Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams at opposite ends of the Big 12 spectrum collide at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Saturday evening, as the eighth- ranked Kansas Jayhawks tangle with the struggling TCU Horned Frogs.
Bill Self's Jayhawks are beginning to hit their stride, sitting all alone atop the Big 12 standings at a perfect 5-0. Kansas knocked off Baylor on Monday (78-68) for its fifth straight win and fourth straight against a ranked opponent in regular-season action, the first team to accomplish that feat since North Carolina during the 1996-97 campaign.
Trent Johnson's Horned Frogs are simply looking for a win. The team's non- conference slate proved to be encouraging, with TCU winning nine of its first 12 games. However, the Horned Frogs haven't won since late December and have lost all six of their conference games to fall to 9-9 overall, including Wednesday's 77-69 setback at Oklahoma.
Kansas has won five of the six all-time meetings in a series that dates back to 1952.
The Jayhawks were able to distance themselves from the Bears last time out by shooting a sterling 57.5 percent from the floor, while delivering on 26-of-29 from the free-throw line. Perry Ellis led the way, netting 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. Andrew Wiggins was right behind with 17 points, while Joel Embiid chipped in with 12.
The Jayhawks are getting it done with efficient shooting, as the team ranks fourth nationally at an impressive .506 conversion rate. The result is a strong scoring average of 78.9 ppg. Kansas has also dominated play on the glass with a +6.8 rebounding margin. A young squad that features three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior in the starting lineup, is starting to play like a veteran group. Wiggins was the star recruit and although he hasn't put up the eye-popping numbers some thought he would, he does lead the Jayhawks in scoring this year at 15.2 ppg. Ellis is a close second in the scoring column at 13.2 ppg. Embiid has been the freshman that has exceeded expectations, as he has evolved into one of the nation's most talented big men in a short period of time. He is shooting .679 from the floor, while averaging 11.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.
Despite having three players averaging double-digit points, TCU has struggled at the offensive end this season, averaging a modest 66.1 ppg due to a poor .413 shooting from the field. In addition, the team has had a tough time on the boards, getting outrebounded by just over five caroms per game. Junior guard Kyan Anderson headlines the play for TCU, leading the team in scoring (15.1 ppg), assists (4.6 apg) and steals (27). Amric Fields (13.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) gives the team a frontcourt option, while Brandon Parrish (10.2 ppg) helps out in the backcourt alongside Anderson.
The Horned Frogs put up a strong fight in Norman this week and actually tied the game up at 66-66 with just under four minutes left. However, the Sooners closed out with an 11-3 run to keep TCU winless in league play. The loss spoiled a strong performance by Anderson, who led all scorers with 23 points. Fields added 15 points to the cause, while Karviar Shepherd recorded a double- double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.