Well. Not sure there's much that can be said about last night's game other than "sh-- happens" (can I swear in posts? pretty sure I can't. God knows I make up for it in the comments). I joked on twitter last night that we shouldn't blame the refs when playing Duke because hey, it's Duke, but man were the refs bad. Let me be clear, I'm not saying they were out to get Kansas or saying they were the reason KU lost, I just think there aren't many college refs who are that good at their jobs. Oddly enough Kansas got to the free throw line more than Duke despite committing 5 more fouls.
Stop me if you've heard this before, but the biggest reason for the loss was beyond the arc. Duke shot 11-25 (44%) and were bailed out by a total heave by Tyler Thornton to win them the game. Not much you can do about that one. Part of the three point problem last night is you probably should never leave Seth Curry or Ryan Kelly to help inside, but part of it is that hey teams will sometimes shoot 44% from three on you and there's not much you can do. Kansas held Duke to 35% inside the arc, and if the two point defense is as good all year as it has been so far teams will be forced to bomb away from three to beat KU in March, and that's a good spot to be in.
Kansas did well on the glass yet again, grabbing nearly 40% of their misses and limiting Duke to grabbing a third of theirs.
The main takeaway from this game is that it reinforces my thinking that there are going to be long stretches where they just can't score and they're going to need to get better at that. But the defensive effort should keep them in every game all year and I think this team ultimately has a Final Four ceiling.
- Let's start with Tyshawn. Yes he turned it over a lot, but with this year's team he needs to attack the defense and get into the lane. If he plays passively there's no way Kansas scores enough to compete. Secondly, he had a pretty good first half and seemed to tire out considerably in the second. HCBS said he needs to manage Tyshawn's minutes better, which starts with Tharpe playing better.
- TRob was 6-15 from the field (yikes) but also had 15 rebounds (yay) and I think overall played pretty well. He was a lot better vs. the double team and a couple of his misses were due to a ton of contact. He also is starting to hit the jumper a lot more consistently which is great.
- Elijah had a 57.1% eFG, which tied for the team lead, and had a big three late that looked like it might have won it for Kansas. He didn't do anything other than that, but he's starting to be a lot more comfortable with the ball in his hands and just letting himself be an athlete, which is very positive for the team.
- Withey had 4 more fouls, but also a double double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 boards. He also blocked two shots. He could have scored a few more but for missing a couple bunnies, but he also went 6-6 from the line.
- Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm going to go eat all of the apple pie on earth.