NCAA Basketball Picks: TCU vs. Kansas

Darin Zank

Saturday, February 21, 2015 2:09 PM GMT

Opposite ends of the Big 12 spectrum meet when first-place Kansas hosts ninth-place TCU Saturday afternoon. We missed with a pick on the Jayhawks earlier this week; do we stay with them for today, or bail?

Frogs-Jayhawks Betting Odds
Most books we checked with opened Kansas at -12 for Saturday's game, then bumped the Jayhawks to -12.5 in the early betting.


Frogs-Jayhawks: Breakdown
Kansas started 11-2 this season playing a pretty decent non-conference schedule, losing to Kentucky, beating the likes of Michigan State, Georgetown and Utah. The Jayhawks then won 10 of their first 12 Big 12 games, going 6-0 SU, 5-0-1 ATS at home. Monday night, though, much to our dismay, the Jayhawks lost at West Virginia 62-61 on a full-court sprint and lay-in with waning seconds, then missing their own lay-up at the other end at the buzzer.

Kansas shot 49 percent from the field Monday, and held the Mountaineers to just 38 percent shooting, but allowed West Virginia to grab 20 offensive rebounds, leading to a bunch of second-chance points.

Just before that the Jayhawks beat Baylor 74-64, covering at -7, and just before that they beat Texas Tech 73-51, covering at -11 on the road.

At 21-5 overall and 10-3 in conference play Kansas leads the Big 12 now by just a game over second-place Iowa State. Bigger-picture, the Jayhawks remain in the running for a top-two seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

TCU started 13-0 this season, beating three other major conference foes in Washington State, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. But then the Big 12 season began, and the schedule got a little tougher, and the Frogs lost 10 of their first 11 league contests, beating only lowly Texas Tech. TCU woke up and showed some life last week, beating a ranked Oklahoma State team 70-55, then Wednesday topping Kansas State 69-55.

After shooting the ball so poorly during a recent seven-game losing streak the Frogs shot 52 percent from the floor against the Cowboys and 54 percent against the Wildcats.

TCU led by 20 at the half Wednesday, let K State get within six with about 10 minutes to go, then closed out a second-straight victory and cover.

Despite their tough go in the Big 12 the Frogs can't be too discouraged; at 16-10 overall and 3-10 in conference play TCU has a chance to finish above .500, after going 9-22 last year, and it's got three more league victories than it did last season, after going 0-18.


Frogs-Jayhawks Recent History
Kansas took the first meeting between these teams this season three weeks ago in Fort Worth 64-61. The Jayhawks led that game by double-digits early, but TCU rallied to take the lead early in the second half. Kansas then used a 12-0 run to take a nine-point lead, but never did put the Frogs away. In the end TCU hung on for the cover as a four-point home dog on the posted NCAA basketball betting odds.

Kansas shot 46 percent from the floor that game, but committed 14 turnovers. The Frogs didn't help themselves by shooting just 31 percent from the floor and going 15/29 from the FT line.

That game played UNDER its total of 136.

Last season KU swept two games from TCU by scores of 91-69 and 95-65, covering at -14 and -23.


Frogs-Jayhawks By the Numbers
TCU is shooting 44 percent from the floor this season, 33 percent from 3-point range and a dismal 60 percent from the FT line. At the other end of the court the Frogs are holding opponents to just 38 percent FG shooting, and that ranks in the top 25 in the country.

Kansas is shooting 45 percent from the floor, 41 percent from 3-point range, which ranks in the top 10 in the country, and 71 percent from the line, while holding foes to 39.5 percent FG shooting.


Betting Trends
Kansas has won 21 home games in a row, going 13-4-2 ATS over that span.

TCU is 7-10 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Frogs games have averaged 128 points.

Kansas is 12-11 on the totals, as Jayhawks games have averaged 136 points.


Frogs-Jayhawks Free Pick
Normally we might say the home team is favored by a bit too much in this spot, and go with the underdog plus the points, but actually it looks like Kansas' loss earlier this week, and TCU's two recent victories, have kept this spread within reason. The Jayhawks are the much better team in this match-up, and can't afford a mis-step at this point, if they want to win the Big 12 and earn a good seed for the Dance. We like Rock Chalk for the victory with room enough for the cover. Add Kansas to your college basketball picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: Kansas -12 at Bookmaker