In my preview I wrote that defensive rebounding would be a big key to the game. I also tweeted that a full night from Alexander, Lucas, and Oubre would be key.
Unfortunately, Kansas allowed Kentucky to rebound 41% of its misses (not terrible against a team like that, but shouldn't have been that high), Alexander, Lucas and Oubre played 40 minutes. Combined. And the team shot 3-23 on dunks and layups.
Part of the last stat is Kentucky's size. Part of it is tough bounces and those types of things just happen. But a lot of it is laziness and/or not being able to grasp basketball 101 type stuff.
I'm certainly not saying a team should make 100% of its shots at the rim, but Kansas left 40 points out there last night. Given that they only scored 40, that seems like a big deal.
As good as Kentucky is, last night was more about Kansas. Too often they helped off their man when they didn't really need to and gave up easy second chance points. Too often they drove to the rim and threw up prayers (looking at you, Frank Mason) rather than passing to a wide open man either in the lane or beyond the arc.
Kansas attempted just 15 threes, making only 3 of them. Not to open up this can of worms, but it sure would be helpful to have a guard who could shoot threes.
Kansas was worse from two, shooting just 19.5%. They had 27% of their shot attempts blocked.
Kansas turned it over too much, forced too few turnovers. In all it was a pretty bad night.
The one positive, I guess, is that despite being massively outsized, Kansas did ok on the glass, especially since they seemed uninterested in boxing out for most of the game. They're also young, and their best player right now (probably) is a 17 year old, so they have a lot of room to grow.
This was probably the kick in the ass Kansas needed. Kentucky is good, make no mistake, but this is more about Kansas being bad right now. They'll get better, and they'll develop a rotation. But Cliff Alexander can't play 19 minutes and Landen Lucas can't play 8 minutes and expect to beat Kentucky. Or, frankly, a lot of teams.