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Three Thoughts on TCU’s 57-52 Upset of Kansas in Big 12 Tournament Opening Round

Lucy Ibeh

We always have our preconceived notions about how these things are going to play out, and Thursday evening’s Big 12 Tournament opening round matchup between the seventh-seeded Kansas Jayhawks and 10th-seeded TCU Horned Frogs once again proved just how inaccurate those can be. The Horned Frogs shocked the NCAA Tournament-hopeful Jayhawks 57-52 at Municipal Arena in Kansas City. Now here are three thoughts on it.

Major bubble trouble

Kansas is pretty strong in the NET rankings, sitting in the 30’s heading into this contest. But this one is going to hurt, no doubt. It might hurt a lot. TCU, by far the worst team in the Big 12, carried a 147 NET into the matchup and figures to drop Kansas a decent amount with the result. Factoring all that in, now consider that ESPN women’s basketball bracketologist Charlie Creme had the Jayhawks as the second-to-last bye starting the day. At a bare minimum, it’s probably safe to say they’re now one of the last four teams in. And that’s not a place you want to be on Selection Monday.


Prater carries the day, Jackson mashes on the glass, but still not enough

When Jayhawks guard Chandler Prater cashed a 3-pointer with just more than a couple minutes left, one figured the better team was going to pull this one out. That served as a fraction of her game-high 21 points and had the heavily-favored No. 7 seed right there. Instead, though, it was TCU who came up with all the key plays down the stretch. That’s largely because Prater, who finished with a double-double while recording 12 rebounds, didn’t have much support in the scoring department. In fact, only one other teammate ended up in double figures. Meanwhile, center Taiyanna Jackson ripped down a ridiculous 21 rebounds on the way to a 55-38 disparity in the ‘Hawks’ favor in that column. And when a team dominates that column by that margin, you figure it translates to victory. Nope.


One more day for Raegan Pebley

It obviously hasn’t been the kind of season Pebley and the Horned Frogs were hoping for. After leading the program to the postseason in four of her first five seasons and having TCU in position for an NCAA Tournament berth in 2020, if not for its cancellation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team won only one Big 12 game in 18 tries during the 2022-23 regular season. But you can now add a second victory against a Sunflower State team to that tally. Previously defeating Kansas State by a 75-62 count in mid-February to snap a more than yearlong losing streak in league play, Pebley will get another chance to step on the bench. That’ll come against No. 2 seed Oklahoma, as she’s now 141-137 in her TCU career.

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