In early March 2005 I was a junior in high school, YouTube had just been invented, and SB Nation, the very platform we are on today, was a week or so away from becoming a thing. Oh and Kansas had just clinched a share of the Big 12 title with a 72-65 win against Kansas State. It was the first of now 13 conference titles in a row, and Kansas added to that total last night with a rare comfortable home victory over TCU.
Offensively, the Jayhawks were great all game. They finished at 1.23 points per possession, shot 50 percent on twos, 43.5 percent from three, and turned it over on just 14 percent of their possessions. They got a couple timely offensive rebounds (most notably a pair of putbacks from Carlton Bragg) but even though they only rebounded a third of their misses, it doesn’t take a math genius to note that if you get a shot off on that many possessions, and have those type of shooting numbers, you’re going to score a lot of points.
Defensively, Kansas allowed just .96 points per trip, but they got there in a more roundabout way. TCU scored about 1.17 points per trip in the first half, partially due to making some threes but mostly due to grabbing 48 percent of their misses, but Kansas tightened things up in the second half, allowing the Frogs to rebound just 13.6 percent of their misses. That led to them scoring just .82 points per possession in the second frame.
Even though TCU shot a not great but also not terrible 46 percent on twos, I think Kansas did a good job all game (except for a lull in the first half when TCU had multiple layups in a row) of first shot defense and forcing TCU into some tough looks. That’s certainly not to suggest Kansas fans should expect the team to allow .8 or .9 points per possession on a game to game basis, but it does suggest they have it in them if their opponent complies by actually missing some of the tough looks they force.
- Frank Mason was just 2-6 on twos but was 4-6 from deep and added 4 assists to just 1 turnover as he keeps his candidacy for Big 12 and national player of the year going. Of course he played 39 minutes in this one because why wouldn’t he. Although to be fair if he does get the type of rest during the week that Bill Self says he does I am not worried about fatigue as much as I am worried about him picking up a nagging injury that could hamper him all March.
- Devonte Graham played one of his best games of the season, going 3-7 from three, 6-6 from the line, and contributing 7 assists to just 1 turnover. He also had another tremendous block early in the first half.
- Svi Mykhailiuk was 2-4 from three and had a nice block of his own. His offensive rating doesn’t look great in this one due to 2 turnovers but I thought he had a nice game overall.
- Josh Jackson made Allen Fieldhouse go as quiet as I have ever heard (or not heard) it in the first half when he went down and twisted his ankle, aggravating something he had apparently suffered in practice earlier in the week. Thankfully he returned and finished 5-9 on twos, 1-2 from three, with 11 rebounds and 4 assists. I’d say he is fine.
- Landen Lucas had a rough game in this one, going just 2-5 with 6 rebounds. He also turned it over 3 times.
- Lagerald Vick was 0-3 from three and I can’t fathom how he can miss shots so terribly with a shot that looks as good as his can. Credit to him for finding other ways to impact the game, however, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block.
- Carlton Bragg had his best game all year, going 7-10 with 7 rebounds, an assist, and 3 blocks. He doesn’t need to do that every game for Kansas to get to where it needs to go, but being a solid energy guy on the offensive end and a positive on defense will go a long way.
- Tucker Vang played a minute
- Clay Young played a minute, had a rebound, and made both of his free throws.
- Tyler Self played a minute and missed a three.
- Dwight Coleby played a minute, had one of each rebound, and made a two.
- Mitch Lightfoot played a minute.