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2017 NCAA Touranament Kansas vs Purdue: A (semi) Statistical Recap

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Purdue vs Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time early in the first half, when Kansas was leaving Purdue’s shooters open for seemingly no reason and were struggling to get a ton of good looks themselves, when I wondered what exactly the team had been doing all week and whether they spent any time watching any film at all. Uh, yeah. That talk ended when the Jayhawks crawled back to somehow take the lead before halftime despite not playing great, and it certainly ended when they finished a game on a 45-15 run.

Even though the Jayhawks started slow, I am not sure I have any comments about scoring 1.40 points per possession other than the blatantly obvious, so I hope you’ll indulge me sounding like a broken record for a bit. Kansas took almost half its shots from three (28 compared to 34 twos), and while shooting 53.6 percent on threes is certainly higher than you’d expect a team to shoot, it is plainly obvious that Kansas’s best offense is using their ball movement (which yes requires throwing the ball inside at times) to get as many open threes as possible. It showed last night, as that also stretched out the Purdue defense and allowed the Jayhawks to get inside much more easily.

Also of note was Kansas rebounding 37.5 percent of their misses against one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country, and turning it over on just 14 percent of their possessions, the majority of those coming on bonehead plays in the first half.

Kansas probably got a bit lucky defensively in allowing just .94 points per possession, though not by much. Purdue shot 37 percent from three, and like Kansas took about half their attempts from deep. Kansas started both halves leaving shooters wide open both from good offense by Purdue but also overhelping for basically no reason. Once Kansas settled down on that front, things rapidly improved. It is also telling that even though Isaac Haas got the ball down low early and often, Purdue still shot under 50 percent on twos.

The big key though, obviously, was turnovers. Kansas borderline shut down Purdue’s post entry game by swarming the post whenever Swanigan or Haas caught it, and everyone dug in and got the ball out whenever possible. Purdue turned it over on 23 percent of its possessions, and a lot of them during KU’s run were live ball turnovers that let Kansas run out for dunks and open threes.

  • Josh Jackson struggled in the first half offensively, but did such a great job on Swanigan and Edwards that it wouldn’t have mattered had his only offensive contributions been some offensive rebounds. Of course, that wasn’t the case, as Jackson finished 4-8 on twos, 2-5 on threes, with 12 rebounds, 2 assists, a block, and 4 steals. He had 4 turnovers, but some turnovers from an overanxious Jackson are pretty par for the course at this point and a fair trade off for all of the other stuff he brings.
  • Devonte Graham was unconscious in the second half, and though he was just 2-6 on twos, he was 5-9 from deep and 7-9 from the line. He had just two assists, but I think he played pretty well defensively despite leaving a couple shooters at inopportune times. Of course going 5-9 from three erases some faults.
  • Frank Mason was the best player on the floor yet again, going 5-6 on twos, 4-5 on threes, and 4-5 from the line. He also added 7 rebounds and 7 assists. I have stared at that line in the boxscore for 5 minutes and don’t really have anything to say about it. I don’t know. He’s amazing.
  • Landen Lucas had just 2 points and 4 rebounds, but defensively he did a really good job on both Swanigan and Haas in the post, though it is fair to say he let the latter get too deep of post position a few times. In all though he did about as well as you could have expected him to defensively, especially once he adjusted.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk was 2-3 on twos and 2-5 from deep, and added 3 rebounds. I thought he was much improved at off ball defense, and just barely missed a couple steals, and overall did a good job closing out on shooters. I also liked how he attacked when he got a favorable matchup, though I think he could have done so more often.
  • Lagerald Vick had the dunk of the night, and I still can’t believe someone did a 360(ish) dunk in a Sweet 16 game. It was at least tied for the most nervous I was all night. Vick was 3-5 on twos, 1-2 from three, 3-3 from the line, and had 2 steals.
  • Dwight Coleby was once again huge in relief of Lucas. Even though he had just 2 points, a rebound, and an assist, he, like Lucas, did a really good job down low once he adjusted.
  • Carlton Bragg had one of the better scoreless outings you’ll see, with 6 rebounds in 10 minutes. He also had a couple really nice defensive plays, both on his block and just general post defense.
  • Mitch Lightfoot played 2 minutes, made a layup, and a three.
  • Tucker Vang played 2 minutes.
  • Clay Young played 2 minutes.
  • Tyler Self played 2 minutes and avoided a turnover by passing the ball to Vang at the end of the shot clock. Savvy move by the old man.