NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Kansas

Kansas has played with fire inside Allen Fieldhouse early and often this season in Big 12 play and evaded disaster at every turn. On Saturday, however, the No. 2 Jayhawks finally got burned as No. 14 TCU marched into Lawrence, Kansas, and blasted KU 83-60.

TCU either led or was tied for more than 38 minutes in a near wire-to-wire win that almost never happens against Kansas under coach Bill Self. The 23-point margin of defeat was the largest for the Jayhawks inside Allen Fieldhouse since it lost by 25 to Texas in a stunner in January 2021. It also marked the first time since 2013 that Kansas has lost two straight in Big 12 play with at least one loss coming at home. 

The Horned Frogs dominated on both sides of the court by holding Kansas to 7 of 21 shooting from 3-point range and 23 of 59 shooting from the field. Kansas has mounted double-digit comeback wins in two of its Big 12 home games this season behind second-half scorchers, went 9 of 28 shooting from the field and hit just two 3s during the final 20 minutes of action against the Horned Frogs. 

This marked TCU's first-ever win over Kansas inside Allen Fieldhouse thanks to a balanced scoring effort from Mike Miles, Shahada Wells and Damion Baugh, who had 38 points combined. TCU built its lead to as big as 25 in the second half despite big man Eddie Lampkin hurting his ankle and playing through the ailment at less than 100%. 

Kansas had its own fits and starts it played through as well. KJ Adams got in foul trouble early and finished with only 23 minutes, sharpshooter Gradey Dick missed 10 shots, tying a career high, and the 17 turnovers were a season high. Ultimately, though, it was due for a dud at home after it overcame some catastrophic starts earlier in the season. 

Let's jump in to three takeaways. 

1. Kansas finally digs too big a hole

Kansas is 3-1 on the season in conference games played at Allen Fieldhouse and will likely be favored in each of its last five conferences games this season played at home. However, it could just as easily be 1-3 or 0-4 in Big 12 games played at home and near the bottom of the league standings. In two of its wins -- vs. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma -- it had to dig out of double-digit deficits. The other, vs. Iowa State, it had to surmount a deficit of as large as five. It felt inevitable that Kansas would make a push on Saturday until the hole eventually got too big to climb out of. 

2. TCU win shows depth of Big 12

The Big 12 is by leaps and bounds the best basketball conference in America right now, and TCU -- which just got handled by a struggling West Virginia team on the road earlier in the week -- going into Allen Fieldhouse to steal a win only underscores that. On any given day, the bottom of the league can cannibalize the top because there's really only a middle. The idea that the ninth- and tenth-worst teams in the league may sneak into the NCAA Tournament seems farfetched after seeming somewhat possible a few weeks ago. Still, there really aren't any bad teams in the Big 12. No result -- even TCU taking down a top-five Kansas team in Allen Fieldhouse -- should come as a huge surprise.

3. Jalen Wilson building POY resume

It sure feels like Zach Edey of Purdue is running away with the Player of the Year race; he's reached a Zion Williamson-level of efficiency and dragged a Boilermakers team unranked in the preseason to the top of the polls. However, Wilson's production of late has thrust him on the radar as a top-three candidate on my ballot after scoring 38 in a loss earlier in the week to Kansas State and 30 in a loss to TCU. Ideally, this production for his POY case would be coming in wins, but no one over the last week has been as hot as him. If Kansas can right the ship and he can sustain this, then suddenly the POY race feels very much undecided.