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Kansas Overcomes Self Inflicted Adversity To Beat TCU

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

All road wins are good wins. The Jayhawks overcame a horrible atmosphere, sluggish play, the flu, foul trouble, puzzling personnel decisions, and attempts to shoot itself in the foot and still beat a better than you'd think TCU team on the road.

The offense wasn't pretty. Despite TCU's excellent two point defense, the Jayhawks attempted just 8 threes, making 3 of them, though it is worth noting the Jayhawks shot 47.7 percent on twos against the Horned Frogs, and shot 53.3 percent at the rim against the Horned Frogs. Again, not great, but it is over 10 percent better than TCU's season average before the game. It seems the Jayhawks are determined to shoot in the low 50s at the rim regardless of opponent.

Where Kansas almost gave it all back was in the other three areas: Kansas finally had a poor turnover game, turning it over on 20.6 percent of its possessions. The Jayhawks got killed on the glass, rebounding just 27.3 percent of their misses, and Kansas attempted just 20 free throws, with more than a few coming in the end game when TCU was intentionally fouling. And this was against the 2nd most foul prone team in the league. A lot of that was referee incompetence (see Kyan Anderson's charge that wasn't a charge, or the refs ignoring players on both Kansas and TCU getting hammered on opposite possessions only to see a touch foul called, or when Devonte Graham got mugged from behind but it was called a jump ball) but a big part of it was also the Jayhawks not playing their best players for large portions of the game.

Defensively, Kansas held the Horned Frogs to just .9 points per possession, and for the most part it was a throwback defensive effort. TCU helped a lot by shooting just 16.7 percent from three, but Kansas held TCU to just 33.3 percent two point shooting. That helped paper over the cracks created in other areas, as TCU grabbed 45.6 percent of its misses. Again, some of that is Cliff, Perry, and Oubre not getting to play a lot, but a lot of defensive rebounding is basketball IQ and effort, which seem to come and go with this team at times. Kansas also got steals on just 2.9 percent of TCU's possessions, and struggled to create a lot of flow in the game.

Late in the game, TCU almost came all the way back thanks to turning on the press against the Jayhawks. Kansas previously had done really well against pressure, but this end of game performance obviously raised some questions as to how they will react when they play West Virginia. I personally think they'll be fine, as they'll obviously have a lot of that press on tape and they will be able to have an entire game to adjust to it.

It's also worth noting that Kansas gave the Horned Frogs a pretty good look to tie it at the buzzer, and didn't foul up 3. It could have been that Bill Self was comfortable with the little time remaining giving up a running heave to tie it (I don't think he thought TCU would get that good of a look, however) or it could have been that Self was comfortable going to overtime, thinking Kansas would have the big advantage there. Or he could have been afraid of TCU's offensive rebounding, and thinking Kansas could lose right there. Either way, I remain firmly on the side that you should foul as long as you can do so effectively.

  • Frank Mason basically won the game for Kansas. He was the lone Jayhawk in double figures, and he shot 8-12 on twos. He did have just 2 assists and 3 turnovers, but his continuous offensive pressure on Kyan Anderson, and Mason's defending of Anderson, forced TCU's best player to shoot just 3-12 on twos and commit 5 turnovers.
  • Wayne Selden was just 1-5 on twos, but was 1-3 on threes and took up a bit of the creative mantle, dishing out 4 assists and turning it over just once.
  • Jamari Traylor struggled a bit offensively, not scoring in 17 minutes, but he did grab 3 rebounds and had 3 blocked shots in the game.
  • Perry Ellis saw his minutes limited by fouls, as he sat almost the entire first half after picking up 2 quick ones. Ellis finished 3-6 on twos, and he had 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. I may or may not write up a full post on this, but probably the biggest thing I disagree with Bill Self on is automatically benching players who have two fouls. If he had just played Perry for the first half (or sat him for a few minutes and then let him come back in) he might have fouled out, but he also would have played more than 15 minutes and the game would not have been close at the end. Self can get away with it against TCU, but after seeing how that went against both Iowa State and last night, I hope he got the message that he won't be able to get away with that anymore.
  • Kelly Oubre played just 10 minutes thanks to struggling with the flu, and his numbers reflected that. Oubre missed all three of his shots, and grabbed just 1 rebound. He did have an assist and a blocked shot.
  • Devonte Graham was 2-2 on twos and made his only three, but didn't have an assist and committed two turnovers. I don't even know what to make of a 20 to 3 assist to turnover ratio in conference play. What a bust. Graham also had his second consecutive game with a steal off a heady play, stealing the ball from the opposing team's point guard.
  • Landen Lucas got 24 minutes and responded. Lucas was just 1-3 from the field, but drew a lot of fouls, made all 6 of his free throws, and had 7 rebounds, including 3 offensive. Lucas also had 3 blocked shots. I mentioned it during the game, but if Lucas had just a bit more lift I think he would be an extremely effective player. He is as good as anyone on the team getting position both offensively and defensively, but doesn't have the athleticism to do much after he gets there.
  • Brannen Greene played 19 minutes without attempting a three, but was 1-4 on twos, 5-6 on free throws, including some key ones late, and had 7 rebounds.
  • Cliff Alexander played just 15 minutes, which is even more ridiculous than Perry playing 15, and he was 3-5 from two and had 4 rebounds. He continues to lead the Big 12 in offensive rating.
  • Hunter Mickelson was 2-3 from the field, grabbed a rebound, and had 2 blocks in 7 minutes. He now has a 12.5 block percentage this season, which would be just shy of top 15 nationally if he had enough minutes played to qualify.
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk came in and launched three shots in three minutes. He missed his only two but was 1-2 on threes, and is up to 33.3 percent behind the arc, and is 3-7 on threes in conference play.