I suppose it could be considered a good thing that Kansas scored over a point per possession while shooting 7 percent from behind the arc and turning it over on 21 percent of their possessions. The Jayhawks were helped immensely by shooting 72.5 percent inside the arc, and when you do that you can be forgiven for taking just 14 3-point attempts.
The turnover issues are worrying though. It’s obviously not great that Devon Dotson turned it over four times, but it becomes more understandable when surveying the rest of the ball handlers. Kansas simply has a lack of really good passers, and other than Dotson, there are only a couple players who I trust to dribble the ball in anything resembling traffic. That puts a lot of pressure on Dotson. Furthermore, for as good as ETSU is, and as well as they played, Kansas will likely be facing plenty more athletic and talented team than the Bucs. While it’s fair to say some (or many) of them will not put the same onus on creating turnovers as ETSU does, it’s still going to be an issue for the Jayhawks going forward.
The lack of passing makes some of the two big lineups an issue as well. Udoka Azubuike is a pretty good passer out of the post, but none of the other big men are very good at it, and the guards aren’t great at getting the ball into the post, and certainly not when other big men are able to come over and double so easily. I suspect Kansas will continue to play more four guard lineups, but some of that advantage goes away when your secondary perimeter players aren’t great at passing or ballhandling (although to be fair it’s still early).
Defensively, although Kansas struggled to get out on 3-point shooters at times during ETSU’s comeback, overall they played rather well on that end. It’s probably too demanding to expect them to hold the Bucs to lower than 46 percent on twos, although one may expect a truly elite defense to do so, but after some blips they allowed ETSU to rebound just 29 percent of their misses, and forced turnovers on even a higher percentage of possessions than the Jayhawks committed turnovers.
- Marcus Garrett may have been the team’s best player last night, scoring 13 points on 6 shots. He added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, which makes his 3 turnovers a little more bearable.
- Devon Dotson certainly had a good night scoring, with 19 points, but had 4 turnovers and made some more headscratching decisions on both ends of the floor. Although I think I may be grading him on a curve given the tremendous start to his career.
- Ochai Agbaji struggled to shoot the ball, going 0-4 from three, but his shot looks good and he did a good job getting himself into open spots. It’s not good that he played poorly last night, but it is good Kansas can beat good teams without him playing well.
- Udoka Azubuike was excellent, going 10-13 from the field and also blocking 4 shots while grabbing 3 steals. It took him awhile to get going this year, but the 1 big lineups have helped him flourish, and frankly Kansas won’t need to shoot many threes if he can take close to 15 shots per game.
- David McCormack was 2-5 with 3 rebounds and a block in 12 minutes, although I admittedly thought his performance was pretty unmemorable.
- Tristan Enaruna continued his breakout with 4 points, making both of his twos, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Even beyond the steals, he did a good job getting his hands into passing lanes, and also helped himself on the offensive end with a lot of nice entry passes to Azubuike.
- Isaiah Moss played just 16 minutes, and was 0-2 from three.
- Silvio De Sousa played just 9 minutes, but probably got himself back into the rotation as he almost singlehandedly stopped ETSU’s run with a blocked shot/alley oop combo. He had 8 points and 3 blocks in 9 minutes.
- Christian Braun played 8 minutes with 1 assist and a turnover.