In my eyes, the Wednesday game was a statement game on a few different fronts. First, Kansas takes everything a very good opponent has and not only survives but punches back. Second, Kansas leads the entire way with Sherron Collins starting the game shooting 1 for 10 and Cole Aldrich having two points in the first half. Third, K-State makes a run to tie the game in the second half and Kansas turns it up another notch. Taking the lead and stretching it to a 17 point win. The team that showed up in the first half is Final Four good, the second half team is National Champion good.
|Marcus Morris, F||24||3||1||3||2||1||1||2||4||7||4|
|Cole Aldrich, C||29||6||2||4||1||1||3||0||2||9||8|
|Sherron Collins, G||38||15||0||2||4||1||1||3||2||17||5|
|Tyshawn Taylor, G||26||5||0||1||4||2||0||1||5||11||7|
|Xavier Henry, G||31||9||1||5||1||2||1||1||2||19||15|
|Brady Morningstar, G||8||2||0||1||1||0||0||2||3||3||-2|
|Tyrel Reed, G||16||5||0||2||1||1||0||0||0||6||5|
|Markieff Morris, F||25||6||1||9||2||0||1||1||4||10||10|
|Jeff Withey, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Thomas Robinson, F||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||-1|
|Elijah Johnson, G||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||-2|
|Curtis Kelly, F||15||2||0||3||0||0||1||1||4||4||1|
|Dominique Sutton, F||16||3||0||1||1||0||0||2||4||0||-7|
|Luis Colon, C||18||4||3||4||0||2||0||2||1||5||1|
|Denis Clemente, G||39||15||2||2||2||1||0||3||1||21||5|
|Jacob Pullen, G||35||11||1||5||1||2||0||2||3||20||11|
|Chris Merriewether, G||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jamar Samuels, F||23||4||2||4||0||1||0||2||4||4||-3|
|Jordan Henriquez-Roberts, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Martavious Irving, G||6||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||-3|
|Wally Judge, F||21||6||2||4||0||0||1||1||4||6||-2|
|Rodney McGruder, G||21||3||1||6||0||0||2||0||0||5||9|
- In the Value the Ball post, I talked about points per non-TO possession. That post was focused on K-State but I did throw in the last three games for Kansas: 1.28, 1.26, and 1.55. After a rough estimation showing 32 possessions in the first half for K-State, they were at 1.58 points per non-TO possession. The second half they scored 1.08 points per non-TO possession. That's locking down on defense.
- Xavier Henry has definitely returned to early season form. When he's on like he was Wednesday night, good luck to everyone else. A guy that can shoot the three like him and get to the basket when it's open is a whole lot more difficult to defend than a guy that can only do one of those. Henry also got himself into a little foul trouble in the first half, I wasn't too worried about it because he's stayed clear of foul trouble for the year. Justifying my stance, he ended the game with 2 fouls.
- Aldrich's +8 is one of his lower scores on the year. 9 points and 4 rebounds will do that. We'd all like to see a little more of an offensive game from him, maybe he is saving his moves for the tournament.
- Morningstar only played 8 minutes in the game, first time he didn't play double digit minutes since he came back this year. His playing time has been dropping the last few weeks, Taylor's been playing better and Morningstar hasn't been shooting that well. Morningstar did hit his first 3 since the Texas game, so that's a bonus. Also, I don't remember thinking Morningstar played poorly in this game. When he was in, he moved the ball well on offense and played solid defense. Exactly what a team needs from its role players.
- Depth, depth, depth. To survive an off night from Collins and Aldrich, a couple of other guys have to fill that role or you start looking like K-State did. Xavier's putting himself in that first group again. Taylor and Markieff played great games to help fill the hole. Relly Ice throwing in a +5 is impressive as well. The knock against him is quickness and he finishes with an overall solid game against one of the quickest teams in the nation. Sticking with depth, the guards got in foul trouble early and Kansas had the guys to step in and hold ground. Very few teams can do that.
- Most of us agreed that three things needed to happen for Kansas to win: value the ball, make your free throws, and a good game from a Morris. Kansas only had 10 turnovers, shot 81.5% from the line, and Markieff finishes with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Quick Thoughts on the Opponent
- K-State finished at +12 as a team. That's incredibly bad. Want to hear something worse? They were at +13 at halftime, so they finished the second half with a -1. Ouch.
- Outside of Pullen and Clemente, the team was at -4. If they want to make a run in the tournament, they're going to have to keep their bigs out of foul trouble so they can contribute.
- For all of the hype Judge was getting in the game, I've got him at -2. Missed a couple free throws, only had 6 points, and 4 rebounds. He also committed 4 fouls and a turnover. But hey, I guess he did have a nice dunk.