Kansas Squeaks By Western Kentucky

Jamie Squire

The Jayhawks struggled mightily on offense, barely escaping being the first 1 seed to lose to a 16.

Kansas just became the first team since 2001 to win a tournament game without making a three, going 0-6 beyond the arc but still winning 64-57.

The Jayhawks shot 56% inside the arc and held Western Kentucky to sub 40% shooting from two, but Kansas turned it over on a fourth of their possessions and grabbed just 14.8% of their misses while the Hilltoppers turned it over on just 14.9% of their trips and dominated on the glass, grabbing 36.7% of their misses.

I can't figure out yet if this team doesn't think it's good enough to win a title, or if they think they are so good that they don't think they need to give a full effort all the time, but either way they're wrong. Credit to the Hilltoppers though, who held Kansas under a point per possession. Four players were in double figures and Jamal Crook almost had a double double.

I am not any more worried than I already was about the Jayhawks' chances of making a deep run: they conceivably could have lost 4 of the 5 games they won last year and made the title game, so it's not panic time yet.

  • Jeff Withey had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 7 blocks in the game, going 7-9 from the field and 3-4 from the line. He did have four fouls though, and while the majority of them are legitimate fouls, he can't afford to pick up any cheap ones if Kansas is going to make a run to the final four.
  • Ben McLemore was pretty passive, taking just 5 shots, but hopefully it was a case of him having to adjust to a new stage and he will be ready to go against North Carolina
  • Elijah Johnson had just 2 assists and 3 turnovers, and shot just 1-6 from the field
  • Naadir Tharpe wasn't much better, shooting 0-3 with 3 assists and 2 turnovers. On the bright side, Kansas won a game in which neither point guard played well.
  • Perry Ellis was just 3-7 from the field but had 7 rebounds, which were surprisingly hard to come by.
  • Travis Releford was 4-6 from the field and had 11 points. He didn't do much else offensively, but on a night where they needed some scoring from him he provided it.
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