|6:15 PM PT7:15 PM MT8:15 PM CT9:15 PM ET2:15 PM GMT10:15 PM 北京时间7:15 PM MST9:15 PM EST, Jan 6, 2018
Ed & Rae Schollmaier Arena, Fort Worth, Texas Attendance: 6,894
No. 10 Kansas hits the road against No. 16 TCU
The gauntlet of the Big 12 Conference is no place for the faint of heart or the weary, a realization that hits teams right in the face as games against some of the top-ranked squads in the nation continue to pop up on the schedule.
Case in point is Saturday's Big 12 tussle between No. 10 Kansas and No. 16 TCU at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. Both teams will be facing a ranked team for the second time in their three conference games with little end in sight to the constant challenges of the conference.
The last time these two teams played was in the quarterfinals of last season's Big 12 tournament, when the Horned Frogs posted an 85-82 win over top-ranked Kansas, marking TCU's first win ever against an AP No. 1 opponent.
Then-freshman guard Desmond Bane sank a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining for the game-winning points.
"Winning that game and the way we did it was huge for me and for all of our confidence moving forward," Bane said. "And it was great for our program to be able to do something like that, something special. I feel like we've really been able to build off that win."
TCU has defeated Kansas only twice, last season and in 2013 -- the latter when it stunned the fifth-ranked Jayhawks and celebrated as its student body rushed the court.
After the win over Kansas, the Horned Frogs lost to Iowa State in the Big 12 semis, which left them out of the NCAA Tournament. Once invited to the NIT, TCU ran the table, winning five times, including a record-tying 32-point victory over Georgia Tech in the championship game.
That run was parlayed into a 12-0 start this season that ended on Dec. 30 with a 90-89 home loss to now-No. 7 Oklahoma.
The Horned Frogs (13-1, 1-1 in Big 12 play) then went to Waco, Texas, on Tuesday and beat Baylor 81-78 in overtime. TCU had a 12-point, second-half lead in that win, prompting first-year coach Jamie Dixon to lament his team's ability to put away opponents.
"We're excited about the conference, excited where it is, believe it's wide open, anybody can win it," Dixon said. "Two games in, I think that feeling is still there. For us, we understand we've had two games now against two really good teams and we've been up 12, 13 points and we've got to find a way to maintain."
TCU has never started 2-1 in the Big 12. Its last such start was in 2010 in the Mountain West.
Kansas (11-3) is coming off its worst home loss with Bill Self as coach, 85-73 to No. 18 Texas Tech on Tuesday. Despite a 1-1 start in league play, the Jayhawks remain the standard in the Big 12 with 13 consecutive outright or shared championships.
Winning a 14th straight title would establish an NCAA Division I record, but Self is adamant that his players stay to the task at hand.
"We need to quit talking about winning the league, even though that's kind of expected around here," Self said Thursday at his weekly media luncheon. "We need to just talk about getting better each week. If you do that, the wins and losses take care of themselves. That's what our focus is."
All three of the Jayhawks' losses have come at home. Kansas has not started conference play with two losses in three games since the 2005-06 season, when they eventually won the Big 12 with a 13-3 mark.
"We're going through what 97 percent or 98 percent of all teams in America go through -- ups and downs," Self said. "It really is this: We're not very good right now, OK? We're not near as good as what we can be.
"We're trying to develop an identity. You can look really good, then you cannot look really good. If our identity is going to be shooting the basketball, it's going to be like this. Those are things we've got to improve on."
The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 14-2, including a 5-1 advantage in Fort Worth.
Updated January 5, 2018