Naturally, the two main stories yesterday involved teams other than KU losing: Duke's loss will probably put KU at #1 in the polls on Monday, and Texas's loss means we are once again in control of our destiny for a share of consecutive conference title #7.
But before we tackle that we need to take a gander back at the Oklahoma game. First, defensively: while it's hard not to be a little worried about the defensive effort, the effort is all that has been missing lately, not the ability. Kansas gave up 1.15 PPP, but as I said a lot of that was due to some lapses after the lead got pretty big (and early when OU was making everything they threw up). Though I will concede that it is troubling Kansas only forced turnovers on 9% of OU's possessions.
But offensively it was everything we could have asked for. The Jayhawks converted at a 1.34 PPP rate and the team had a 63% eFG as a whole. Their offensive rebounding rate was at 50%, very good, and they held OU to just 17.9%. As I learned on twitter tonight from John Gasaway, Kansas is the 3rd best team in the country in terms of their defensive rebounding compared to their conference. What was once perceived to be a weakness has somehow turned into a strength. I know it is easier to keep an eye on our flaws (and I am just as guilty of that), but more and more it is looking like the only way Kansas loses in the tournament is some combination of an opposing team going off from 3 and/or a close game coming down to free throws (but again I am not terribly worried there because all of KU's better ball handlers shoot from the line fairly well).
- Markieff had 19 and 10 and oh by the way leads the Big 12 in double doubles. He was 7-11 from two and 5-7 from the line, and both he and his brother's free throw percentages have steadily gone up, adding even more to two of the most complete games in the country.
- Marcus was 8-10 from the line, which along with going 6-8 from two and 1-2 from three meant that he had 23 points (and did so with a 75% eFG). Marcus was one rebound from a double double himself, but did pull down a game high 4 offensive rebounds.
- Let's get to the main event: a fairly nondescript game for Elijah Johnson as he was 1-2 from three and made both of his foul shots. He didn't turn it over but only had one assist. It really was a game where he didn't try to play spectacularly, but didn't play out of control either. And quite frankly I'm just fine with that. The team needs Tyshawn and Selby slashing into the lane, but they also need someone to take care of the ball. And obviously his health is most important as he was hit on the head by Cade Davis, though it seemed he was feeling better by the end of the game.
- Thomas Robinson had a really hard luck game, turning it over 4 times and banging his knee against an OU player. He finished 2 of 4 for 4 points and had 5 rebounds in 10 minutes.
- Last mini note: Josh Selby was only 1-3 from three, but it looked like his jumpshot was much better this game. Hopefully he can get that stroke back.