Kansas State faces TCU tonight and both teams are still vying for their first Big 12 win.
The Horned Frogs are only playing their second Big 12 game after Covid-19 issues postponed a pair of league contests.
Jamie Dixon’s Horned Frogs played well for a half against Baylor, leading 37-31 at the break, but the Bears outscored TCU 45-27 in the second half for a 76-64 victory.
TCU is 10-2 overall this season, with their best wins coming against Texas A&M (NET No. 61), Oral Roberts (No. 118) and Utah (No. 121). Besides Baylor, they also lost to Santa Clara (No. 80).
They are led by their defense and rank No. 53 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency and allow 0.97 points per possession.
The Frogs are elite at not sending opponents to the free throw line. Their free throw rate allowed is just 20.2 percent (No. 7), and they also only allow an offensive rebounding rate of 23.8 percent (No. 33).
Opponents only make 45.6 percent from two-point range (No. 49) and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc (No. 209).
Jamie Dixon (AP)
TCU is solid on the offensive end. They rank No. 88 with an efficiency of 1.08 points per possession.
They have one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the nation, indicated by them grabbing 41.1 percent of their missed shots (No. 2). However, they rank about 200th or worse in every other metric.
Their free throw rate on offense is 29.3 percent (No. 198), and only hit on about 70 percent of those when they do reach the charity stripe (No. 199). The Frogs turn it over on 19.4 percent of their possessions (No. 205).
Dixon’s club makes 48.8 percent from inside the three-point line (No. 206) and 31.6 percent from outside it (No. 252), which equals out to an eFG% (effective field goal percentage) of 48.3 percent (No. 233).
K-State’s biggest strength on defense has been forcing tough shots. They rank No. 22 in eFG% defense, and that gives them a big advantage over a TCU team that struggles to make shots, especially from behind the arc.
The Wildcats have minor advantages in the other defensive factors.
Offensively, Kansas State will probably find it tough on the glass and getting to the free throw line. We should also pay attention to their shooting percentages on two-point baskets. The Wildcats have struggled there lately, and it is one of the stronger aspects of the Horned Frog defense.
Dixon has a group of four returners that he’s blended with six transfers on this year’s squad.
Guard Mikey Miles is one of the better scorers in the Big 12 at 17.7 points per game, plus he averages 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game as well. He is a 33.9 percent three-point shooter that takes 5.4 per game. His usage rate is 27.3 percent and he takes 29.3 percent of TCU’s shots while on the floor and has a 1.05 offensive rating.
Texas A&M transfer forward Emanuel Miller scores 10.7 points per game and leads the Horned Frogs in rebounding at 6.8 per game. He takes nearly two threes per game, but he only makes 23.8 percent and has an offensive rating of 1.23.
Chuck O’Bannon is a super senior wing in his second year in Fort Worth after transferring from USC. He scores 10.1 points per game and averages 4.0 rebounds, while leading TCU in three-point percentage at 40.9 percent on 3.7 attempts per game. He also has one of the best offensive ratings on the team at 1.23.
Guard Damion Baugh is a Memphis transfer that averages 8.9 points per game and 4.1 assists per game. Baugh shoots 27.8 percent from distance on two attempts per game, with an offensive rating of 1.01.
6-foot-10 center Eddie Lampkin rounds out the starting five with 5.8 rebounds and 5.3 points per game. Texas Tech transfer Micah Peavy started the first nine games, but he was replaced by O’Bannon and averages just 6.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Francisco Farabello is the most experienced Horned Frog, and he is in his third year under Dixon. Farabello is a shooting threat, making 31.4 percent from deep on nearly three attempts per game.
Rounding out the rotation for TCU are transfers JaKobe Coles (Butler) and Xavier Cork (Western Carolina).
SUMMARY AND PREDICTION
HOW TO WATCH: ESPNU
TIP TIME: 8:00 P.M. CST
FAN: It is a must-win game for K-State. The Wildcats have already lost a home game and probably need to get at least six home wins in the league to give themselves a shot at the NCAA tournament. TCU is near Kansas State in the NET rankings and other metrics. The Wildcats must start winning games and gathering some confidence as they head into a tough stretch during a season where there won’t be any easy ones. K-State does enough to grab their first Big 12 win. Wildcats prevail, 73-66.
DY: Kansas State likely has to win their next three games to avoid a 2-6 start in conference play. That’s where things stand right now, and that of course isn’t good. Two of those three games will come against Texas Tech and Texas. If they aren’t able to win on Wednesday evening, they’re in trouble and in real danger of a sickening Big 12 record. The Big 12 is sympathetic to nobody. If you’re not ready to go when the ball is tipped in the air, you’re going to be exposed. The season has to turn tonight. Will it? I tend to think so because they’re playing a beatable team at home. And if they can’t do it tonight, there’s not a lot of other scenarios for wins that are conceivable. K-State uses defense to slip past TCU, 68-62.
FLANDO: Both teams will be hungry for their first conference win of the season. Like the Wildcats, TCU is a team with some solid pieces but have showed inconsistencies throughout the year. The Horned Frogs may have the worst non-conference loss in the entire league when they fell to Santa Clara. But they won every other non-Big 12 contest, including beating three high-major opponents. Kansas State’s win over Wichita State is the only positive outcome over such a team. Every game will be tough for K-State Wednesday night will be no different. However, it is a must-win. Falling to 0-4 makes an NCAA Tournament berth practically impossible, and while Jamie Dixon’s bunch is not too shabby, they are more vulnerable than others in the league. K-State wins, 68-67.
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