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Kansas Jayhawks vs. TCU Horned Frogs Predictions, Picks and Preview – Big 12 Championship – March 12, 2015

Kansas Jayhawks vs. TCU Horned Frogs Predictions, Picks and Preview – Big 12 Championship – March 12, 2015

What’s with this time of year that brings out the issues with Kansas’ big men? Last year, it was Joel Embiid and his foot injury which never healed. This time around, not only is Cliff Alexander’s status very much in the air due to eligibility concerns, but main man Perry Ellis is also doubtful for their Big 12 tournament opener against TCU due to injury.

Can the Horned Frogs capitalize and knock the top-seeded but potentially shorthanded Jayhawks out of the Big 12 tourney? Read on below for our preview of this quarterfinal.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2-seed Iowa State takes on Texas for a spot in the semifinal. Check out our preview of that big-time battle here.

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Kansas Jayhawks vs. TCU Horned Frogs Preview

Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City

When: Thursday, March 12, 2:30 PM ET

Line: Kansas Jayhawks vs. TCU Horned Frogs – view all NCAA Basketball lines

Betting on the Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks face the unfortunate but increasingly likely possibility that two of their top big men, Cliff Alexander and Perry Ellis, will be unable to play against TCU. Alexander has missed the last three games due to an ongoing NCAA investigation, which may keep him out for the entire tournament.

[sc:NCAAB240banner ]Meanwhile, Ellis is still recovering from the sprained knee that knocked him out of the second half of the West Virginia game, as well as the Jayhawks’ tough 75-73 loss to Oklahoma in their Big 12 regular season finale.

Even with Ellis, Kansas struggled mightily in the first half against a West Virginia team that was missing its leading scorer. The Jayhawks eventually rallied to win, 76-69, in overtime. However, they weren’t so lucky against Oklahoma, who emerged victorious through a dramatic buzzer beating tip-in.

With Ellis, the team’s leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, out of action, Frank Mason III has stepped up capably to fill the scoring shoes. Mason scored 40 points in those two games, and made 20-of-21 free throws.

If Ellis is still unable to go, the Jayhawks will lean on Mason to lead their offense. Mason averaged 15 points in the two games over TCU during the regular season. Oddly enough, though, Kansas is just 1-3 in conference play when Mason scores 18 or more points.

Meanwhile, Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas have each come up with big games in the absence of Ellis and Alexander. Traylor is averaging 13 points and 5.5 rebounds in his last two starts, while Lucas had 13 points and 12 rebounds after taking Ellis’ starting spot against Oklahoma.

Betting on the TCU Horned Frogs

TCU Basketball vs UNCO

TCU finally turned its improved late-season play into an actual win as it took down Kansas State, 67-65, in the first round on Wednesday. The Horned Frogs had lost their last three regular season games and four of their last seven, but they went 5-2 against the spread.

Chris Washburn was the unlikely hero with 16 points, his second-highest scoring output of the season. Their two leading scorers, Kyan Anderson (13.6 points per game) and Trey Zeigler (9.6 points per game) added 16 and 15 points, respectively.

Anderson and Zeigler have been the catalysts to the Frogs’ much-improved play. The two have combined for 32 points per game over their last six games, a stretch which all began with their 81-72 loss at Kansas on Feb. 21. They also fought Kansas close at home in a 64-61 loss on Jan. 28.

TCU hasn’t shot the ball particularly well against Kansas. The Horned Frogs’ field goal shooting was over 15 percentage points worse than the Jayhawks’ in both regular season meetings. But TCU has been able to keep things close by winning the rebounding battle on both occasions (50-40 and 33-29), especially on the offensive glass (24-9 and 12-5). This has led to 31 more field goal attempts for the Frogs over the two games.

They could gain an even tighter stranglehold on the boards with Ellis and Alexander, the Jayhawks’ two leading rebounders, likely out of their quarterfinal clash.

Writer’s Prediction

Mason leads Kansas to a gutsy win, but TCU maintains enough control of the boards to cover the spread. Create a betting account now and win big with the Big 12’s worthy underdogs all throughout Championship Week.

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Brad
Written by Brad

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