Duke junior guard Grayson Allen was named the preseason player of the year by multiple outlets, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s efficient from both two and three, and he took a ton of shots last year for one of the top offenses in the country. Add in the fact that Duke is still a national title favorite, and Allen seems like as good a choice as any.
Allen took roughly 40 percent of his shots from three last year, but what truly made him dangerous was his ability to score from all over: he shot 61 percent at the rim, 36 percent from the mid range, and 42 percent from three. Furthermore, he’s good both off the bounce and in catch and shoot areas, so you’re never really done guarding him.
It’s heartening, then, that the Jayhawks were able to hold Allen to shooting just 3-8 on twos and 1-7 on threes. Let’s take a closer look at how Bill Self’s defense made that happen:
Missed layup at 17:36 of the first half
This is a pretty standard possession. Allen drives right and does a pretty good job getting by Mason, but Mason, Bragg, and Lucas team up to make it a tough attempt (even if Bragg did get there late).
Missed 3 at 16:23 of the first half
Here Allen comes off a screen, catches, hesitates, and misses a three. This was one of his more open looks, though Bragg did a nice job disrupting the pass and catch enough to allow Mason to get up to him and making it an off rhythm three.
Missed 3 at 13:11 of the first half
This might be the worst one. Svi does a good job fighting through a screen.....and then goes way underneath for some reason, allowing a fairly easy three for Allen. If he just trails behind and funnels him to the left, Bragg is right there.
Missed 3 at 11:07 of the first half
Lagerald Vick gets lost a bit in the bodies (credit to Allen for setting up the screen well) but makes a hell of a recovery to force Allen to take a pump fake and then step back for three. I think Allen could have gotten it off without the pump but it certainly wouldn’t have been a clean look.
Turnover at 6:36
Just a great job here all over. There’s a lot of talk about not wanting to let guys get into the middle, but Kansas loves funneling guys there into help. Vick does a really good job trailing on the screen, Lucas does a good job stepping up to take away the jumper, and Svi digs it out.
Made layup at 4:13 of the first half
I am including a make to illustrate how hard it was for him basically all night. He gets by Vick a bit too easily, but Lucas does a good job stepping up and forcing Allen to make a circusy shot under the rim. And bonus points to Graham for not helping off Kennard.
Missed 3 at 2:11 of the first half
Most of the defensive work on this possession is done before Allen gets the ball. Svi and Vick do a good job of ball denial on their men, and Graham shoots into the handoff and forces it to occur a few feet behind the line, and late into the shot clock, so all Allen can do is hoist a guarded three.
Missed layup at 1:37 of the first half
This is when Allen went down with an injury. Mitch Lightfoot probably fouled him, but I was impressed with his ability to challenge Allen at the rim. Once he gets some experience he will know to go straight up there and it will make him that much better of a defender. The other two guys didn’t do as well. Graham slipped trying to follow him, and Vick half showed rather than getting in front of Allen all the way, who only would have had a kick out to Amile Jefferson.
Missed jumper at 17:34 of the second half
I am going to end with this one because it is the best Kansas played on Allen the whole night. First, Mason does a great job making it tough for him to catch the ball. Then, sticks with him as he tries to get by him. Then, Lucas makes a great show on the screen and is able to get back to his man (with a nice rotation by Bragg down low). Finally, Mason and the help force Allen into a floater for an airball.
Kansas isn’t all the way back to where they were last year defensively. They’re helping off shooters too much and the off ball work in general is a little sloppy. But Tuesday, and even in the Indiana game for long stretches, they showed that if you’re going to beat the Jayhawks you’re going to have to make a lot of tough shots.