One maxim of conference play is you take wins wherever you can get them. That was certainly true last night as Kansas squeaked out a 6 point win against TCU that oddly seemed both closer and not as close as the score indicated. Kansas started off unable to buy a basket, and then finished by being unable to stop TCU. On the otherhand, the Jayhawks gave TCU 4 free points from technical fouls that would have made it a suddenly comfortable looking 10 point win.
Kansas scored 1.16 points per possession, and offense certainly wasn’t the problem. They shot 47 percent on twos and 36 percent on threes, neither of which is great but it is good enough, but the key was Kansas turning it over on just 11 percent of its possessions. TCU’s defense had made a living by forcing teams to turn the ball over, but we were correct to assume that wouldn’t happen against a backcourt like KU’s.
Defensively was.....another story. TCU scored 1.08 points per trip (although again to be fair it would have been a much more acceptable 1.03 points per possession had those 4 technical free throws not happened). For the game TCU shot 46.5 percent on twos and 39 percent from three, but turned it over on 20 percent of their possessions and only rebounded 32.4 percent of their misses. KU’s work on the defensive glass and in the turnover game was the difference.
All told, there’s probably not much to be worried about from last night. KU is still adjusting to life without Azubuike, the long layoff apparently made them forget all of their defensive rotations and pick and roll defense (this is somewhat in jest but seriously something happened) and they had a road win against a top 50 KenPom team getting essentially nothing from two key contributors.
No grades if I remember correctly.
- Svi Mykhailiuk struggled with his on and off ball defense for the first time this year, but was 1-2 on twos and 3-5 from three, which helped soothe the blow. He also had 3 rebounds and 3 assists, but 3 turnovers as well.
- Devonte Graham was one of the aforementioned no shows, going 2-7 on twos and 1-7 from three. He did have 6 assists and a turnover, however. Like Svi, his defense was horrible for much of the game.
- Frank Mason was 5-9 on twos, 1-4 from three, and 9-10 from the line. He also had 7 assists to 1 turnover. He had some defensive lapses in the second half but for the most part did a pretty good job.
- Landen Lucas was the player of the game for me, going 7-9 from the field, and adding 17 (yes, 17) rebounds. He also played excellent help defense at the rim, although his hedging on the pick and roll left a lot to be desired.
- Josh Jackson was the other no show, going 2-8 from the field, committing a costly turnover, and committing his 5th foul 90 feet away from KU’s basket.
- Lagerald Vick was 2-5 inside the arc and 3-6 outside the arc, flashing his athleticism and 3-point shooting ability that makes him an intriguing NBA prospect.
- Carlton Bragg was a couple bunnies away from flirting with a double double of his own, finishing 2-5 from the field with 9 rebounds, a block, and a steal.