Sweet 16, here we come!! The Kansas Jayhawks are alive and well in the NCAA tournament after an ugly but impressive win over the Dayton Flyers. Kansas sputtered early but defense was the mainstay and because of it the Jayhawks pulled away late.
This game was a prime example of how solid a gameday coach Bill Self really is. The players weren't necessrily at their best. Sure the stats will say otherwise for a couple, especially Cole Aldrich, but even he seemed gassed and struggling with his decisions at times. In the end though the gameplan put together by the staff created all kinds of problems for the Flyers.
I felt better about this one from the get go. There was never that horribly uncomfortable moment like we had against NDSU. I thought we might dictate the pace moreso than we did, but again the staff was content to pack it in and let Dayton try to knock down mid-range and long jumpers. Great plan, great win and onto the next round and another weekend of meaningful basketball.
More stats review and game breakdown after the jump...
When it comes to the four factors to winning Kansas took an advantage in every area. Cole led the charge on the glass, the defense absolutely stiffled Dayton's field goal shooting while Kansas managed to do decent. Again though the area that I've really been paying attention to a lot lately is the turnover department. Kansas wasn't great in this department today but facing full court pressure and a very athletic, pesky defense in Dayton I thought we might regress a bit. Truthfully though take away the 5 turnovers by Aldrich and Tyshawn Taylors 6 and everyone else did a fairly nice job taking care of the ball, especially Sherron. There's still more to be desired, but I can live with the signs for optimism.
Player impact if you'd believe it is dominataed by two guys. Sherron Collins and of course the only Kansas basketball player to ever record a triple double Cole Aldrich. Back in his hometown Cole stepped up big and owned the paint on both ends of the court today. Offensively there is room to improve still but on the glass and defensively it's hard to argue with how huge Cole is for this team.
Statistically from a team standpoint two things standout in a big way. First holding Dayton to 22% shooting, are you kidding me!! No one can win a game like that and it honestly had a lot to do with the Jayhawks defense. Sure they missed some open looks but Kansas also played solid defense all game long. The other area is on the glass. A sizeable rebounding edge against a team that struggles to shoot well really is going to demoralize them and that's what we saw.
Looking at the player stats I always try to find that third guy, the one beyond Cole and Sherron that was critical and today I'm not sure there was anyone. Sure there were guys that put together a few points here and there but I think the statsheet doesn't show what the rest of the team provided today and that was executing their roles as defensive players and doing it well. One more mention is due for Cole Aldrich though with that crazy 13 point, 20 rebound and 10 block performance recording the University of Kansas' FIRST ever triple double in his hometown, congrats big guy.