One of the gaps (so to speak) I've always suspected in KenPom involve experienced mid majors that shoot really well and don't turn the ball over much but also aren't really big or athletic enough to compete with a Big 12 team. We saw that in spades last night as the smaller Belmont front line was dominated by the Jayhawks' front court whenever the ball was inside.
However, though the scoreline would disagree, there is reason to be not completely satisfied with the effort in this one. Although Belmont scored just .78 points per trip, a large part of that was the fact that they shot 8-38 from three. Kansas defended the three pretty well for the most part because they knew that's what Belmont likes to do, but the Bruins did shoot 53.8% from two, a pretty troubling number.
Offensively, the most encouraging thing is that Kansas is starting to snap out of its jump shooting woes. They won't shoot nearly 50% from three every game but we know they have the talent to shoot well from three and they responded, going 10-21 from beyond the arc. Most encouraging though was the 14% turnover rate against a team that has a very experienced backcourt and does a good job of turning opponents over.
- Ben McLemore had his most efficient game as a Jayhawk, going 2-2 from two and 4-5 from three. He won't do that every year obviously but he is now up to 37.5% from three after some concerns earlier this year.
- Speaking of shooting, Andrew White got some playing time and responded in a big way. 3-3 from two and 3-5 from three. He's now 7-15 from three on the year and regardless of other warts he has (and there are many) he needs to get 10-15 minutes per game to let him shoot a few threes.
- Elijah Johnson didn't score much but had 9 assists next to just 1 turnover, attacked the basket, and played good defense on the Belmont guards.
- Another awesome game for Travis Releford: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals. If he had a better jumper I really think some NBA team could take a flyer on him, but as it is I think he will carve out a pretty nice career in Europe. In the interim, however, he'll have to settle for being maybe the most underrated player in the country.