Can the Frogs do it again?
We all remember what happened the first time TCU played Kansas this season. It may just have been the best win in program history. The Frogs took it to Lawrence, Allen Fieldhouse, and Kansas on Jan. 21, winning by 23 points in an 83-60 blowout.
Today, Monday, Feb. 20, the Frogs have the chance to sweep a Bill Self-coached team for only the second time in Self’s career, and are favored in Schollmaier by 1.5-points. Now that Mike Miles Jr. is back on the court and back to 100%, this team is surging, and is absolutely one of the best in college basketball.
The Frogs are coming off a 100-75 win against Oklahoma State on Saturday in which Miles made his return and made his impact obvious. Mike dropped 15 points in 35 minutes.
Though Saturday’s win was phenomenal - not all has been sunshine and rainbows in Fort Worth. TCU’s lost five of its last six, but again, Miles and Eddie Lampkin have missed all but the most recent contest. With Miles back to 100%, the Frogs scored 100-points against a defense that’s ranked 10th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Unfortunately - Kansas’ defense might match up better against the Frogs.
Defensively the Jayhawks are great at forcing turnovers and forcing teams into low-percentage looks from the perimeter. Kansas ranks 18th in the nation in steal percentage, which leads opponents to score only 45.3% of points off assists.
The Jayhawks will look to use this strong on-ball pressure against Miles and a TCU team that scores 59% of its points off assists, and who uses this ball movement to score 60.5% of its points from the interior. That’s the sixth-highest rate in the country.
Something’s gotta give. On top of all this, Kansas only allows opponents to score 50.2% of its points from 2-point range.
TCU has also seen success this season from second-chance opportunities, but again, it’s a bad matchup for the Frogs. TCU is 5th in the nation in second-chance conversion percentage, and brings down an offensive rebound on 32.4% of possessions. That’s a nuts stat.
But - Kansas ranks Top 60 in second-chance conversion percentage allowed, and gives up an offensive rebound on only 28.4% of possessions. If Lampkin can’t play tonight, or is limited, this is an area TCU could struggle in.
On the other bench, the Jayhawks look to stay tied with Texas at the top of the Big 12 standings, and hope for revenge after January’s horrific 23-point defeat. A Kansas team out for vengeance is always a little horrifying.
Since that loss, Kansas has won six of its past eight games, and four straight in conference. On Saturday, Kansas came back from a 40-23 first-half deficit to beat Baylor by 16(!)-points. The Jayhawks are a resilient bunch, and it’s clear the team has its sights set on a Big 12 regular season title, and back-to-back national championships.
One of the most balanced teams in college basketball, without the Jayhawks making mistakes it’s tough to find an edge. Kansas is top 15 in the country in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency.
Offensively, the Jayhawks have averaged 85 points in its past four games, most coming off assists. Kansas scores 60.9% of its points off an assist, the 14th-highest rate in the country, allowing the Jayhawks to get high-percentage looks on the interior, where the team scores 54.7% of its points.
But - Kansas could see itself having trouble against a TCU defense which excels in the interior, and is one of the best rim protecting teams in the nation. The Frogs’ 12.7% block percentage ranks 28th in the country.
And - the ability to block at the rim has turned TCU into a stellar defensive team. The Frogs only allow opponents to score on 53.85% of layups, dunks, and tip-ins (near-proximity field goal percentage), which ranks 37th in the nation.
Much of that is due to center Eddie Lampkin, who recently called himself “the best defender in the country”, and who’s rim protection has shown to be beyond valuable for the Frogs. He played 14 minutes in the win against Oklahoma State, but had been hindered with injuries before that; Lampkin’s only played 62 minutes in the Frogs’ last eight games.
As Lampkin’s 6’11, and Kansas’ tallest player is only 6’8, tonight’s game could be a perfect matchup for Eddie - if he’s 100%.
If Lampkin is limited, Kansas could see itself having success underneath the rim, and on the offensive end.
Tonight’s contest hinges on Eddie Lampkin. If he plays his usual 25 minutes, and looks 100%, TCU will be in a great spot, and would win this game.
His rim protection and defensive presence in the interior will be so valuable against a small, guard-heavy Kansas team.
Unfortunately, he’s just getting back on the court in full for the first time in eight games, and just played two days ago. Fatigue could set in, especially against Jalen Wilson, one of the Big 12’s best players. We all love Eddie - but tonight’s game could be asking a lot of him.
If the Frogs pull this out, credit to Eddie Lampkin for being one of the most valuable centers in the country.
Besides Lampkin - the Mike Miles-DaJuan Harris matchup will be intriguing to watch, and I’d bet Miles gets the better of him… but will it amount to a victory? Can the Frogs limit Kansas’ 3-point shooting?
It’s so, so hard to beat a Bill Self-coached team twice in one season. The talent around him is so good, and his schemes/adjustments are so well put-together, that beating him twice is almost impossible.
Schollmaier will be rocking - and a new student attendance record could be broken tonight, but I don’t think the environment will be enough for the Frogs to finish the sweep of Kansas.
The Jayhawks steal one on the road just as the Frogs stole one in Lawrence.
Kansas 75, TCU 71