The TCU Horned Frogs (20-11, 8-10) may not have generated a lot of buzz before Thursday, but eyes are starting to look their way after they upset Texas in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament.
Next up are the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (26-6, 14-4), who quickly took care of West Virginia yesterday. Can TCU keep the upset train rolling and sneak into the Big 12 championship as a college basketball betting underdog — or will Kansas end the party tonight?
Continue reading for our free college basketball picks and predictions for TCU vs. Kansas on Friday, March 11.
TCU vs Kansas odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Kansas opened as 8-point favorites and has seen movement in both directions, but has landed at -8.5 at the time of writing. The total opened at 140 and has since moved to 138.5.
TCU vs Kansas predictions
Predictions made on 3/11/2022 at 10:54 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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TCU vs Kansas game info
• Location: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, MO
• Date: Friday, March 11, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN2
TCU vs Kansas betting preview
TCU: None to report.
Kansas: None to report.
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Under is 4-0 in TCU's last four games. Find more NCAA betting trends for TCU vs. Kansas.
TCU vs Kansas picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
In hindsight, we maybe should have expected TCU to surprise in the Big 12 Tournament. In its last six regular-season games, the Horned Frogs managed to beat Texas Tech, Kansas, and Texas while managing single-digit losses in their other games against the Jayhawks and Longhorns, plus this is also the same team that upset LSU in the Big 12/SEC challenge.
To say the least, TCU is a very live underdog that possibly hasn't gotten anywhere near the respect it deserves. Regardless of whether the Frogs can pull off the upset against Kansas tonight, they will be a very live underdog in the Big Dance.
So what makes TCU so dangerous? The answer is surprisingly simple.
It is 5-5 SU against ranked opponents this year, and sifting through the box scores point to a very fundamental difference: TCU succeeds when it wins the rebounding battle and can get to the line. This largely makes sense, given that TCU is neither a team that scores much (second-last in the Big 12) nor can overwhelm teams with 3-point shooting (second last in 3P%). By controlling the glass, the Horned Frogs can limit second chances and generate more of their own, which helps make up for their generally ineffective offense. In that regard, the Horned Frogs' rebounding margin is three times as large in their wins against ranked opponents than in their losses.
|TCU vs. Ranked Opponents||Wins||Losses|
|Free throw attempts||102||55|
When it comes to free throws, TCU isn't even particularly great at getting to the line over the larger sample (eighth out of 10 teams in free throw attempts) but it does attack the rim at a high frequency, ranking 50th in the nation in percentage of shots taken at the rim. So when it can generate contact and get whistles going its way, the effect can be compounding: the Horned Frogs have gotten to the line twice as much in their wins against ranked opponents than in their losses.
The inconsistent rebounding efforts are merely a product of their roster construction. Of players averaging 10+ minutes per game, they have just one player of appreciable size: 6-foot-11, 300-lb center Eddie Lampkin. TCU's elevated play as of late has partly been a product of Lampkin gathering 8+ rebounds seven times in his last 12 games, compared to the four times he managed to hit that mark in the first 18 contests.
Unfortunately for TCU, however, Kansas is the best rebounding team in the conference. Whereas TCU has just two players averaging five or more rebounds, Kansas has four. Forwards Jalen Wilson (7.2 rpg) and David McCormack (7.1 rpg) are the primary contributors on the glass but star guard Ochai Agbaji (5.1 rpg) and sharpshooter Christian Braun (6.4 rpg) are understated rebounders as well.
Kansas has also seemingly turned the corner defensively as of late, allowing an average of just 62.7 points in regulation in its last three games. That doesn't bode well for a TCU offense that struggles to score when it cannot get to the line.
Prediction: Kansas -8.5 (-110)
Friday's number of 138.5 is right in line with where these teams finished in their first two matchups (both occurring earlier this month), playing to totals of 138 and 140. But given TCU's offensive deficiencies, it does not usually see totals as high as tonight's.
In conference play, the Horned Frogs have seen a total of 138.5 or higher just four times — playing to the Under on all four occasions.
Kansas sees them more regularly, given its offensive firepower, but has gone 8-7 to the Under in games with totals at or above tonight's mark. Both teams have also played strong to the Under lately, with TCU cashing in four straight and Kansas hitting the Under in three of its last four.
There is no particularly strong read here on the total, but we're leaning towards the Under.
Prediction: Under 138.5 (-110)
TCU has been one of the most interesting teams to follow this year. Its metrics over the larger sample of the season aren't anything to write home about, but it repeatedly displayed the ability to be competitive with some of the country's best teams.
The Frogs managed to go 8-8 SU as underdogs and possess the 13th-best ATS record in the nation at 18-10-3 (64.3%).
Although Kansas was a victim to TCU's wrath just 10 days ago, it was seemingly that loss that woke up the Jayhawks. They have now rattled off three straight wins, with their most recent coming yesterday in a 24-point beatdown of West Virginia after managing to frustrate Bob Huggins into an ejection just 10 minutes into the game.
Kansas should be able to take care of business tonight and advance to the Big 12 championship, but remember the Horned Frogs when filling out your bracket next week.
Pick: Kansas -8.5 (-110)
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