Kansas has won a lot of games in a lot of different ways this year. They've won with hot shooting. They've won with stifling defense. They've made it look pretty, and they have sure won ugly. They did all four at times yesterday, defeating Kansas State 70-54.
Offensively Kansas scored 1.11 points per trip and had an eFG of 55.7%, making 7 of the 14 threes they took. They also moved the ball as well as they ever have this year: Each player who played more than 2 minutes had either two or three assists. They were, however, accompanied by turnovers. On 22.2% of their possessions to be exact.
It didn't matter with how well they played defensively, however. Kansas State had the league's second best offense in conference play, scoring 1.12 points per possession, but for the third time against Kansas they failed to score even a point per trip, this time clocking in at .86 points per possession. Kansas hounded Rodney McGruder all night, as he went just 5-12 from three, and Angel Rodriguez, who had a 39.3% assist rate this year, had just 1 assist all game. The Jayhawks did their customary good work on the defensive glass, and had as good of a three game stretch as they have had all year. Momentum is bogus, but with how confident this team has looked lately, the Baylor game excepted, they're sure playing well at the right time.
As for the #1 seed stuff, the Big 12 isn't a very good league RPI wise this year but Kansas is still a double champion, they're 5-1 against the top 25 RPI, and have more top 50 wins than anyone. The TCU loss is potentially a killer, but hopefully they have done enough to grab a 1 seed. And, because of how it shakes down in terms of Georgetown and Miami/Duke (if one of them is a 1) not being allowed out East, and with one of Gonzaga and New Mexico likely out West, this might be a year to take that 4th #1 seed and go out West vs. having a better location. Either way we will find out tonight.
- Jeff Withey was named Big 12 tournament MVP, and for good reason. He was 5-9 from the field and 7-10 from the line for 17 points, and added 9 rebounds and a block in this one, but I wish I had the time to chart how many shots he affects, because he really is the one player more than any other a coach has to gameplan around.
- Perry Ellis also deservedly makes an appearance on the all tournament team. In this one he had 12 points on 5-6 shooting, had a follow up dunk and made a three. He added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a block.
- Kevin Young gave Kansas awesome energy early and finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds. His leg looked to be just fine, but almost a week off will be a big help.
- Bad Elijah showed up in this one, as he had just 3 assists and 6 turnovers. He played well on the other end of the floor, but he needs to at least break even with the opposing point guard for KU to win. Fortunately that happened last night, but it's something to watch going forward.
- Naadir Tharpe had just 2 assists, but was 4-6 from three, and is back up to 33% from beyond the arc.
- Travis Releford scored just 6 points, but had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals, and played masterful defense on Rodney McGruder.