TCU-Kansas Preview

Big 12-leading Kansas is looking to bounce back from a poor defensive effort.

Returning home to face the team at the bottom of the conference should solve their issues.

With their star freshman center out, the seventh-ranked Jayhawks look to continue their home dominance of unranked opponents and send TCU to its 12th straight loss Saturday.

Kansas (18-6, 9-2) is atop the Big 12 by one game over No. 19 Texas, thanks in part to holding league opponents to 40.9 percent shooting.

The Jayhawks weren’t close to being that good defensively Monday, surrendering 49.2 percent from the field in an 85-82 overtime loss at Kansas State.

"We just couldn’t get no stops," said forward Perry Ellis, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds. "We couldn’t get no stops in the second half and overtime."

Getting back to Allen Fieldhouse should get them going again.

Kansas is 39-2 in its last 41 games on its own floor and has won 77 of the past 79 matchups there against unranked foes while outscoring them by 21.6 points.

They appear poised for a similar outcome against the Horned Frogs (9-14, 0-11), who average 59.1 points on 37.7 percent shooting in conference games.

Kansas has already recorded an easy win against TCU this season, winning 91-69 on the road behind a 57.4-percent shooting effort Jan. 25 to improve to 6-1 in the all-time series. The Jayhawks had little trouble in the most recent home matchup Feb. 23, cruising to a 74-48 victory.

With a seemingly favorable matchup, coach Bill Self will rest ailing 7-foot center Joel Embiid, who has been playing through a knee injury suffered at TCU, and a back ailment.

Embiid is averaging 10.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, which ranks second in the Big 12. He hasn’t played more than 18 minutes in any of the last three games.

Another meeting with the Horned Frogs should help get Andrew Wiggins back on track. The freshman guard scored 16 points Monday, but shot 4 of 12 from the floor and 8 of 15 from the line. He scored 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting against the Horned Frogs last month.

He’s averaging 21.7 points in three home games after posting a season-low three in an 80-78 win over then-ninth-ranked Oklahoma State.

TCU hasn’t won in 2014 and is on its longest slide since dropping 13 in a row Jan. 15-March 2, 2011.

The Horned Frogs, who have dealt with injuries all season, suffered their largest loss of the season with Wednesday’s 91-58 defeat to Baylor.

"We have played our hearts out these last few games and (Wednesday’s) game was just pitiful," coach Trent Johnson said. "The pride factor started to show up. We have to learn to keep pushing and trying our hardest.

"A lot of teams are better, but we are still a good team. This is just the hand we’ve been dealt. We still have to compete.

Leading scorer Kyan Anderson is averaging 22.5 points in four games after he was held to 12 on 2-for-8 shooting against the Jayhawks. The guard has totaled 56 points in the past two games, including a season-high 29 while connecting on 10 of 17 from the field Wednesday.

TCU has lost all seven meetings with ranked teams this season and has dropped 10 straight against Top 25 opponents since a 62-55 win over Kansas on Feb. 6, 2013.