The Best Team in Big 12 Might Not Be Kansas … but TCU?

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:37 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 3:37 PM UTC

The Big 12 Conference has been utterly dominated for years by Kansas, but it’s quite possible that TCU ends KU’s streak of regular-season titles this season.

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One of the most impressive feats in college basketball history is still ongoing. That’s Kansas winning an incredible 13 straight Big 12 regular-season titles. The Jayhawks, who last didn’t win the Big 12 in 2004 (LeBron James was a rookie and Facebook had just launched), have done it all under Coach Bill Self. That mark ties UCLA’s record of 13 straight conference titles under John Wooden, Gene Bartow and Gary Cunningham from 1967-1979.

KU has another excellent team this year and is +1275 at 5Dimes to win the national championship. However, the Jayhawks have looked a bit vulnerable in non-conference play with home losses to Washington (technically in Kansas City) and Arizona State.

I believe Kansas’ Big 12 streak could end this year, and that the team to do it is TCU. I’m aware the Horned Frogs don’t have much of a basketball history. They have only made the NCAA Tournament seven times and not since 1998. They have never won more than one game in any Big Dance.

However, TCU made a spectacular hire before the 2016-17 season in Coach Jamie Dixon, a former TCU player. Pittsburgh stupidly pushed Dixon out, and the Frogs jumped at the chance. Dixon led TCU to a 24-15 record last year and the school’s first-ever NIT championship, crushing Georgia Tech 88-56 in the title game.

Thus, only two teams ended last season happy: the Frogs and North Carolina, the NCAA Tournament champion. Thanks to that NIT title run and a hot start to 2017-18, TCU currently has the longest winning streak in all of college basketball yet is still at +10000 long shot on the NCAA basketball futures odds to win a national title.

TCU returned its top six scorers from last season's team and all five starters. It's the first time Dixon has had a team with every starter returning from the year before. Since 1985, 58 percent of the teams that won the NIT made the NCAA Tournament the following season.

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The offense has been 🔥
Top 10 ranking in NCAA...
5️⃣ FG%: 53.1
7️⃣ Assists: 19.2/gm
8️⃣ 3FG%: 43.1#GoFrogs

— TCU Basketball (@TCUBasketball) December 12, 2017

In non-conference play, TCU has quality wins over New Mexico, St. Bonaventure, SMU, Yale and No. 22 Nevada. Do not bet against the Frogs if they are leading at the half or shoot 50 percent in a game. They are 30-2 when leading at the half under Dixon and 10-0 this year. TCU is 17-3 when shooting 50 percent or better under Dixon.

This is one of the best offensive teams in the nation, among the leaders in points, field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage and assists per game. The star is senior swingman Kenrich Williams, who not only leads the team in scoring (14.2 ppg) but rebounding (10.1 rpg) and steals (2.7 spg). Slovakian senior Vladimir Brodziansky is also an excellent player, ranking just behind Williams in scoring (13.3 ppg), among the national leaders in shooting (65.8 percent) and soon to set the school record in career blocked shots. Desmond Bane has made a huge jump as a sophomore and is among the best nationally in true shooting percentage and field goal efficiency.

The school record for consecutive games won is 16 set during the 1997-98 season. That’s going to fall on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary. The Frogs then open Big 12 play on Dec. 30 vs. Oklahoma, should win that and still be unbeaten then they visit ranked Baylor on Jan. 2. Then comes the home game of the year vs. Kansas on Jan. 6.

5Dimes also offers an ‘over/under’ prop on total Big 12 wins by TCU with it set at 10. The ‘under’ is a slight favorite. The Frogs were 6-12 in the conference last year, but if they run the table at home – which I think is very doable -- would need just two away wins to top 11 in the Big 12.

Free NCAAB Pick: Over 10 Big 12 WinsBest Line Offered: 5Dimes
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