Let's skip talking about the first half, shall we? The Jayhawks went into the break leading by just four, and playing fairly uninspired basketball along the way.
However, a big second half propelled the Jayhawks to a 94-61 win over Loyola which saw Kansas score 1.18 points per possession and allow .76, a great number considering how bad the first half was.
Like every other year, I'm not going to read too much into what happens in games against cupcakes. There's bound to be a letdown after coming back from Maui, there was a lot of excitement over Cheick Diallo's first game, etc. etc. etc. But it was nice to see the Jayhawks get out and run, limit Loyola's second chances (Kansas grabbed 71 percent of the possible defensive rebounds), finally force some turnovers (26.3 percent of Loyola's possessions), and put up a ton of points without needing too many threes. Although it looked awful, Kansas shot 58 percent in close, and managed to take 36 of its 73 field goal attempts from there.
Again, not much to see in this one. It was good to see Diallo get out there, and now we wait to see how things look with Landen Lucas (and Brannen Greene) back in the lineup.
Devonte Graham had a quiet evening offensively, going 3-6 and dishing out just 2 assists with a turnover, but he played excellent defense again for the most part. I still think the ball should be in his hands a bit more often when he's on the court, but it's tough to make a change like that when the offense is humming along like it is.
Frank Mason has struggled shooting the ball so far, and was just 2-8 on twos last night, but he had 5 assists to just 1 turnover, and also grabbed a team high 4 steals. I wasn't going to mention it, but he could have been 3-8 on twos if not for one of the worst dunk attempts ever (sorry, Frank).
Wayne Selden continued his hot streak, going 4-6 on twos, 3-6 on threes, grabbing 6 rebounds, and dishing out 4 assists. He attacked the rim well, played some good defense at times, and continued to show that when he's hot he deserves to be mentioned alongside the rest of the Big 12 player of the year candidates.
Perry Ellis struggled to finish inside at times, but still was 4-8 on twos and he made a three. It wasn't his best night, but he wasn't really asked to be the man in this one, and if Kansas continues to run up and down the floor like they did last night I think he'll get some more easy finishes.
Jamari Traylor started but played just 14 minutes. He was 1-2 from the field and had 6 rebounds (4 defensive) in 14 minutes. He also had a blocked shot, just 1 foul, and no turnovers. Last night wasn't the best opponent to illustrate it, but I think he can be an effective player in short spurts, but isn't a guy you want playing 30 minutes due to his style of play.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has gone a bit cold from three, going just 1-4 in this one, but he did go 3-5 on twos. He had a couple nice assists and a rebound, but this was a bit of an off night for Svi.
Cheick Diallo was the man of the night with 3 blocks, 6 rebounds, and 13 points. He brought the house down with a Karl Malone throwback dunk (coming off a fast break that he started, I might add). He's going to look terrible some nights, and he's going to foul a lot, especially right away, but he's awesome and raises the fun quotient on this team about 10,000 percent.
Hunter Mickelson also had 3 blocked shots, and was 3-5 from the field. I don't know how many regular minutes he has left in the season, but he's shown he can be effective against the right opponent.
Carlton Bragg was 2-4, had 5 rebounds, and a block. He played just 13 minutes, but I think his playing time will only increase going forward, as he adds both jump shooting and passing ability to the offense. Bragg had a nice take to the rim last night from about 30 feet out as well.
Lagerald Vick showed off his athleticism with a put back dunk, had 2 assists, and a steal. He probably won't get a ton of minutes this season, but I think people (and I am guilty of this as well) discount him too much when considering how the team will look in a year or two.
Tyler Self banked in a three and I thought the team was going to run onto the court like it was Rucker Park. Bill Self should have done so and then dealt with the technical.