Kansas Basketball: A (semi) Statistical Recap of Missouri

COLUMBIA, MO - FEBRUARY 04: After turning over the ball, Tyshawn Taylor #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks gets a pat on the head from teammate Thomas Robinson #0 during the second half of a game against the Missouri Tigers at Mizzou Arena on February 4, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri. Missouri won 74-71.(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Let's start with the good: Missouri needed to shoot 40% of its shots from deep, and make 45% of those threes, to win by only three on their home court despite a host of other factors. Kansas didn't play very well on Saturday but were one good possession of execution away from a commanding lead in the Big 12.

But, the bad looms: Kansas will now probably have to sweep in Waco and Manhattan, not to mention win the return trip from Missouri. Up 71-63 with 3:25 left, Kansas allowed an 11-0 run by Missouri to let it slip away.

It's tough to point to one specific thing that happened, but let's start defensively: though Missouri shot well from three it was their two point defense that hurt just as much: Kansas allowed Missouri to shoot 57.6% from inside the arc, which is better than their season average in Big 12 play. Jeff Withey didn't have much impact on the game, only blocking one shot and changing a couple others, and he only grabbed 3 defensive rebounds. They kept Ricardo Ratliffe in check, mainly by getting him in foul trouble, but the Kansas guards did a poor job overall of sticking with their Tiger counterparts.

I thought Kansas, all told, did a pretty good job at hanging onto the ball. Their turnover rate, 22.4%, was the exact rate at which Missouri forces its opponents to turn it over. But when factoring in the fact that it was on the road and Missouri has a mid pack conference strength of schedule. Even better was that Kansas forced Missouri to turn it over roughly 3% more than they usually do.

The most likely culprit was some late game execution. And it brings up an interesting strategic question: do you go into a slow down late in the game, or do you shoot the first good shot you have? Personally I am right in the middle: I wouldn't aimlessly pass it around the perimeter and wait for the shot clock to run down, but I probably wouldn't have gone as soon as Kansas did on some possessions either.

  • Thomas Robinson had a fantastic performance, scoring 25 points on 11-17 shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds. He had 5 turnovers, but in all played about as well as we could have asked.
  • Speaking of which, Conner Teahan made both of his threes and had a steal as well (that even I could have grabbed but hey he still had to do it). He didn't play terribly well on defense but wasn't a complete disaster either.
  • Jeff Withey took one shot and scored 0 points. I had a bad feeling he wouldn't be factor in this one, but I didn't think it would be this bad.
  • The only Jayhawk to go 40 minutes was Elijah Johnson. He made a pair of pull up jumpers and had a couple of dunks as well, but was just 1-7 from three, including a hideous final heave (more on that tomorrow maybe)
  • three final notes:
First, I thought it was absolute genius of Self to put Robinson on Matt Pressey. He shoots 38% or so from three on the year, but is the least dangerous of all their perimeter guys and it allowed Robinson to sag in a bit more. Great stuff from him.

Secondly, a fanbase to the East might have put this front and center, but I'll just say that Kansas fouled Missouri 20 times next to Missouri's 10, despite Kansas taking 40 twos to Missouri's 26.

Lastly, I am no conspiracy theorist, but I haven't seen an AD gleefully shake the hands of three officials in the tunnel after the game either.

(actually one more: It was annoying watching the first few minutes of the game through haze caused by fireworks, so I can't even imagine what it was like to play in that)
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