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A (semi) Statistical Recap of Texas Tech

Texas Tech v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It probably should come as no surprise that with only 6 functional players, Kansas can’t afford to play a D+ game like they did last night and still win, regardless of opponent. Take nothing away from Texas Tech, but that effort would have meant a loss against likely six of KU’s nine Big 12 opponents.

And yet, there are probably some positives. Kansas shot 65 percent inside the arc against one of the better 2 point defenses in the country, and got quite a few open looks from three. Defensive effort aside, if you had told me that prior to the game, I would have thought Kansas would have won by double digits.

The issue offensively was mostly turnovers. Kansas turned it over on 21 percent of their possessions, with a vast majority of them coming either via bonehead mistake, or when Kansas had cut the lead to a manageable amount, or both. Even though Kansas was mostly getting good shots, you can’t turn it over that many times and expect to win.

The disappointing part was, of course, the defense. Tech scored 1.18 points per possession, although it’s fair to say the number is inflated a bit due to the number of turnovers leading to easy buckets. The first shot defense was fine for the most part; the issue was Tech murdering Kansas on the boards. Tech has been a good offensive rebounding team all season, but they rebounded 48 percent of their misses last night. That doesn’t happen without some help from the defense. Udoka Azubuike did not do well on the glass, either grabbing rebounds by himself or clearing space, and KU’s guards and wings constantly got beat to rebounds.

Going forward, I am not sure this loss is a total killer. Obviously the defense isn’t going to be good as a whole until Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa can provide some depth (Azubuike wasn’t great last night, but the team was dreadful with him out), but this team probably isn’t too far off. Remember the 2017 team had 9 games, half of its conference schedule, with margins of 2 possessions or fewer. Kansas was 9-0 in those games. Some of that is coaching, some of that is having a guy like Frank Mason, but a lot of it is variance.

That’s not to say that this team is as good as last year’s, but with a full roster it isn’t very different from the team that won the Big 12 by four games last year. If Kansas cuts out a couple bonehead turnovers, and limits Tech to even rebounding 40 percent of their misses last night, they probably win the game. There certainly should be some concern about the streak, but hold your horses before predicting March doom.

  • Devonte Graham had a lot of issues with those bonehead turnovers, and also had some issues staying in front of his man. He finished with 27 points, and was 13-13 from the line, but there’s no doubt he wasn’t at his best.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk also had some bonehead turnovers, 5 of them, and missed quite a few open threes. Not his best night, especially after he started forcing it.
  • Lagerald Vick must be hurt, as he had his worst game of the season (or else it was the manbun). He was 0-6 from deep.
  • Udoka Azubuike had 11 points and 7 rebounds, but struggled with his mobility all night. His back is clearly bothering him, and something tells me he won’t get the rest he needs to deal with it so get ready for that to be a story all year
  • Marcus Garrett made all of his twos, was 2nd on the team in rebounds, and had a pair of steals. He’s not there offensively yet - needs to tighten his handle and improve his jumper - but he’s as impressive of a freshman I’ve seen under Self defensively and in terms of IQ.
  • Malik Newman was 4-6 on twos, but didn’t make a three and had a pair of bad turnovers.
  • Sam Cunliffe certainly earned himself some playing time (I hope), with 7 points and 2 offensive boards in 9 minutes.