Within Friday’s 44-game NCAA basketball slate, No. 6 Kansas battles TCU in the Big 12 tournament semifinals. These teams met twice just last week — with the Horned Frogs stealing the first one as six-point home underdogs. Let’s dig into my college basketball best bets for this contest.
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Kansas Jayhawks vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Jamie Dixon’s squad appeared to be headed for an early exit in the conference tournament after facing a 20-point deficit against Texas late in the first half. But the Horned Frogs rallied to earn another duel with the Jayhawks. Where’s the value for their third meeting in the T-Mobile Center?
- All of Eli’s College Basketball Best Bets
Betting Market Overvalues Kansas
For starters, Bill Self’s unit is outperforming its shooting metrics by five wins (via ShotQuality). That’s tied for the third-most record luck of any program with at least 20 victories.
The Jayhawks’ poor defense is a major reason why. Not only does Kansas struggle to hinder isolation scorers, but it’s also due for major regression around the perimeter. Despite allowing the 23rd-lowest 3-point clip in the country (30.6%), it’s surrendering the fourth-highest percentage of open looks from behind the arc.
On top of that, TCU is due for positive shooting luck, racking up a lowly 30.1% clip from distance despite possessing capable floor-spacers in Mike Miles and Damion Baugh. The Horned Frogs’ backcourt combination shot 5 of 11 in that category versus the Longhorns.
TCU’s Rebounding Prowess
Unlike the Jayhawks, the Horned Frogs aim to play at a more methodical tempo, producing the 46th-longest average possession length across Division I (per KenPom). Their stylistic preference is manufactured more often than not by their dominance on the glass.
During Big 12 play, Dixon’s bunch is manufacturing the top-ranked rebounding rate at both ends. It controlled the boards in both games against Kansas already, and the expectation shouldn’t be any different for Eddie Lampkin & Co. in this one.
In general, minimizing the overall possessions — while tallying a lower-scoring affair as a result — aids the underdog.
Kansas – TCU Conclusion
After covering in both of their previous matchups against the Jayhawks, expect the Horned Frogs to at least stay within three possessions. They have a deep bench, so I’m not concerned with tired legs in the second half.
Keep in mind, they’re a team to consider backing in the NCAA tournament, too.
Best Available Line: TCU
Eli’s College Basketball Best Bet: