After a bad home loss to Oklahoma State that led to Bill Self calling his guys out, everything suddenly seems a little uneasy in Lawrence.
A week ago, the Big 12 title seemed to be headed back to Lawrence for a 14th consecutive season, but with one bad loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday the Jayhawks are suddenly in the thick of a battle for first place in the league.
About TCU: TCU came into conference play as one of the stories of college basketball, as they rose to as high as No. 10 in the polls and entered Big 12 play undefeated. The Big 12 gauntlet has caught up to Jamie Dixon’s squad, as they are just 4-6 in league play. None of their losses have been blowouts, though. Two of them were in OT and five of them have been by five points or less. They did have one inexplicable loss to 8-15 Vanderbilt in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. TCU is a much better team than their 4-6 Big 12 record indicates. Expect another close one on Tuesday night.
Game Info and Notes:
- Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 8:00 pm CT
- Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
- ESPN2 or WatchESPN App
- Kansas leads the all-time series 15-2
- Kansas is 81-11 following a loss in the Bill Self era, which began in 2003- 04. Since 2013-14, KU is 31-3 following a loss.
- There is a logjam at the top of the Big 12 standings. Kansas and Texas Tech are tied for first in the conference race with 7-3 league records, while West Virginia and Oklahoma are one game back at 6-4.
- Kansas ranks ninth nationally in the RPI and is third in strength of schedule (through games of Feb. 3).
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.8-plus steals and fewer than 3.0
- Redshirt-sophomore G Malik Newman is averaging 17.6 points in his last five games and has boosted his season average to 12.1 ppg.
- With his 17 points against Oklahoma State (2/3), senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk became the 60th player in Kansas history to score 1,000 points for his career. This year Mykhailiuk is shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point range. That figure ranks him second in the Big 12 and 13th in the NCAA (among those that average 2.5 or more makes per game). Mykhailiuk’s 3.5 3-pointers made per game are ninth nationally.
Horned Frogs to Watch
Vladimir Brodziansky – 6’11″ senior, forward
Brodziansky had a nice game against the Jayhawks in the initial meeting back in early January. In that matchup he went for 20 points, five rebounds and was perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line. Brodziansky is a little like Dean Wade from Kansas State in that he can play inside and out. Kansas doesn’t really have anyone to guard a guy like Brodziansky, so you can probably pencil him for 15-20 points.
Kenrich Williams – 6’7″ senior, forward
He did record a double-double in the first game between these two squads, but his impact on the game was pretty small. He was 3-7 from the field and 1-5 from beyond the arc. Kansas has always done a great job of limiting Williams over his career, as he’s only averaging 10.5 PPG in seven career games against KU. The biggest game he’s had against the Jayhawks was TCU’s win over KU in the Big 12 tournament last season when he scored 18 points. TCU is a better basketball team when Williams is playing well.
Desmond Bane – 6’5″ sophomore, guard
Bane has had to shoulder a bigger load since the injury to Jaylen Fisher. Over his last four games he’s averaging 13 points, including a 15 point output in an upset win over West Virginia. He’s also a threat from the outside, as he leads the team shooting 47% from the outside. Bane had 13 in the initial matchup with the Jayhawks
Kansas 76 – TCU 70
Under Bill Self, the Jayhawks have been very good coming off a loss. I feel you’ll see some inspired play out of the Jayhawks in this one.
After the loss to OSU on Saturday, I can’t express this enough…Svi Mykhailiuk is the x-factor and needs to score the ball. If you look at KU’s losses this year (outside of the Oklahoma game), Svi has either been held in check or has had long stretches of doing nothing. Kansas needs him to shoot the ball well, because when he plays well Kansas is a much much better team.
I also like coach Self’s move to start Mitch Lightfoot. He definitely deserves it. He plays his tail off every time he’s in the game. Hopefully he can give the Jayhawks some much needed energy to start this one. Also, Self needs to do something to light a fire underneath Lagareld Vick, so hopefully this is it.