Granted I am biased, but of all the big time coaches in the country, I think Bill Self does the best job of non-conference scheduling. There of course are the cupcakes that every team needs to get ramped up for the season, but mixed in with the Arizonas and the Memphises are teams like North Texas. Not a great team, but a probable NCAA tournament team, and a team we could certainly see four months down the road.
This game was the slowest we have played all year, though to be honest I am actually pleased with that. Kansas had to survive some stretches without Tyshawn Taylor and the Morri, and it appears they responded by slowing it down, which limits the number of possessions they have to go without their best players. That right there is phenomenal coaching.
While I don't expect the playing slowly trend to continue - especially on December 18th when some Selby guy starts playing - I wonder what to make of Kansas's suddenly stingy three point defense. North Texas was 0-12 from beyond the arc following Valpo's horrible shooting day. Now, North Texas neither shot a lot of threes (30.4% 3PtA/FGA, 228th nationally) nor made a lot of them (32.8%, 227th nationally). And, as I have said earlier, the whole notion of three point defense is really a bit of a myth. Still, it will be interesting to see if that trend continues.
Four factors chart and player observations after the jump:
After a lackluster first half, Marcus Morris showed why he is Marcus Morris. 20 points, made both of the threes he took, and was 5-9 on two point field goals. That he can absolutely fill it up is nice, but that he does it so efficiently is why he is one of the best players in the country.
Speaking of one of the best players in the country, Markieff managed 13 points in just 17 minutes of playing time, though he had four fouls. He "only" had 8 rebounds, though he had a defensive rebounding percentage just shy of 40%, and an offensive rebounding percentage of 18%, so he was certainly not slacking off.
Speaking of great rebounding (I am full of good segues today), Thomas Robinson is the latest post player that Danny Manning has worked his magic on. Robinson had a 63.4% defensive rebound rate and a 22.8% offensive rebound rate, both absolutely phenomenal numbers. You perhaps are wondering if he did that in not a lot of playing time and you would be correct. He only played 14 minutes due to foul trouble. His activity is nice, but he needs to make sure he does it smartly and is aggressive without being reckless. Although North Texas is kind of the Sun Belt version of Kansas State, so a lot of fouls are to be expected with them.
Tyshawn Taylor had his third straight good game. Only 9 points, but he only shot the ball four times, making 3 of them. He also made 3 of his 4 free throws. If he does that offensively every game, I will be happy. The story with him though is his 6 assists next to just 1 turnover, plus the very good defense he played. On the broadcast they talked about how Self basically said that Tyshawn is going to make some dumb plays, but he's also going to do some things that make your jaw drop and that everyone basically has to live with that. Good for him for realizing that, and hopefully the fanbase does as well.
I feel really bad for Elijah Johnson. He had a pretty good game - 11 points with a very good 83.3% eFG - and then after the game we get news Selby would be cleared. He can't catch a break. If there is an NBA lockout, thus ensuring Selby stays two years, I wouldn't be surprised to see him transfer, which would be extremely unfortunate because I think he has the potential to be not just pretty good, not just good, but very good.
Oh by the way, Kansas tied the school record for consecutive home wins.
What did everyone else think?