Was that it? Did Kansas finally find an identity? Gain some respect? Play a complete game? I'm not sure if we can definitively answer yes to any of those questions at this point but last night that Jayhawks did win a battle in the ongoing Border War. Leading up to the game I read statements claiming Kansas had not beaten anybody, Kansas struggled against mediocre teams, the Jayhawks were wildly overrated and the Jayhawks streak was primed for a fall. There was a cautious optimism among the neighboring fanbase that could not be ignored. So which is it? Is Kansas a very good team or is Missouri less than mediocre? The answer has to be one or the other.
Obviously for my money I'd say the Jayhawks are very good, because I believe Missouri to be good. What Kansas did last night in the Phog shouldn't be overemphasized but it as a solid game in an intense rivalry. The team responded to the situation, players stepped up throughout and the intensity really only fell off after the game was in hand several minutes into the second half. Besides that, the positives also include what appears to be a bit of an inside identity and an opportunity to spread some minutes around and save our legs for Saturday. A well executed plan of attack, resulting in an easy win. Rock Chalk Jayhawk and rivalry week continues!!
It's hard not to love a gameflow chart that looks like that when you're playing your rival.
If I told you Kansas would fork it over 23 times and Missouri would only give up five turnovers would you have predicted a win? I sure wouldn't have felt very good at all. It's amazing that the Jayhawks statistically speaking could play right into the hands of the Tigers yet dominate from the opening tip. Kansas had 11 fewer possessions than the Tigers, 2 more fouls and 18 more turnovers. Seriously?
What Kansas did right though can't really be measured in the stat column. Kansas found an identity defensively and that identity rested on the shoulders of a Minnesotan in the Middle. Cole Aldrich punished Missouri every time they entered the lane, blocking 7 and altering countless others. The Jayhawk guards were able to play high intensity perimeter defense with little regard for what appeared to be easy dribble penetration. Cole absolutely changed the game on the interior. Missouri shot an abysmal 28% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc. With the press not working in any shape or form, Missouri was forced to rely on a half court offense that they seem ill equipped to manage. I'd expect it to be a different story in Columbia, but Missouri does have some holes to fill.
Offensively the Jayhawks were efficient. Kansas had only 1assist fewer than the Tigers had field goals. Not a bad way to overcome a large turnovers deficit. The Jayhawks shot the ball just below the 50% mark and in terms of eFG% well over 50%. A rebounding margin of 56 to 28 is absolutely out of this world. Doubling an opponent in this area usually means good things regardless of your thoughts of the significance of the stat.
All in all, outstanding game. Tighten up a few things and this one is an absolute demolition. I fully expect Columbia to be a completely different tale but this one was a nice way to get things started in a tough week ahead.
|Stat||Game||Season Avg||Opp Season Avg|
|3pt FG Att||18||19||21||19||17||18|
|3pt FG Made||6||9||8||8||5||5|
|3pt FG Pct||33.3||47.4||38.0||41.0||30.0||31.6|
Plenty of individual performances to highlight in this one. Kansas had different player stepping up all game long but things were led start to finish by the man in the middle. Cole Aldrich said his season finally started on Saturday in Ames, and I'll be damned if I'm not a believe already. 3 blocks shy of a triple double but an absolute game changer underneath.
The Kansas boys in Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar showed up in a big way last night. Filling in what has become the 2 guard spot essentially the Kansas duo finished with a combined 23 points, 5 three pointers and 5 assists. Not bad for a pair that were probably written off beforehand due to the depth of the Missouri guards.
At the four spot we have the Morri. The Morri continue to look better with McMorris leading the charge but even Markieff made some very solid contributions with Cole in foul trouble. Line on the Morri, 26 points, 20 boards and only 4 fouls. I honestly don't see a way we lose a game if the four previously mentioned players provide this type of production.
Now for another impressive individual stat. Not because the players were on, but more because they weren't so great last night. Sherron and Tyshawn combined for only 13 points. Tyshawn outscored Sherron 7 to 6. Only 4 assists between the two of them and 8 turnovers. How did this game get so out of hand? Kansas played as a team last night. A team with great depth and great talent. That was a fun night.
|M. Dixon, Jr.||*||13||2||1||7||14||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1|