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Despite Hot Shooting From TCU, Kansas Retains Lead In Big 12

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

It's a credit to TCU and Trent Johnson that that game was horrible to watch. I wouldn't call it Kansas's most inspired effort of the season by any means, but that has more to do with TCU's effort and play than Kansas's. Still, the Jayhawks managed to score 1.12 points per trip despite that effort, and still held TCU to an even point per trip despite the Horned Frogs shooting well from three until they got into catchup mode late and shooting 73.1 percent from the line.

The best news for the Jayhawks defensively was the defensive rebounding. The Horned Frogs are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in both the conference and country, but the Jayhawks limited TCU to rebounding just a third of its misses.

The other good news is that TCU, which came into the game as one of the best interior defensive teams in the entire country, allowed the Jayhawks to shoot 63.2 percent inside the arc and 63.6 percent in close. Despite the Jayhawks not getting to the line as much as you'd think against the 2nd most foul prone team in the league, it didn't matter with that type of shooting. It also didn't matter then that Kansas attempted just 10 3-pointers in the game, which normally would be a death sentence.

On the negative side, Kansas rebounded just 19.2 percent of its misses, and the lack of rebounding is starting to be a real concern, despite the potential rebounding talent on the team. Still, the Jayhawks shot well and limited turnovers against one of the better turnover forcing teams in the league, which will (obviously) limit the need for rebounds.

One other interesting note was on the defensive strategy on the perimeter. TCU can't shoot, at all, so it was a bit interesting to see Kansas's perimeter defenders hedge extremely hard and play pressure defense on the perimeter rather than allowing TCU to attempt to shoot over the top. If I had to hazard a guess, and a guess is all it would be, I wonder if they were prepping to play Kansas State, who is going to need some threes to win on Monday, and/or skipped prepping for TCU altogether. In any event, it didn't come back to bite the Jayhawks, who are now 4 (attainable) wins away from an outright Big 12 title.

  • Perry Ellis had one of his best games of the season, scoring 23 points on 9-10 shooting against one of the best interior defensive teams in the country. He also had some pretty exciting dunks, and although it won't get the ink, he played some of the best perimeter defense on the day.
  • Frank Mason had a pretty up and down game, scoring 14 points on 5-7 shooting from two, but he had 4 turnovers to go with his 5 assists. He also struggled on Kyan Anderson, who had 7 assists and a turnover.
  • Wayne Selden also struggled, scoring just 5 points and grabbing 2 rebounds. He did have an assist and a blocked shot.
  • Kelly Oubre apparently hates to play TCU, as he didn't score in the game, missing all 3 of his shots. He played well defensively in boxscore terms, grabbing 4 rebounds, and adding a block and 2 steals. I do think he played well in spurts other than that, but there were times he struggled as well. Still I don't think it's anything to worry about. Freshmen have games when they're not into it.
  • Speaking of which, Cliff Alexander played just 11 minutes, was 1-4 from the field, missed a dunk, and grabbed just 2 rebounds. He struggled defensively, getting beat in space multiple times, and just overall looked off. Cliff also had a noticeably larger chest pad on, which may have contributed to said issues. Again, I don't see his playing time changing much going forward, but depending on the opponent that can either be a good or bad thing.
  • Devonte Graham had a career high 20 points, making all 5 of his twos and both of his threes. He also had 3 assists, but paired that with 3 turnovers even if one of them shouldn't have gone to him. Still, he got to the line, got to the rim, and played good defense. He's going to be great.
  • Jamari Traylor mostly justified Self's faith, making 3 of his 4 shots, but he grabbed just 2 defensive rebounds in 24 minutes. Given how the rest of the Jayhawks picked him up, it wasn't a big deal, but if the Jayhawks run into another issue where they need rebounding, I think we know where we need to look.
  • Brannen Greene was 1-2 on twos, 1-2 on threes, and had 6 defensive rebounds. He also retained his lead as the top offensive rating in the Big 12.
  • Landen Lucas played 9 minutes and was 0-3 from the field. Decent rim protection from him, but not much else in a disappointing effort.
  • Student manager Chris Huey, who has dealt with problems stemming from collapsed lungs, got into the game at the tail end and almost made a shot.