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Kansas Basketball in Italy: A Summer (semi) Statistical Recap of HSC Roma

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

When playing against foreign competition, especially less known foreign competition, it’s tough to know exactly what you’ll get. Turns out, Kansas saw a group of good athletes, but guys whose basketball skills haven’t quite caught up yet. So Kansas responded in kind with a 90-56 victory.

Sloppy as it was, I was still hungry for KU basketball, so I dialed up the FloHoops machine* and watched the game from start to finish, possibly while I was at work.

*This is a completely unsolicited review: I really liked it. The price could probably come down a bit but you definitely get what you pay for. The picture was sharp and there was no lag, and with all the sloppiness that happened in the game it was probably the best part of the broadcast.

As I mentioned, the play was sloppy. So sloppy that Kansas actually scored a shade under a point per possession, mostly thanks to turning it over on nearly 20 percent of their possessions, grabbing just 7 offensive rebounds, and making only 7 of their 27 threes. On the positive side, Kansas shot 63 percent on twos and didn’t have much trouble getting to where they wanted to on the floor. The sloppiness was mostly due to some miscommunication (eg Charlie Moore trying to throw an alley oop to Azubuike when Azubuike was expecting Moore to shoot) as well as an unfamiliar ball.

Although I don’t have exact possession data for HSC Roma, but the Jayhawks allowed roughly .6 PPP and forced turnovers on nearly a third of their possessions. They had some mental lapses in the second half which led to some open dunks and jumpers, but as a whole the Jayhawks were pretty good defensively for the most part.

  • Lagerald Vick scored just four points but he had 2 assists and 4 steals. He looked to be attacking the rim to pass moreso than shoot early in the game, which might be partly him auditioning to fill the small ball 4 spot vacated by Josh Jackson.
  • Malik Newman started a bit slow but came on strong in the second half, making all 4 of his twos and going 2-3 from three. He also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Just one game (and a blowout at that) but it looks like he is going to be another great scorer in the backcourt.
  • Billy Preston had it going early, and though he tailed off a bit he still finished with 10 points on 4-6 (from two) shooting, and was the only Jayhawk with 2 offensive rebounds. He struggled with play to play effort, but he looked a lot more polished on offense than I expected him to be, and certainly has the defensive tools to get playing time if the effort is there.
  • Udoka Azubuike murdered the rim three times, to the point where they had to stop the game to realign the basket, and finished with 13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. The rebounding number is a bit disappointing, and he needs to make faster decisions when doubled in the post, but I was impressed not just with his dunking ability but his ability defensively to get out and guard smaller guys on the perimeter.
  • Devonte Graham was Devonte Graham, going 4-6 from three and 0-1 from two. He also had 9 assists and 0 turnovers, assuaging some of the concerns that Kansas might be lacking a distributor this year (although again, just one game).
  • Marcus Garret was up and down, with 2 turnovers and 4 fouls, but he made some athletic defensive plays and showed off the ability to get to the rim.
  • Sam Cunliffe had a debut to forget, going 2-5 on twos and 0-3 from three. He also repeatedly struggled both on and off the ball defensively.
  • Charlie Moore had a better game than his numbers suggest, going 2-6 on twos and 1-3 from three, with 1 assist and 2 turnovers. He repeatedly found guys for either open jumpers or bunnies in close, but was let down by some poor finishing. The fact that he was 2nd in the Pac 12 in assist rate should be enough to realize he isn’t the shoot first guy he was billed as, but watching him play today confirmed it.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk was 4-4 on twos and missed his only three. He also had 2 steals and looked better off the ball defensively, although I admittedly wasn’t really watching for it.
  • Chris Teahan had a point and a rebound. His shot looks good though.
  • KJ Lawson had a rough day offensively, going 2-6 from the field (although 2-3 on twos) and getting rejected on a dunk attempt. He also had 3 turnovers. He did play well defensively, though, which will keep him in the hunt for playing time next season.
  • Clay Young scored a point.
  • Mitch Lightfoot had a rough day, with 4 fouls and a pair of turnovers. He started off a bit hesitant, probably due to the mask he was wearing, but found his stride late in the game when he got fouled going for a monster dunk attempt. He will probably need to cool it with the fouls this year, but I still have high hopes for him in the future.