Kansas Jayhawks: Will Big 12 Leaders Fall on the Road to TCU


Jan 7, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) drives to the basket on Baylor Bears guard Lester Medford (11) during the first half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

At least for the near future, every time the Kansas Jayhawks (16-3, 5-1) head to Fort Worth to play the TCU Horned Frogs, people will bring up the incident that occurred Feb. 5, 2013.

TCU shocked the country with a 62-55 victory over the fifth-ranked Jayhawks, prompting KU Head Coach Bill Self to compare the embarrassment to that of losing to the Topeka YMCA.

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It’s not happening this year.

TCU got off to a strong start this year, winning its first 13 games. Then it started playing with the big boys.

While they have been competitive in their Big 12 Conference games, the Horned Frogs have lost five of six, with the lone win against fellow bottom-feeder Texas Tech.

Here are some pre-games stats, along with best, worst, and most likely scenarios as the Jayhawks try to improve to a league-best 6-1.

What: Kansas Jayhawks @ TCU Horned Frogs

When: 8 p.m. CST, January 28, 2015 — Wilkerson-Greines Activity Complex, Fort Worth, Texas

Line: KU -3.5

Team Leaders

Kansas (16-3, 5-1)

PointsPerry Ellis (12.8);  Frank Mason, III (12.7)

ReboundsPerry Ellis (6.6); Cliff Alexander (6.0)

AssistsFrank Mason, III (4.2);  Wayne Selden, Jr. (3.1)

StealsFrank Mason, III (1.3);  Kelly Oubre, Jr. (1.1)

BlocksCliff Alexander (1.4); Jamari Traylor (1.3)

TCU (14-5, 1-5)

Points:  Kyan Anderson (13.7); Trey Zeigler (8.7)

Rebounds: Kenrich Williams (6.6); Karviar Shepherd (6.2)

AssistsKyan Anderson (3.9); Trey Zeigler (2.3)

StealsKyan Anderson (1.4); Chris Washburn (1.0)

BlocksChris Washburn (1.5); Kenrich Williams  (1.1)

Best-Case Scenario: The Jayhawks come out flying with high-energy from Jamari Traylor and Frank Mason III.

The Horned Frogs’ crowd is silenced early on, as the up-tempo play from Traylor, and Mason, lead to early, fast-break points, and open looks from behind the arc for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Brannen Greene.

TCU is usually good at shutting down opponents threes, allowing only 22 makes in 87 attempts during conference play.

However, the Jayhawks are the conference’s leading 3-point shooting team, and when Greene can spot up, and elevate, it doesn’t matter who is guarding him.

The team effort leads to an early 14-1 run, and the Jayhawks jump ahead, 20-6, and never look back.

Cliff Alexander comes off the bench for his second double-double in three games, as KU wins easily, 88-60.

Worst-Case Scenario: That 3-point defense mentioned earlier, it’s for real.

The Jayhawks can’t get out on the break, and begin forcing threes — something they have been known to do.

The Jayhawks repeat that fateful Feb. 2013 shooting performance, hitting 3-22 from behind the arc.

Even though they eventually begin feeding the ball to Alexander in the post, TCU has hit some big (home court) shots, and takes a one-point lead at half.

Kyan Anderson continues his hot play (15 points, 3 assists per game the past four), and feeds off the crowd, which the Jayhawks have not been able to quiet.

In a one possession game late, Anderson drives, drawing a double-team, and dishes off to Chris Washburn for the game-winning layup.

The Horned Frogs pull off an eerily similar to 2013 victory, 62-61, and the fans happily do exactly what they are doing in the video below.

Most Likely Scenario: With the way the road has been for Big 12 teams this year, there aren’t going to be many 25-plus blowouts by visiting teams.

Could Kansas do it? Sure. But it’s not likely.

What is likely however, is a victory. There won’t be a crowd of people at half court celebrating a win. That is, unless the well-traveled Jayhawk faithful come down to congratulate their team.

There seems to be a different Jayhawk leader every night, but watch for more emergence from Alexander.

TCU doesn’t have the length of Texas — a team Big Cliff registered 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench against Saturday.

He should get his share of dunks against the Horned Frogs, which will open up the perimeter for Mason III and Oubre, Jr.

Look for all three to be in double-digits, and for Devonte’ Graham to add another four assists and zero turnovers.

Perry Ellis will put up another workman-like performance of 12 points and seven rebounds, while Greene hits a 3-pointer, or two, for good measure.

The Jayhawks jump out to an early 15-7 lead, and are up by 17 at half. TCU makes a late run, but Kansas holds strong, winning 77-60  and you see something that looks a whole lot more like this video.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Mid-Season Basketball Award

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