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Kansas Overcomes Turnovers (and Refs) To Defeat Iowa State

Matthew Holst

After a game in which everything went the way I thought it would, the Jayhawks and Cyclones played a game that somehow managed to surpass all comprehension. Georges Niang, who owned a top 100 eFG and shot 57% from two last year, shot just 4-11 from two last night (and 0-9 from three). The Cyclones, who came into the game making around 9 threes per game (and shooting around 36%) shot 4-25 from beyond the arc. The best two offenses in the Big 12 scored .99 and .90 points per possession.

Iowa State also attempted 15 more free throws than the Jayhawks, and were whistled for 9 fewer fouls, a margin that only grows when you take out the four intentional fouls by Iowa State at the end of the game. But, refs aside, Kansas tried their best to give that game to Iowa State. The Cyclones don't force turnovers (even after last night's effort they rank 227th nationally) but somehow Kansas turned it over on 30% of its possessions.

Champions do two things: they annihilate teams they should annihilate, and they win when they're not playing well. One of Kansas's three best players had an awful game in a game he should have dominated, Kansas sent Iowa State to the line a lot, didn't get any calls, and turned it over on 30% of its possessions. Yet they won the game.

That hides what a masterful job they did defensively though. Iowa State was the best two point shooting team in the country coming into the game, and the Jayhawks held them to just 40% from two. That is close to their season total from last year, and they did it against the best two point shooting team in the country. On the other side, the Jayhawks shot 55.5% from two. Coupled with an offensive rebound percentage of 43%, and it meant that if Kansas didn't turn the ball over, they were pretty much scoring.

By the way: In possessions where Kansas didn't turn the ball over, they scored 1.43 points per possession.

Andrew Wiggins: 9.5. Wiggins had a double double in this one...and then the second half started. Wiggins finished 6-11 from two, 1-5 from three, oh and he had 19 rebounds. He also guarded Melvin Ejim for most of the game and Ejim went 3-10 from two. Not too shabby. (oh and the block at the end of the game where he apparently just did it because he could was hilarious and awe inspiring).

Naadir Tharpe: 8. Tharpe had equal amounts of assists and turnovers, and DeAndre Kane abused him a bit defensively, but Tharpe shot 4-5 from two, 3-4 from three, and 6-7 from the line, including some big ones down the stretch.

Wayne Selden: 8. When Kansas signed Wayne Selden, this is the type of player I thought he would be. He was just 1-5 from three, but he had 6 assists and just 1 turnover, and he was KU's best post feeder all night.

Joel Embiid: 9. Embiid actually had a sub-100 offensive rating in this one thanks to some turnovers, but he deftly passed the ball out of the double team, had 9 rebounds, and was 7-8 from the floor. There was a two minute stretch in the second half where it was Embiid's world, and the rest of us were just living in it.

Perry Ellis: 4. As good as it was for some other guys, it was as bad for Ellis. In a game I thought he would dominate due to Iowa State's smaller bigs, Ellis was 4-13 from the floor, though he did have 6 rebounds. He has developed a bad habit of missing makeable shots, and he'll need to clean that up if Kansas is going to win the title.

Jamari Traylor: 6. Bad offense (3 turnovers) coupled with good defense and energy (6 rebounds).

No ratings for anyone else, but I'm still puzzled why no Andrew White. It's pretty clear that Self doesn't trust Greene, and barely trusts Frankamp.

Final note: I dug the uniforms once again. They were less popular on the internet, but I enjoyed them.