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Kansas Jayhawks Basketball vs Kansas State Wildcats: A (Semi) Statistical Recap

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

All of the talk from last night has focused on Svi’s travel on his game winning layup, which I suppose is fair given the way the majority of college basketball fans digest the sport before March is via Vine, but the game itself was much more interesting in terms of the rest of the season.*

*My quick take: Yes it was a travel, yes that ignores the on the balance friendly whistle K State got for 39 minutes and 55 seconds, yes Kansas would have won that game in overtime anyway, yes college refs are on balance awful at their jobs.

As for the game itself, Kansas scored 1.25 points per game, shooting 55 percent from two, 50 percent from three, rebounding a very good 35 percent of their misses. They turned it over on around 21 percent of their possessions, which is way too high, but I would say that’s more of a blip on the radar than anything. In short, not much to talk about with the offense.

Defense, though: Yikes. Jesse Newell had a good post on the 2nd to last play in which Dean Wade had an open look from three, and I will have a post up sometime this week hopefully about the defense at large, but my quick take is this: Kansas needs to adjust its pick and roll coverage and help defense in general to account for the fact that in this day and age everyone can shoot.

If they give up just two or three fewer open threes per game their defense should improve considerably. For the game, though, K State shot 60 percent on twos, 33 percent from three, and was 19-23 from the line, making just one fewer free throw than Kansas attempted. They also turned it over on just 12.5 percent of their possessions. I think they’ll improve (they allowed more than a point per possession in 7 of their first 8 Big 12 games last season), but they need to in a hurry.

Number grades today:

  • Frank Mason: 6. Mason didn’t play great defense, was 1-7 on twos, and had 5 turnovers. He was 4-5 from three though.
  • Devonte Graham: 8.5. Graham was 1-2 from two, 3-7 from deep, had 6 assists and 1 turnover. He also wasn’t great defensively. Fran Fraschilla made a good point on Twitter that it’s tough to be so good on both ends of the floor when playing 35+ minutes per game. That’s why you sit them whenever you can against Siena and Long Beach State and UNC Asheville.
  • Josh Jackson: 7. Jackson had an amazing first half, and finished 8-11 on twos, 1-4 from three, with 9 rebounds, 6 assists, a block, and a steal. But he also finished with 4 turnovers and was dreadful down the stretch when Kansas had a chance to put the game away and didn’t. It seems like Kansas is starting to look to him more and more in crunch time and while he’s a great player, I think that’s best left up to Mason.
  • Landen Lucas: 8. Lucas followed up his Big 12 player of the week performance with another worthy performance, going 8-10 from two, grabbing 12 rebounds, and blocking a shot. He got called for a couple awful fouls when the refs were trying to get a handle on the game, including DJ Johnson hooking him posting up on back to back possessions, but he also needs to fight for that position without fouling.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk: 6. I thought Svi played pretty good defense last night (although I will have to go double check) and was 2-3 from three, 3-3 from the line, with two assists and a block.
  • Lagerald Vick: 4. Vick didn’t do much last night, though he was 1-3 from deep.
  • Carlton Bragg: 6. Bragg probably needs to play more. He had 2 turnovers, but 7 points and 3 rebounds in just 15 minutes of playing time. Kansas is a better team with him out there.