On Christmas Day, TCU was 12-0 and the belle of the ball. They did so without playing an utterly trashy schedule, too. By the end of December, the Frogs had already posted five wins over KenPom top-100 teams: #19 Nevada, #32 SMU, #68 Saint Bonaventure, #82 South Dakota, and #92 Belmont.
Then came Big 12 play, and our purple brothers are coming back to earth. They have added another top-50 win (#39 Baylor), but they’ve already suffered four defeats in conference play. Of course, the combined KenPom ranking of those four defeats is only 85, so not one of them has been a bad loss.
Should the Frogs lose to the good guys today, that won’t be one either.
Kansas State (13-5, 3-3 Big 12) hosts the TCU Horned Frogs (14-4, 2-4 Big 12). Today is Throwback Day (more in which in a bit), and K-State will wear a revisitation of the classic lavender uniforms while TCU will sport script “Frogs” on their jerseys.
Other than West Virginia, this is (obviously) the shortest conference series on K-State’s ledger. The Cats have an 11-5 edge, 6-2 in Manhattan. But Bruce Weber and Jamie Dixon have met three times, with Dixon winning twice. One of those wins was while Dixon was still at Pittsburgh; the other was in Manhattan last year.
Dixon, a TCU alum, came home last year after Pittsburgh fans had started grumbling that winning 81% of his games over a 13-year reign wasn’t good enough. Since then, Dixon has led TCU, a historically terrible program, to an NIT championship last year and its highest ranking in school history this year. (Pitt? They’ve gone 24-28 since Dixon left. Fools.)
The biggest issue for K-State today is going to be protecting the basket. The Frogs average almost 90 a game, and every single starter is averaging double figures on the season.
K-State is a 2½-point favorite, with the over at a quite frankly surprising 152. That foresees a 77-75 win or thereabouts for the Cats. Even more surprising than that low over, though: In a shocking heel turn, OddsShark is all-in on TCU today, projecting a 82-77 win for the Frogs.
Saturday, January 20 at 3:00pm CT, Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) in Manhattan, Kansas.
$15, four for $50, $35 chairback. For Throwback Day, you can get a ticket plus a lavender jersey t-shirt for 30 bucks.
ESPNU with Mitch Holthus and Reid Gettys.
K-State Sports Network, with Wyatt Thompson and Stan Weber, also available via satellite on Sirius 132/XM 200. In DFW, Brian Estridge and John Denton have the TCU call on 570/88.7.