In the moment I sure wasn't confident at halftime, but it was telling that Maryland was playing very well (especially defensively), making some tough shots, and Kansas was playing horribly, and the Jayhawks were still up at halftime. The second half, meanwhile, was all Jayhawk time as Kansas scored 1.14 points per possession and allowed just .94 points per possession en route to a berth in the Elite 8.
Kansas didn't really shoot terribly well. The Jayhawks were under 50 percent on twos and made just 3 of 9 threes. But Kansas barely turned it over (just under 16 percent of its possessions) and had an uncharacteristically good day on the offensive glass, rebounding 37 percent of their misses. They also shot 86 percent from the free throw line in a game where, for awhile, each and every point was important.
Defensively the Jayhawks were incredible. Maryland shot well from two (56.7 percent on twos) but the Jayhawks forced them into a lot of tough looks and didn't let them get any second chance opportunities (16.7 percent offensive rebound rate). It took awhile, but Kansas eventually forced Melo Trimble to be a jump shooter rather than a guy who could get into the lane and create, and Trimble responded by going just 1-7 from three.
The best part of the Jayhawks' effort last night was the resiliency in the first half. The offense wasn't coming, wasn't coming, wasn't coming. But where earlier in the season KU might have let things get away from them, this KU team buckled down defensively and found themselves down just 4 points after going roughly 6 minutes without a field goal.
Frank Mason struggled in the first half but rebounded in the second, finishing 3-9 on twos and 1-2 from three, but with 4 assists and just 1 turnover, and some excellent defense.
Devonte Graham was reportedly sick and didn't eat all day yesterday, and it showed. He was 0-1 from two and 0-1 from three, and he had 3 assists and 5 turnovers. Like Mason, though, he still managed to play pretty good defense.
Wayne Selden was 5-11 on twos and 2-5 from three, and when Perry Ellis was out of the game he really took control of the offense on a day where Mason and Graham weren't 100 percent. He also had 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Perry Ellis had probably the second best Sweet 16 game by a KU player of my lifetime, scoring 27 points on 10-16 shooting, and he added 5 rebounds. He had some foul trouble, so he couldn't really defend down low, but he really got out and defended guys on the perimeter when necessary.
Landen Lucas continues to be the unsung hero of the team, going 6-7 on twos and grabbing 11 rebounds. He made future 1st round pick Diamond Stone look like a high schooler, and completely dominated that matchup.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk had a 3 point play when Kansas really needed one early, and I thought he did a really good job defensively on Jake Layman, who otherwise created some major problems for KU.
Jamari Traylor was 1-4 from the field and had a turnover and 4 fouls.
Carlton Bragg was 0-4 from the field but did have 8 rebounds.