Bill Self wasn't happy with the defense last night. Without going back and rewatching the entire game, it's hard to blame him. Rotations were slow (and sometimes non existent), there wasn't a lot of challenging guys at the rim, and it was pretty easy to get to the rim. However, we're only two fake games into it, but it looks like this new era of college basketball is going to redefine how we look at offense and defense. By points per possession standards, this could be the worst team of Bill Self's tenure, but it looks like every team is going to be bad on defense. We just have to try to be the best of the worst, so to speak.
What jumps off the page immediately is that Kansas gave up almost a point per possession to Fort Hays State. I think that is a combo of youth and the new rules, but it's still a bit troubling. The second thing to jump off the page is that FHSU actually had a higher eFG. This is largely due to them being better from three (and jumpers in general) and while it's never a good thing to see, forcing the other team to take jump shots (even if they have to be a bit more open than you'd be comfortable with) probably isn't the worst strategy in the world. Better news is how often Kansas gets to the line, the defensive rebounding, and the great turnover rate. With so many free throws likely to be available this year, I do wonder if a turnover will be more costly than in years past.
- Perry Ellis pretty relentlessly attacked the rim, adding 7 free throws to an official tally of just 4 field goal attempts. He made 3 of those, and all 7 of his free throws, for 13 points. I really do think that Ellis is going to be nearly unguardable this year. If a big guy is on him, Kansas can just move him away for the basket for the catch, and then he can drive on the bigger guy. If it's a smaller forward he can obviously just post him up.
- Andrew Wiggins started slowly, but finished by going 4-8 from two and 2-2 from the line. He'll get better from three (0-2) but he really needs to get to the line more. He grabbed 3 rebounds and added 2 blocks as well. Additionally, some ESPN types and former KU greats offered some advice to him in this clip. The greatest Jayhawk ever checks in at about the 1:18 mark.
- Wayne Selden did a great job attacking the rim, going 5-6 from two and shooting 6 free throws. Like Wiggins, he'll get better from three and he'll get better from the line as well.
- Joel Embiid was just 3 for 8 but he did grab 7 rebounds in just 15 minutes played.
- It's just two games against exhibition teams, but I don't think Brannen Greene is getting redshirted. His defense looked a lot better than in the previous game, and his ability to shoot and get the shot off is going to be pretty important.
- I don't think he will get redshirted, but I do think Conner Frankamp probably should be. Like Greene, his ability to shoot is potentially valuable, but athletically he just looks a bit behind a lot of these guys, and that was against D2 competition. I can't imagine what it will look like against Big 12 teams. Plus, while I do think his presence makes Kansas a bit more likely to make a Final Four/win a championship/whatever, the added benefit that a 5th year Frankamp will have is pretty monumental. I would never sacrifice a good boost at winning a title this year for benefits in 4 years, but I think it makes sense here.
- One last note on Frank Mason. He's really exciting to watch offensively. He didn't shoot a lot, but had 6 assists to just 1 turnover (swoon) and he moves the ball well and also can get into the lane pretty regularly, so I think offensively he'll be fine even as soon as this year. But his on ball defense last night was so bad that he borderline can't be out there in a close game. Like most Freshmen, I assume he will get a lot better. Which is good, because he needs to.