Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #14 TCU vs. #2 Kansas (1/21/2023) - Taking Vegas

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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #14 TCU vs. #2 Kansas (1/21/2023)

By Michael Savio
January 20, 2023

#14 TCU Horned Frogs vs #2 Kansas Jayhawks (1/21 @ 1:00 PM EST)

Spread: Kansas -8.5
Money Line: TCU +310 / Kansas -400
Total: 145.5

Overview and Betting Info

The #14 TCU Horned Frogs (14-4) will head to Lawrence to take on the #2 Kansas Jayhawks (16-2). This will be their first matchup between these Big 12 rivals. Kansas is 3-3 in conference play, while Kansas is 5-1.

TCU is 10-7 against the spread this season and has covered three of their four road games this season. They have gone over the total eleven times, including in three of their four road games.

Kansas is 7-11 versus the spread but has only covered three of their 12 games. They have gone over the total ten times, seven of which came at home.

TCU Horned Frogs

The Frogs are coming in losers of three of their last four, but their lone win was an impressive blowout of then #11 Kansas State. The losses included heartbreakers against Iowa State and Texas. They followed those losses with the win over the Wildcats but followed it with a loss to an average West Virginia team earlier in the week. The Frogs are in the middle of the pack for most of the major categories in the Big 12, scoring 77.3 (5th in Big 12) and allowing 65.2 points (5th) per game.

TCU is led by Mike Miles Jr (19.1 PPG, 1.5 SPG) and Emanual Miller (14.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG). Miles is their top scorer and is shooting 53% from the field. However, he only makes 28.8% of his three-point attempts and averages three turnovers a game. He’s been over 20 points in four of his last seven games, including 33 in a big road game against Baylor. Miller has been a beast down low for the Frogs and has been fantastic on the defense of late, with five steals in their last game alone. While he doesn’t shoot too many threes, he has made 48% of his attempts on the season. While Miller only scored 13 in this week’s loss, he scored over 20 points in their two previous games against ranked teams. He and Miles have played well in their big games, so expect to see them both be active on Saturday.

Damion Baugh is the best of TCU’s role players, averaging 12.3 PPG and 1.1 BPG in just 12 games this season. He’s been terrible from three recently, making just four of his last 17 attempts (23%). Along with Baugh are Chuck O’Bannon Jr (7.8 PPG, 1.1 BPG) and Eddie Lampkin Jr (7.7 PPG, 7 RPG). Bannon leads the team in blocks and three-point attempts, making him an essential player for the Frogs. Lampkin is their big center that has been crashing the boards and has 60 offensive boards compared to 59 on defense. His ability to generate second chances for the Frogs scorers is a big reason they find themselves in the top 15.

Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks come into Saturday’s game fresh off a heartbreaking loss against Kansas State. They lost by one on the road, breaking a 10-game win streak. Their only other loss came to #9 Tennessee at home. One of Kansas’ strengths has been their ability to efficiently move the ball, resulting in them being 13th in the country in assists (17.6). They are sixth in the Big 12 in scoring, with 77.2 PPG, and seventh in defense, allowing 66.2 PPG. It’s surprising for the #2 team in the country, but they’ve played a brutal non-conference schedule that included Duke, Tennessee, and Indiana.

They are led by Jalen Wilson (20.8 PPG, 8.9 RPG) and Gradey Dick (14.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG). Wilson has been a fantastic scorer this season and is coming off a game where he scores 38 points against #13 Kansas State. He can be a streaky shooter, averaging just 41% from the field and 32% from three. Freshmen Gradey Dick has been fantastic in a starting role and is the more efficient scorer of the two. He shoots 45.7% from the field and 45.3% from three. Dick is also becoming a fantastic defender with four steals against KSU on Tuesday. At 6’8″, he is also turning into a threat down low with seven rebounds and two blocks in their last game.

The Jayhawks have no shortage of depth, with Kevin McCullar Jr (10.2 PPG, 7.2 PPG, 2.6 SPG) and KJ Adams Jr. (11.1 PPG, 66.9 FG%). McCullar started the season as one of their top scorers. but is averaging just 7 PPG over their last five, including a zero-point performance last week. Despite his lack of scoring, he has been a stellar defender, with 11 steals in his previous four games. Adams has been great in support of the two stars, and his scoring has picked up as a result. He’s averaging 18 points and shooting 71% from the field. He does have issues picking up dumb fouls and has fouled out in two of their last four games.

Free Pick: TCU +8.5

Kansas is the better team, but a closer look at the schedule has us leaning toward a close game with TCU on Saturday. We first examine their two recent common opponents: Iowa State and Kansas State. Against Iowa State, the Jayhawks won by two, while TCU lost by two (both home games). For Kansas State, the Jayhawks lost by one in overtime while the Frogs won by 14 (Jays on the road, Frogs at home). We also see that TCU has played a ranked opponent in four of their last five games, including a win at Baylor and a four-point loss at #7 Texas. While they haven’t been able to pull off the wins, they have kept themselves in every big game so far.

The West Virginia loss is concerning, but we’re chalking that up to being a trap game before this anticipated matchup. We think TCU’s size and strength down low will give them an advantage against a Kansas defense that has struggled a bit. Lampkins propensity for offensive rebounds gives their shooters a lot of second chances, which is why they are never out of a game.

We’re taking the points and hopping on the Frogs this weekend.

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