Even though I picked Stanford to knock off the Jayhawks, I definitely would have believed you if you’d told me Kansas rolled to a win. I definitely would not have believed you, however, if you would have told me one of the best teams in America at drawing fouls took just 11 free throws. However, that’s exactly what happened.
Some of it was, of course, that Kansas couldn’t commit too many fouls due to the lack of big man depth, but Kansas still defended well without fouling. About the only thing Stanford did even reasonably well was hit the offensive glass, rebounding 35 percent of their misses. Considering the opponent, Kansas had its best defensive game of the year, allowing the Cardinal to shoot just 36.6 percent on twos and forcing them to commit turnovers on 21 percent of their possessions.
Offensively, Kansas could have stood to shoot the ball a bit better from deep (just 33.3 percent despite quite a few open looks), but it’s going to be tough for them to lose too often when they shoot 60 percent on twos, especially when it’s coupled with a turnover rate of just 16.7 percent. Kansas didn’t get as many extra possessions as I thought before the game, but it obviously didn’t matter.
- Svi Mykhailiuk didn’t make a three, but still managed a nice game, going 7-11 on twos. He consistently beat his man off the dribble, hit the glass well, and did a good job on Stanford star Reid Travis when he was tasked with guarding him.
- Devonte Graham was just 1-6 on twos, but 3-6 from three with 6 assists, 2 turnovers, and 2 steals. He was probably KU’s best defender as well.
- Malik Newman didn’t score much, going 2-4 on twos and 1-3 from deep, but impacted the game elsewhere with nice defense, a team high 7 rebounds, and 2 assists.
- Udoka Azubuike was unstoppable again. He scored KU’s first 10 points, was 12-15 from the field, had 4 offensive rebounds, and 2 blocks. He picked up a couple cheap fouls in the second half, however, which illustrated the dual problem when he sits: Kansas is much worse with him on the bench, and when he does get back into the game the team isn’t very good at reintegrating him into the offense. It’s something that probably will need to be fixed for Kansas to make a deep tournament run.
- Lagerald Vick didn’t take a ton of shots, but had a huge impact, going 3-5 on twos and 2-2 from deep. He added 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
- Marcus Garrett only had 1 point, and 1 of Graham’s turnovers was his fault, but he had a great game defensively. He had 2 steals and consistently did a great job helping off the ball.
- Mitch Lightfoot had 2 offensive rebounds, a block, and a steal, and he committed an offensive foul call on the worst charge call of the year.
- Sam Cunliffe was 1-2 from the field with a rebound, assist, and a turnover. He played just 9 minutes, which I am guessing was more of Bill Self teaching him not to take wild shots than any issue with his play.