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Value the Ball and You Can Score Against K-State

Time to look forward to Kansas State and turn the page on Oklahoma State, right?  Senior night for Sherron Collins with the arch rival coming in hoping to ruin the party for a beloved Jayhawk.  We know K-State already gave the Jayhawks all they can handle in Manhattan, we better expect it to happen again because they are damn good.  Take your pick of stats, they do well in most of them.  However, doing some reading I came across this comment at Basketball Prospectus:

They have the second-ranked D in the Big 12 because they force turnovers on no less than 24 percent of conference opponents' possessions. It's true that if you can just hang on to the ball against K-State, you're facing the equivalent of the Iowa State defense. (Both teams give up about 1.27 points per TO-less trip.) But it's also true that the Wildcats have indeed forced all those turnovers and, with the right pairing, they could do so again in the tournament."


That's a hell of a difference, to go from .95 points per possession to 1.27 points per possession.  In a game with 70 possessions, you're talking about a 22 point difference for the opponent.  So I start to thinking, Kansas just needs to really value the ball and #6 is all Kansas.  Can it be that easy?  Not really, they are good at forcing teams to turn it over.  Second, I had nothing to compare the 1.27 against.  But one of the great things about living in 2010, I can compare that number with the rest of the Big 12 with a little bit of work.

Here's what I did:  Took possessions, opponent turnovers, and points against from statsheet.  I subtracted the opponent turnovers from the possessions to find how many possessions the opponent had where they got a shot or got to the foul line.  Then, divided the points against by the NONTO Pos.  I hope that makes sense.

 

NonTO Pos Opponent PPP
Texas 58 1.16
Kansas 55 1.16
Baylor 55 1.18
Oklahoma State 56 1.22
Iowa State 57 1.23
Texas A&M 53 1.23
Missouri 52 1.25
Kansas State 55 1.25
Nebraksa 51 1.28
Texas Tech 58 1.29
Oklahoma 56 1.31
Colorado 54 1.36


Kansas State goes from 1st (.96) to 7th, so there is quite a drop.  Does this tell us anything meaningful?  Mainly, hang on to the ball and be patient.  If you can do that against the Wildcats, you'll have a good shot at scoring.  Some teams just don't like playing defense if they can't get a turnover early.  Give up a shot and hope to get the ball back.  But, I don't think that is what we have with K-State.  Defensively, they have held their opponents to the lowest eFG% of all the teams in the conference.  I'm guessing this has a lot to do with their fouls committed.  K-State leads the conference in fouls committed and opponents free throws.  Hang on to the ball, get fouled, and make your free throws and you can score some points against them.

*Scary footnote:  KU's last 3 games: 1.28, 1.26, and 1.55

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