From now until I get bored of it, I am going to try a little different format with the Semi Statistical Recaps, and like all writers, I am going to steal from someone better than me. The Athletic writer Eric Koreen generally gives 10 observations from Raptors games, so to break up what I assume has to be the monotony of reading the same recap format for 8-ish years, I am going to do something similar unless Eric threatens to break my kneecaps:
- I am not totally buying the theory that Azubuike being out will help Kansas in the long run.
There was a lot of talk after the game last night that because Kansas looked so much better offensively with Azubuike out of the game and because they’ll be able to get McCormack a lot of reps that they’ll be much better in March for it. I am not so sure. I think Kansas needs to learn how to play Azubuike and Dedric Lawson together as much as possible in order to get back to the Final Four. The numbers with those two in haven’t been terrible, but it hasn’t looked great either.
2. Quentin Grimes got back on track.
Grimes had 14 points and was 5-6 inside the arc, but what caught my eye was how good he was defensively. He consistently shadowed Fletcher McGee and helped hold him without a three for the first time since January of 2017.
3. KJ Lawson needs more minutes.
Lawson tied for the team high in assists and played well defensively. Plus, he (understandably) has a natural connection with Dedric Lawson, and while the two of them can go off script a little too often, as a duo they can almost always get off a good look.
4. Devon Dotson does at least one thing per game that amazes me.
Dotson is second on the team in shooting at the rim at right around 73 percent via Hoop Math. He was 5-6 at the rim last night and also had 3 steals. If his assists come up and his turnovers go down a bit we could be looking at yet another All-American point guard.
5. Marcus Garrett is a game changer, for both good and bad reasons.
Garrett is a phenomenal 1-on-1 defender, probably the best on the team. And he does a lot of good things offensively, including tying for the team lead in assists while chipping in 7 rebounds and 2 steals, which isn’t something a lot of players can do. But he was 2-6 from the field last night, and his offensive possessions really deflate the entire offense. As a slasher and passer he’s playable, but he’s not a scoring option yet.
6. David McCormack will be a productive player by February.
McCormack had an insanely high 41 percent usage rate last night (small sample size of course) and had 6 points on 3-5 shooting. 6 points and 3 rebounds in 5 minutes is nothing to sneeze at. Defensively, however, he got consistently taken advantage of down low, but much like Silvio de Sousa made huge strides in February and March last year, I think McCormack will as well.
7. Kansas won with Lagerald Vick doing nothing.
Vick was scoreless in 22 minutes and also had 2 turnovers to 0 assists. And yet, Kansas destroyed a very good mid-major, and Vick didn’t let it bother him on the other end. He wasn’t always good defensively, but any mistakes weren’t mistakes of him simply not caring, which is a step up from previous seasons.