Never worried; always cool, calm and collected. I'm talking about myself, of course; not the Jayhawks Monday night in College Station. Throughout much of the game, they looked stagnant offensively, they looked slow on the defensive end and they lacked a bit of hustle that Bill Self coached teams are known for. Once they got past that for the final three minutes of the game - the ones that really count - they were the better team and won. Simple as that, really. It is always encouraging to go on the road and play an ugly game, but find the resolve and fortitude to get the victory. So, bravo for that, fellas. Number one and undefeated in conference play lives to see another day.
Player of the Game - Cole Aldrich - 12 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, 6-10 field goals. It's hard to go against a double-double and halfway to a trip-doub when you're tied for the team high in points. He wasn't overly impressive, but he gets it done. How many unscored points does he account for a game for the opponent?
What Went Right
Brady Morningstar is stickier than Elmer's Glue. I hated on him undersevedly so after the Iowa State game on Saturday, so I feel obligated to make special note that while he failed to score in Monday's game, he had four rebounds and five assists in only 24 minutes. He only took two shots, because he understands his job and what it is that he is expected to do. In a way, I kind of wish I was Brady Morningstar. Think about it - you're cool because who else wears sleeves under a basketball jersey, you look like the greatest Nickolodeon cartoon ever - Doug - and you're so valuable that you come back from suspension and head coach Bill Self immediately puts you back into the playing rotation. Yeah, I definitely wanna be that guy.
Morris Free Throws. They get fouled a lot. Therefore, they will shoot a lot of free throws. Those "free" shots must be converted to points. Coming into the game, Marcus and Markieff were shooting 68 and 56 percent from the line, respectively. Monday night: 90 percent. (9-10) There's only so much you can say about shots taken with everyone standing still by rule and uncontested. So, we all know what happens when you can't make your free throws. Yes, Memphis, I'm still making fun of you.
For as much as Marcus was hindered by fouls, he still scored 12 points in just 20 minutes. It seemed like he had a bad game, but his rate of production per minute was still right on par with, if not higher, than the rest of conference play. I think I've mentioned it before, but he seems to have games where he just doesn't get rebounds. This was one of those games. He had three. Texas A&M had eighteen offensive rebounds, compared to just eight for Kansas. That's frustrating. Just grab the ball when it doesn't go in, Marcus. That's what rebounding is.
What Could Have Gone Better
I think Sherron Collins is hurt. Surely sometime in the next two or three weeks Bill Self will mention somewhere in a press conference that Sherron is feeling so much better, is back near 100 percent and that he has been playing with a nagging injury for about a month. Ever since the Nebraska home game when he limped around a bit after injuring either his ankle or his knee, he has been off. And, it's not just off a little bit. It's been bad. But, we all know the legend that is #4 and that he has played much of his career with similar injuries, so expect him to get some time to recover and be ready for the tournament run. After all, it is what he came back for. Just, hurry back sooner rather than later, Sherron. But, do take however long you'd like. You are the man.
The lack of development of Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey really hurt. Each played one minute. I'm playing to the crowd a bit here, (KGRtC) although I do agree to an extent. Robinson's potential is obvious to anyone who watched him play early in the year. He has all the tools, but just needs the seasoning and reps. Perhaps more opportunity to gain both of those things late in non conference play would have been more beneficial come this time of year. Or, maybe coach Self just wants to go small without two of the three regular bigs with Xavier at the four. Honestly, if that is the case, that is pure stupid to me. Why not give Robinson a chance to start what is assuredly to be a great career a bit early and give the team another big man in the rotation? Actually, the more I think and write by the second, I think it is stupider and stupider. I love HCBS. We all do. But, let's not be Roy here and be stubborn to a fault. He won'y get all of those unused timeouts back when he needs them. You won't get a fifth year of Thomas if you need him, either.
Important Statistical Battles
Field Goal Percentage - Kansas 43.5%, Texas A&M 34.9%
Three Point Percentage - Kansas 10%, Texas A&M 23.8%
Free Throw Percentage - Kansas 69.2%, Texas A&M 45.5%
Turnovers - Kansas 11, Texas A&M 13
When you don't play well, win the little battles, like holding onto the ball and taking and making better shots and that's your formula for success when things get hairy. 11-0 and the magic number stands at just three now.