I nailed the turnover issue. Kansas turned it over on just 19.7 percent of their possessions, which is low against any team much less a team that forces turnovers like West Virginia.
However, I missed on pretty much everything else. I assumed Kansas would sit back and force West Virginia’s poor jump shooters to shoot over them (like they did in the second half when they made their run) but for the most part they tried to pressure on the perimeter and pressure the passing lanes, and the result was a parade to the basket. Kansas also missed roughly 10 shots at the rim (5-14 was the last number I saw but that was before the game ended) and while some of them were defended well, a lot of them were pretty wide open or shots that needed to be finished through contact.
The result was Kansas scoring just 1.05 points per possession while shooting 40 percent on twos, 45 percent from three, and the aforementioned turnover issue. For the most part I think Kansas did a pretty good job to get good looks, they just need to make them inside. If they do that, they win despite the poor defensive effort.
This also was probably the first game in which free throw shooting was a big decider. Kansas was 6-15 from the line while the usually poor shooting Mountaineers were 19-23. I suppose I will be asked to opine on the reffing, so I will mention that while I think there were probably some calls Kansas didn’t get (the aforementioned needing to finish through contact point) and there were some WVU did get, it was more a function of that’s what happens when playing on the road than any sort of bias on the part of the refs.
Speaking of Kansas should have won, the Jayhawks for some reason gave the usually poor in the halfcourt Mountaineers a parade to the rim, and also allowed them to rebound 40 percent of their misses. I had assumed Kansas would learn the lesson of some other WVU opponents and force them to take a lot of mid range jumpers, and for a time they did and Kansas crawled back into the game, but perhaps Self was more worried about teaching a longterm lesson about needing to be tough on defense.
In any event, I don’t think there is too much to worry about going forward. The issues in this one were more an issue of Kansas not doing the things they needed to than anything else, and that is fixable. Now we just need to see if they will.
- Frank Mason: 5. Mason looked hampered by his knee issue and turned his ankle later in the game, so this grade might not be fair, but he was just 3-9 on twos, 3-7 from three, and had 3 turnovers.
- Svi Mykhailiuk: 5.5. Svi had 7 assists and just 1 turnover, so we can overlook his 2-8 day from deep. He wasn’t great defensively but I don’t think he was the issue either.
- Devonte Graham: 6. Graham had 4 turnovers to just 3 assists, but made all of his twos and was 3-7 from three.
- Josh Jackson: 6. I seriously don’t know where to put his night. He was 4-4 from three (!) but was horrible defensively both on and off the ball.
- Landen Lucas: 6.5. Lucas had a good start defensively, and ended with 10 rebounds, but also committed 4 fouls and was just 1-2 from the field.
- Lagerald Vick: 5.5. Vick looked engaged defensively early, and was 1-3 from three, and then it all kind of went kaput.
- Carlton Bragg: 3. Bragg was just 1-4 from the field and had 4 fouls in 11 minutes.
- Mitch Lightfoot: 5. Lightfoot had a block and an offensive rebound in 8 minutes, and probably should have played a bit more.