we have one of my favorite situational spots on the board. These teams played each other just last night with USCU winning by two. Last time Longwood played in back-to-back games was against UNCA. The Lancers lost the first matchup by seven then turned right around for a 10-point win the next day. These teams sit in possibly the lowest tier in college basketball which in my opinion makes this matchup even more fun/exciting. Back the Lancers to bounce back tonight.

Pick 2: Rutgers +2.5 vs Michigan St.

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST

Why: This is the best basketball team Rutgers has had for as long as I’ve been alive, and I think they are undervalued tonight against Sparty. The Scarlet Knights are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games including a win over Illinois and a close 2-point loss to Iowa, meanwhile Michigan State is 0-5 ATS in their last five. Rutgers has battled through some adversity to get to 7-2 overall. Senior guard Geo Baker, leading scorer Ron Harper Jr. (22.1 PPG), and 6’11 center Cliff Omoruyi have all missed time since Dec. 20, yet Rutgers has maintained a top-20 ranking. The Scarlet Knights should be back to full strength tonight. Rutgers ranks 17th nationally in offensive efficiency and 28th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Personally, I think Rutgers can beat Sparty outright for the first time in the Steve Pikiell era but I’m taking the spread for that slight 2-point cushion.

Pick 3: Alabama -3 vs Florida

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST

Why: Alabama pulled off quite the upset their last time out beating Tennessee 71-63 despite being +10.5 point underdogs. That was right after a dominant 18-point win against conference opponent Ole Miss. Florida is a great team, but seeing the Crimson Tide beat Tennessee on the road like that was all I needed to be convinced Bama is the move tonight. Roll Tide.

The comment section is open! What are your favorite picks today? Do you think TCU will cover the +6 point spread against Kansas? Will the over or under hit in today’s game? Let us know!