Some observations as Kansas gets back on track in Big 12 play....
1. More like Oh Hai, Agbaji
The story of the night had to have been the debut of Ochai Agbaji. The freshman had a lob play ran for him on the first possession he was in the game, but I was most impressed with his defense. He was able to guard multiple positions, and in the very small sample size we have available, he looked like Kansas’s best off-ball defender.
He was 1-2 on threes as well, which was ostensibly the reason his redshirt was pulled in the first place. It looked like he passed up a couple opportunities to take more threes, but as he gets more comfortable in the lineup, those opportunities should come. As a side note: I didn’t think he would get to 10 minutes in any game this season, which he eclipsed in the first half. Shows what I know.
2. Lagerald Vick needs to limit his dribbles
Vick led the team in turnovers, and all came after he dribbled himself into trouble. While it’s true he is not a great ball handler, the issue (I think) comes when he starts feeling like he needs to make a play, rather than just making the safe, simple pass. He’s not a guy opposing defenses help off anymore, but even as a decoy he can be valuable to create spacing for guys inside.
3. Dedric Lawson
I am running out of superlatives, so I am just saying his name now. He had a personal 9-0 run in the second half, and finished with 31 points and 14 rebounds. He’s incredible.
4. Kansas did a great job on Alex Robinson
Robinson came into the game as maybe the best point guard in the Big 12, but Devon Dotson, Charlie Moore, Ochai Agbaji, and Marcus Garrett all combined to do a great job on TCU’s point guard. He ended up with 12 points, but was just 2-8 on twos and had as many turnovers as he did assists.
5. The perfect Marcus Garrett game
Marcus Garrett was probably KU’s best defender last night, even factoring in the good things Agbaji and Dotson did. He also had three assists, and his offensive rebound putback in the last minute sealed the win for Kansas. He needs to get better finishing at the rim, especially given how relatively easily he can get to the rim, but it definitely looked like he got fouled on more than a couple of those attempts last night.
6. Kansas still needs some 3-point shooting
The Jayhawks are now shooting 33.3 percent on threes, good for 201st nationally. Maybe more concerning is they are now sub 300 in threes attempted. Apart from all the other issues, this makes it a lot tougher to put together a run to either get back in a game or put a game away.
7. Kansas now has the highest defensive ceiling in the Big 12
Texas Tech leads the country in defensive efficiency, and I don’t think Kansas will catch them, but with the best defensive point guard in the Big 12 in Devon Dotson, and two perimeter guys who can defend 1s through 4s, the Jayhawks have the personnel to put the clamps on opposing offenses.
Both the Jayhawks and Red Raiders struggle in terms of giving up too many open threes, but for whatever reason Tech’s opponents are missing them right now. If Kansas keeps forcing turnovers and keeps up their effectiveness on the defensive glass, it’s not out of the question for them to finish with the league’s best defense.