Start to finish Kansas didn't have it. There was a stretch early where things looked promising but the defensive intensity was lacking. Tennessee was able to penetrate effectively, get good looks from the outside and despite being very shorthanded the Vols put up the most efficient offensive performance by a Kansas opponent to date.
A quick turnaround for a Wednesday game in Lincoln give the Jayhawks very little time to make any drastic improvements, but the best thing for Kansas right now might be getting back on the court and regaining some confidence. Offensively the Jayhawks appear to be lacking a little in this area. What once appeared a multitude of scoring options now appears limited. Up next is conference play, but for now a statistical look back at the loss in Knoxville.
When you factor in their effectiveness from the three point line the Volunteers shot an outstanding 56% in terms of eFG%. Tennessee was shooting well all game and if one banked three and an off balance toss with the shot clock at one are any indication, the Vols might have been on the right side of luck on Sunday as well.
Kansas on the other hand barely eclipsed the 40% mark as a once potent offense seems to be struggling to create. Point blank, this group is settling for too many jump shots and when we are getting it inside the misses from close range are troubling.
From a turnover perspective Kansas was pretty bad and Tennessee was very good. Kansas didn't value the basketball and Tennessee did. Sunday's game resembled 2008-2009 in a big way in this department and hopefully that problem can be rectified in a hurry.
The other area where Kansas lost this one was at the free throw line. Not in terms of actually making or missing but in getting there. Tennessee attacked the basket. Their dribble penetration looked too easy at times and it contributed not only to the open threes already mentioned but also got the Vols to the line 29 times in the game.
The one area Kansas did produce was on the offensive boards and in rebounding in general. Kansas did win this battle, but the unbalanced losses in the other three critical areas was too much to overcome.
|3pt FG Att||27||18|
|3pt FG Made||7||9|
|3pt FG Pct||25.9||50.0|
Looking at the player impact chart it's disturbingly similar to all those from a year ago. Kansas is relying too much on Sherron Collins. I find it hard to ever fault Collins because if no one else want it, that's his job as the team leader. The biggest problem is the field goals contributed on the interior. Cole with only three and the Morri combine for three more. Kansas is at it's best when it works the ball through the interior and effectively uses the high low. Why interior passing is such a difficulty for this team is a question that has to be answered and corrected. Cole needs more touches and he needs to be more aggressive. Same goes for the Morri who need to find themselves underneath looking for baskets as opposed to lingering at the arc. Furthermore, Brady Morningstar is supposed to be in the game because he is "a good passer" yet he had zero assists and the team as a whole had only ten.
On the bright side, Sherron had a good game minus his out of control work down the stretch. Cole dominated the boards again and Tyshawn Taylor scored a few more on Sunday. Positives were few and far between however as the biggest positive in this one is that there is plenty to learn from.
On the player stats, I usually let them speak for themselves. I do however have to wonder why we are so set on this eight man rotation. Coach Self has traditionally shortened his bench late in the season and gone 7 or 8 deep. Right now though if something clearly isn't working what's the harm in continuing to experiment a little deeper. CJ Henry and Elijah Johnson both provide more athleticism at the guard spots and could have potentially helped sure up the defense. If the Morri continue to struggle what's the harm in giving Thomas Robinson a few more minutes.
I trust Coach Self 100% because he's earned it and obviously he's one of the best in the business and I'm not even in it. Still I'd love to see a few of those guys get a shot at providing a spark when the team clearly needs one.