With finals week(s) coming up I am reminded of the night before my first ever law school final in which my roommate decided it was a good idea to have four friends from back home spend the night...and not going to bed until 4:30 when I of course had to be up at 8. Needless to say I wasn't at my sharpest, and while I did fine on the final, I certainly didn't do as well as I could have.
Last night Kansas had a similar reaction to perhaps some disappointment in the Maui final, perhaps some fatigue, or perhaps just some rust from not playing a game in a full week. Either way they managed to pull out a comfortable, if not pretty, 23 point win over Florida Atlantic.
We're only six games into the season, but already this team's profile is staring to take shape. Offensively they are going to be merely good even at the best of times, and they are going to have some long stretches where they struggle. Defensively, however, this team has the potential to be very good. They remind me of last year's Texas team in that they haven't forced their better opponents to turn it over at an elite rate, but they are keeping them from making shots. They held Florida Atlantic to a pretty abysmal 35.4% eFG and only allowed them to get to the line for 19 FTs. They also blocked a you should assume it is a typo 13 shots.
The problem child was the offense. Thankfully they had a huge height advantage, allowing them to snag 38.9% of their misses and post a FT rate of 60%, otherwise this one could have been a bit too close for comfort. The Jayhawks managed only a 47.3% eFG themselves, and were under 50% from two as well. They were fairly poor from three as well and game by game I see-saw back and forth between trying to claim we are ready to break out from beyond the arc or conceding defeat to Warden in the "three point shooting bet that wasn't a bet" of the year.
But one thing I did win is that it is December 1st and Kansas is ranked. Where do I collect my winnings?
- Today's turnover watch centers on Elijah Johnson. His 7 were arguably worse than Taylor's 11 in Maui because of: the opponent, it was a much much higher rate (70% to just under 50%) and when Tyshawn committed those turnovers vs. Duke it was while attacking and making stuff happen, while Elijah looked like he still had an overdose of tryptophan in his system. Funnily enough I doubt his twitter account will be under attack like Tyshawn's was.
- Thomas Robinson had his 6th double double in 6 games, the most to start a season for KU, but was pretty bad. He missed multiple dunks, even more layups, and like Johnson looked generally lost. On the positive side, he did go 11-13 from the line which helped him score 19 points. He also had 17 boards and 4 blocks so I guess if I'm going to call that a bad game maybe I should lay off a bit.
- Jeff Withey was Mr. Efficient last night, making all 5 of his shots for 10 points. He didn't go to the line or rebound however, and I think we can all safely say we'd prefer an 8/7/3 type game from him vs. what he did last night.
- Conner Teahan made three early threes and finished 3-5, but his play in other areas over the course of the season kind of confirmed what I have thought all along: that he is a mid to low major player masquerading as an important contributor for Kansas.
- Kind of burying the lede here, but Releford had a really nice game, going 5-7 from two on a few great drives to the hoop. He also had 6 rebounds, dished out 4 assists and had 2 blocks while playing really good defense. Throw some sleeves on him and you have one Brady Morningstar.
- Kevin Young got to the line and rebounded well but holy he couldn't stay in front of me, so I think we answered the question as to why he doesn't play more.