The game was certainly nothing to remember, so let's start the recap off with a fun fact instead: if you add up the ages of the two commentators, Brent Musberger and Bobby Knight, and then former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who got a nice ovation during the game, and then go back in time that many years, the US Constitution wasn't a thing yet. I'm guessing the phrase "back in the day" was used roughly 8,000 times before, during and after the game by those three.
As for the game itself, Kansas was disappointingly nondescript on offense, scoring just 1.03 points per possession, but remember that is against a pretty good defensive group that really makes a team play outside its comfort zone and struggle to get points. Kansas managed to win despite having a worse eFG than the Aggies in large part because of their defense but also because of their ability to get to the line. FT Rate is the least important of the four factors, but I argued that this year it would have an increased importance for this year's team because of our relative inability to score in the half court. It sure helped out last night, as Kansas had a 48.9 FT rate, and went 20-23 from the line.
Defensively Kansas did really well, even if it didn't seem like it at times. They allowed just .87 points per trip, and allowed A&M to shoot just 36% from two. If not for a 7-12 effort from behind the line (that we maybe should have seen coming but nonetheless was nearly double their season average rate) it could have been an even better defensive effort.
Also, because these really are the two most important issues of the day: the yelling of Chiefs at the end of the anthem was pretty limited, and confined to mostly one section. Same with the woo in the Rock Chalk Chant. So it seems we only have one small group of stupid people to get rid of before we will be dumb-free. There also was a nice Big 12 chant at the end of the game that was a fun to be a part of.
- Let's start out on a different note and highlight Jeff Withey. Withey had 10 points, 4 rebounds and 8 blocks. I noted in the preview that A&M generally does a good job of not getting their shots blocked and wondered whether Withey would be up to the challenge. Let's all stop doubting him now. I don't want to put too much pressure on him but that's the best defensive effort I have seen from a KU player in my memory. Even better than Cole's triple double in the NCAA tournament. Withey is now the second best shot blocker in the entire country, and also had a nice tip off a miss right to Robinson for the three point play that help sealed it. And we have another year of him. I'm giddy.
- Thomas Robinson struggled from the field, going just 4-10, but made all 10 of his free throws to finish with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He decided to join Withey in the block party as well, recording 4 of his own. He struggled a bit passing out of the double (and triple) team, but I still wish Kansas would have gone to him more.
- Robinson is our best player, but Tyshawn may be the most important player. He went 3-3 from two, 3-6 from three and 2-4 from the line. He also played some really good defense (then again who couldn't against A&M's guards) and only turned it over twice.
- This was probably Elijah Johnson's worst game as a Jayhawk. He went 0-6 from three and didn't really do much else. But hey he made his only two he took, a nice pull up jumper. Shooting from within your range: what a novel concept!
- Conner Teahan went 1-5 from three, but other than his problems shooting I thought he played well in terms of moving the ball and not being awful on defense. A&M is the perfect team to play him lots of minutes because you can hide him on defense really easily and you need his outside shooting (or at least the threat of it) to stretch the defense, and his ball moving skills come in handily as well.
- Tharpe watch! Tharpe came in for about 10 seconds, was promptly stripped and scored on by Dash Harris, who then trash talked him, and then was taken out. Let's skip Tharpe and compose a little letter to Dash here: Dear Dash: how are you? first of all, your name is Dash. It's a stupid name. Unless it is an ironic nickname because you are slow and terrible. Speaking of terrible, you are terrible. Your offensive rating is 89.9 and your eFG is 39.9%. The number of games when you haven't been the worst player on the floor can be counted on one hand, and there is a 99.9% chance that Naadir Tharpe has a better career than you. But I hope you enjoyed your 5 seconds of fun.
- Next up, Kansas needs to regain its focus fast because they have a date with Hilton Magic on Saturday.