Kansas Jayhawks vs. Texas Christian Horned Frogs Pick & Prediction JANUARY 6th 2024

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After working their way through the non-conference season, TCU and No. 2 Kansas will open the Big 12 regular season with a matinee matchup Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.

Last January, then-No. 14 TCU beat No. 2 Kansas 83-60 in Lawrence in one of the worst losses of Bill Self’s 20-year coaching career with the Jayhawks. It was Kansas’ second-largest home loss under Self, and it ended a 16-game home winning streak.

Come 2023-24, while Kansas was back in its familiar place atop the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll, TCU was tabbed for fifth place, so this will not be an easy opener for either team.

Kansas (12-1) has been picked outright or tied for first in 20 preseason Big 12 polls. The Jayhawks have won or shared the regular-season title in 21 years.

The non-conference schedule did nothing to cast doubt on the Jayhawks. One of six Big 12 teams in the latest AP poll, the Jayhawks have victories over fellow top-6 teams Kentucky (currently No. 6) and Tennessee (No. 5) on neutral sites, and UConn (No. 4) at home.

Kansas’ lone loss was to current No. 7 Marquette in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 21.

The Jayhawks do it by making a lot of shots. They rank 11th in Division I in field-goal percentage (50.5 percent), but their lack of depth will be something to watch during the conference season.

“We don’t have any hour restrictions,” Self said on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show Tuesday when discussing the amount of practice the team would face during the semester break.

“When you are playing four guys as many minutes as we have, it sounds great in theory that we could be going two-a-days and all that stuff. All that will do is be counterproductive because you are wearing out your guys who are playing a majority of minutes.”

Dajuan Harris averages a team-leading 35.1 minutes per game, followed by Kevin McCullar Jr. (34.2), Hunter Dickinson (32.0) and KJ Adams (31.3). Kansas’ fifth starter, freshman guard Elmarko Jackson, averages 23.4.

McCullar (20.4), Dickinson (18.5) and Adams (12.2) all score in double figures for the Jayhawks.

TCU (11-2) also has had a productive non-conference season. The Horned Frogs are solid on both ends of the court, tied for the eighth-best point differential (19.3 points per game) in the nation. Their 85.8 ppg scoring average ranks 14th.

They have four starters averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Emanuel Miller at 16.0 ppg. He’s joined by Micah Peavy (11.4), JaKobe Coles (11.4) and Jameer Nelson Jr. (11.1).

In their most recent game, the Frogs dismantled Texas A&M-Commerce 77-42 on Monday, leading by as many as 45 points in the second half.

“With the lead, we were able to rotate more guys in,” coach Jamie Dixon said after the game. “I thought we did some things well. We got a little sloppy late, but we’re a team that does those things.

“Obviously we’ve got a big one coming up to start conference play. We’ve got to be able to put 40 minutes together, which we weren’t able to do tonight. The opportunity is there.”

–Field Level Media

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