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9 Days Until Kansas Basketball: A Semi Statistical Recap of Washburn

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Kansas vs Villanova Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Like the Jayhawks last night, I am going to put forth the bare minimum effort into this recap but I am so talented things will work out anyway.

Which will Bill Self be more pissed about, Kansas getting killed on the boards, or Kansas turning it over more? Probably the offensive rebounds, but neither is too good of a story.

An optimist could say it was just an exhibition game against a team they obviously were going to beat, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go nuts boxing out and obviously guys are going to be a bit sloppier with the ball going for highlight reel plays, and obviously Kansas isn’t going to be running much of an offense with Indiana and Duke coming up. I buy the latter two, but not the first one.

I do think that unfortunately Kansas is going to struggle to rebound all year when Landen Lucas isn’t in. I just hope Bill Self doesn’t play worse players because of it (although it would be ironic for him to suddenly care about defensive rebounding and/or sit Carlton Bragg because of it given how much he played Jamari Traylor last year).

The Jayhawks clearly look like a team that’s going to want to run, but as Bill Self said after the game they didn’t want to run too many sets in their 4 guard lineup, I expect them to slow down and play a bit more halfcourt as the season progresses. Kansas attempted 22 of their 59 field goals from three (roughly 37 percent of their field goal attempts), which seems like a good percentage for this team.

Defensively, Kansas looked fine. Washburn was 10-26 from three (roughly 38 percent) and 18-47 from two (also roughly 38 percent). Even though Washburn was a smaller team, holding anyone to 38 percent inside the arc is encouraging, especially with all of the offensive rebounds they gave up. With Landen Lucas anchoring the interior, and a five person perimeter demon of Mason, Graham, Svi, Vick, and Jackson, I don’t have many concerns about the defense.

Lastly, the fouls. Holy crap stop with the fouls. Guys should be allowed to fight for post position, and every little bump on a drive isn’t a foul. I liked them getting rid of all the grabbing on the perimeter, but body contact is fine. The call that Azubuike fouled out on (which the announcers somehow agreed with) is never a foul. It just isn’t.

Given that this is the first game of the year, I am going to solicit some input on what to do with the player notes. I have graded 1-10 before, given letter grades, and also just talked with no explanation. Feel free to let me know what you prefer, or if there’s something else entirely you want.

  • Carlton Bragg played just 14 minutes, with Bill Self sending a message about his lack of defensive rebounding (again, I don’t expect this message to persist for long). Bragg made 3 of his 4 shots and had a block and a steal.
  • Landen Lucas was 3-4 from the field and 4-5 from the line, but had just 1 rebound and 3 turnovers. He’s the best returning rebounder in the Big 12, so he’ll be fine.
  • Frank Mason was certainly the best player in the game. He was 4-7 on twos and 2-4 from three, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists (and I think he got robbed of an assist). Given that finishing has always been his biggest problem, if he can shoot like this I may have massively undershot him this year (although we will have to see it against bigger teams).
  • Devonte Graham was 2-5 from three, and had 3 assists to 1 turnover. He didn’t really do a ton, but he’ll obviously have a good season.
  • Josh Jackson came out slow in his debut, but finished 6-12 from the field and 1-3 from three. Even if he can shoot 33 percent from three, that should be fine. I saw some comments in the game thread about his shot looking fine, which I totally disagree with, but as long as he can repeat it consistently I think he’ll be able to make a third of his threes or so. He had 5 turnovers, which is a bit worrisome, but a lot is probably nerves. He also showed off a really good IQ on defense, and already looks like one of the better off ball defenders on the team.
  • Lagerald Vick certainly showed why I think so highly of him. He’s a great perimeter defender, he’s uber athletic, and was 1-2 from three.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk had 4 turnovers, but was 4-6 from three and had 5 rebounds. As long as he keeps getting in rhythm threes, he’s going to have a good year.
  • Dwight Coleby had 6 rebounds, but didn’t make a shot and generally looked a step slow out there. He is clearly still recovering from his knee injury, which is disappointing given how good he was as a sophomore.
  • Udoka Azubuike can dunk. He had a couple thunderous slams and finished with 5 points, a rebound, and 2 blocks. He also fouled out, but a couple of those weren’t fouls (or at least won’t get called as we go through the season).
  • Mitch Lightfoot is a bit undersized, but had 4 offensive rebounds to lead the team, and 7 total rebounds to finish 2nd. He also had a pretty nice block. He’ll get better at finishing once he gets stronger, and my 150% of Kevin Young prediction already looks good. Yay me.