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I took a 1-3 smacking Saturday in college hoops so I’ve decided to dial it back Monday. Just kidding. It’s cause I only like one game: No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (22-5) at No. 24 TCU Horned Frogs (17-8).
TCU boat-raced Kansas 83-60 as 7-point road underdogs in Lawrence on Jan. 21. The Horned Frogs out-performed the Jayhawks in all “four factors” and won each half by double digits.
Kansas are 6-1 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) with an active 4-game winning streak. The Jayhawks rallied back to hammer Baylor 87-71 as 5.5-point home favorites Saturday, in a game I was dead wrong about.
The Horned Frogs snapped a 4-game losing skid with a 100-75 home rout of Oklahoma State Saturday. TCU’s best player — G Mike Miles Jr. — returned to action after missing six straight games basically.
Miles scored 15 points Saturday vs. OK State. He exited TCU’s 81-74 overtime loss at Mississippi State just 4 minutes into the game on Jan. 28. The Horned Frogs were 1-5 SU and ATS without Miles.
Kansas-TCU Betting Board (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Moneyline: Kansas (+105), TCU (-125)
- Spread: Kansas +1.5 (-110), TCU -1.5 (-110)
- Total — 151.5 — Over: -110, Under: -110
Miles makes a difference
The Horned Frogs played like s*** without Miles. There is no other way to put it. Guards and ball handlers are more important to winning college basketball games than bigs nowadays.
Miles would have the 2nd-highest PER (22.2) in the Big XII if he played enough minutes to qualify. He is behind OK State’s Kalib Boone (26.2) and Kansas F Jalen Wilson (21.6).
Without Miles, TCU goes from a team on the bubble to a Big XII sleeper. Miles’ dribble penetration gives the Horned Frogs an edge over the Jayhawks.
TCU ranks 71st in offensive FT/FGA rate, according to Ken Pom, which includes the six games Miles missed. Kansas is 216th out of 363 schools in defensive FT/FGA rate.
The one positive about Miles missing time is the Horned Frogs got reps for their bench. TCU ranks 10th in bench minutes by Ken Pom. Backups perform better at home and TCU ranks 5th nationally in home-court advantage.
At home, the Horned Frogs have a +6.6 free-throw-attempt (FTA) per game margin but a -2.3 FTA margin. TCU’s aggressiveness and 3-point shooting should increase in Fort Worth, Texas.
Fading ‘recency bias’ with Kansas
On paper, Kansas crushed Baylor this past weekend. But if you watched that game you’re aware the Bears puked all over themselves.
Baylor squandered a double-digit 1st-half lead and committed mad unforced errors. That KU victory was as much about the Bears playing awfully as it was the Jayhawks playing well.
Between Miles and Horned Frogs PG Damion Baugh, TCU will be too buttoned-up at home and Kansas will have fewer easy buckets.
Furthermore, the Baylor Bears rank 85th in adjusted defensive efficiency by Ken Pom whereas the Horned Frogs rank 25th.
TCU’s cheap price
I could argue that the Horned Frogs should be bigger home favorites. Per Sports Reference, KU is 3.8 points better in SRS, which blends point-per-game differential and strength of schedule.
However, Miles’ availability adds 2 points of line value and TCU’s home-court advantage is worth 4.3 points, according to Ken Pom.
Since the Horned Frogs are the home team and have Miles in the lineup, I’d be willing to bet the Horned Frogs up to -3.
BET: TCU moneyline (-125), up to -130 before laying up to -2.5 with the Horned Frogs
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Bill Self in conference