TCU looks ‘much different’ to Kansas these days

TCU coach Trent Johnson encourages his players during the first half against West Virginia. The Mountaineers defeated TCU 86-85 in overtime.
TCU coach Trent Johnson encourages his players during the first half against West Virginia. The Mountaineers defeated TCU 86-85 in overtime. AP

TCU doesn’t have the record to show for its efforts so far in the Big 12, but others in the league are taking notice, including Kansas coach Bill Self, whose ninth-ranked team visits Fort Worth on Wednesday.

He said the Horned Frogs’ performance in conference — with two overtime losses, including Saturday’s 86-85 defeat at West Virginia — has demonstrated their improvement.

“They’ve been in just about every game,” Self said. “Everything had to go wrong in the last couple of minutes against West Virginia for them not to win that game. West Virginia made some great plays. But obviously, TCU had some bad misfortune as well.”

TCU outrebounded West Virginia 47-37 and shot almost 50 percent.

“Anybody that can go on the road and play that well, you know that they are very capable,” Self said. “Especially playing at home. We know this will be a much different team than we’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

TCU coach Trent Johnson knows the numbers, not that he’s lingering on them.

“Nobody wants to hear it, but we’re eight points from maybe being 3-3, 4-3 in this league, which is monumental with this group, considering where we came from,” he said. “But we also know the importance of putting it behind us, because we’re playing, obviously, the premier team in this league from the past 10-12 years.”

TCU has defeated Kansas only once, on Feb. 6, 2013, in eight meetings all-time.

Johnson puts no stock in that game anymore.

“That has nothing to do with this team and nothing to do with this game,” he said. “Different years, different teams. It’s just amazing how many people still talk about that. That thing’s been out of their minds a long, long time. This is a different group of guys. That stuff is for fans and good for you guys to speculate on. We’re worried about trying to play as hard as we can, as well as we can, to give ourselves a chance to compete with this group coming in on Wednesday.”

Press handling

Kyan Anderson bounced back from a two-point game against Texas with 22 against West Virginia, in part because he handled the Mountaineers’ full-court pressure, Johnson said.

“If you handle pressure in the full court and half court, you’re going to get open looks,” Johnson said. “He did a really, really good job of handling the pressure, just like a lot of the guys on our team. I thought Charles Hill was as good an example of that as anybody, because he took advantage of the open opportunities, handled the ball well. His 13 second-half points were very monumental in this game, as well.”

Johnson said he also tried to take the ball-handling pressure off Anderson by involving others.

“In half-court situations, he continued to do a good job of handling the physicality and made some plays for himself and made some plays for others,” Johnson said.

Johnson was planning to give Anderson a break from practice on Monday because he was so “banged up” from Saturday.

Building talk

Self said he thinks he’s been in Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center once before.

“I was trying to remember, for recruiting, years ago,” the Kansas coach said. “It looks like a nice venue to me, just not very big. I’m sure it’ll be a full house and a good atmosphere. I haven’t said a word to our players about it yet. I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

Self said some of the best environments for a game happen in smaller venues.

“Sometimes intimacy, whether it be in Orlando or whether it be in Maui or whether it be in Atlanta, even though the numbers aren’t as big, create the best atmosphere,” he said.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

TCU men vs. Kansas

8 p.m. Wednesday


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