Let's start by couching all future statements in this post with this: it was only Towson. That said, this team looks better than I ever thought it would. To wit: their offensive efficiency last night was 1.47 points per possession. Last year's team opened with a 1.41 effort against Longwood. Towson is bad, but Longwood was worse. So, while all questions haven't been answered offensively, there is at least reason to hope that this year's team could still be among the best in the country.
Of course, that comes with one large caveat. On Friday the team shot 10-23 (43.5%) from three last night. That is about 1% better than the best three point shooting team in the country last year, so it's obvious it won't continue. Still, they shot 66% from two and only took 30% of their shots from beyond the arc (which is fewer than last year's total), so as long as the two point shooting is good (though it won't be that good because there won't be as many breakaway dunks) they won't need to shoot as well from three.
The biggest problem on Friday was rebounding. Towson actually outrebounded the Jayhawks, grabbing 42.9% of their own misses compared to KU's 37.5%. Part of that is because Towson fairly obviously sold out on the offensive glass to the detriment of transition defense (which, even if you missed the game, you can tell by how Kansas did on the offensive glass).
More good news, and yes it's only Towson and blah blah blah, but after one game your Kansas Jayhawks are the owners of the lowest turnover rate in the nation, turning it over on just 7.5% of their possessions. Obviously that won't continue, but with Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and a true Freshman (good as he may appear to be) as the primary ball handlers I didn't think we'd have even one game with an under 10% turnover rate.
Another year of me attempting to embed the four factors chart and some player notes after the jump:
- Though Thomas Robinson had a game high 18 points, he didn't go about scoring those very efficiently. He had just a 50% eFG, and was 2-3 from the line. Still, he had a couple bunnies that he missed that I don't expect him to very often, and he took a jumper or two that were clearly only taken because of the opponent.
- eFG wise the two stars were Releford and Teahan. Releford had an 85.7% eFG, making all of his twos and 2 of his 4 threes. Teahan actually had an eFG over 100% (110 to be exact) thanks to going 4-5 from the field and 3-4 from three. Teahan obviously isn't going to defend very well, but if he can shoot a handful of threes a game I think we'll all be happy with that.
- Jeff Withey was 5-8 from two, had 4 rebounds (3 offensive) and 4 blocks. I'll take that from him every game obviously (well, maybe a couple more rebounds).
- Though he didn't shoot it well, it's tough not to be impressed with Elijah Johnson's play. He was 2-7 from three, but had 8 assists and 0 turnovers. Clearly not having to look over his shoulder on every mistake is going to help him a lot this year.
- Tharpe watch! A pretty nondescript debut, as the Freshman had a 50% eFG, going 1-1 from two and 1-4 from three. He did however have 4 assists and 0 turnovers in 19 minutes of playing time. I doubt many Freshman point guards have 0 turnovers in their collegiate debut
- Final note: In Thomas Robinson's next four games he could go up against the 1st (Anthony Davis), 77th (Hollis Thompson), 22nd (Josh Smith), 19th (Miles Plumlee) and 4th (Jared Sullinger) rated players in Draft Express's Top 100. Needless to say, I think some NBA scouts will have their eyes on him over the next month or so.