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Recap: KU plays the part of bully against UMKC
Note: Here is a listing of definitions for some terms used in this blog. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below if something doesn't make sense.
More than any other win this season, it seemed that KU controlled UMKC in its 99-52 victory Wednesday.
The numbers seem to confirm this as well.
The Jayhawks dictated the pace of play, especially by using their newly implemented full-court press.
KU wanted to play fast and it did, pushing the game to a season-high 82 possessions. And that was against a UMKC team that ranks as a slower-than-average-paced NCAA team (averaging 69 possessions per game).
The Jayhawks also dictated how the 'Roos played offensively, forcing them into turnovers, tough shots and one-on-one play.
UMKC had assists on just 25 percent of its field goals (KU's second-best defensive effort this year in that stat) while posting four assists to 26 turnovers.
KU, meanwhile, came away with steals on 22 percent of its defensive possessions, which easily was its best mark of the year.
Offensively, the Jayhawks' high assist percentage (76.5 percent of its field goals were assisted, the highest percentage this year) and below-average turnover percentage (18.3 percent) indicate that the Jayhawks weren't forced into uncomfortable situations on that end, either.
Wednesday's game was exactly the kind of game that fans of powerhouse teams love to see in the first couple rounds of the NCAA Tournament: a talented team playing how it wants to play and imposing its will on an overmatched opponent.
M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)
I've promised myself that, with this category, I'm never going to declare ties, as it seems like an easy way out of a tough decision.
Against UMKC, though, three Jayhawks were worthy of M.O.J. status: Tyrel Reed, Tyshawn Taylor and Josh Selby.
Reed was about as efficient as you'll ever see, posting 2.45 points per possession used, though he only ended 7.8 percent of KU's possessions.
His eFG% was 110 percent, he came away with steals on 9.7 percent of his defensive possessions (a very high number) and also pulled down 14.8 percent of the available defensive rebounds from the guard position.
Taylor, as many have already written, had his best game with Selby in the lineup.
He notched 1.83 points per possession while using a well-above average number of possessions (23.2 percent). He had assists on more than half of the field goals made when he was in the game (50.5 percent) while also drawing fouls and getting to the line effectively (free-throw rate of 77.7, which is calculated by dividing free throws attempted by field goals attempted). He also grabbed seven percent of the available offensive boards and 8.8 percent of the available defensive boards while posting seven assists and no turnovers in just 21 minutes.
Selby contributed 1.77 points per possession used — which would have most likely topped the Jayhawks on any other day — while using up 20.3 percent of possessions.
His strength was the other numbers: assisting on 42.6 percent of the field goals during his time in, stealing the ball during 8.1 percent of his defensive possessions, posting a free-throw rate of 100 and grabbing 15.5 percent of the available defensive rebounds.
Reed played a great game, but the M.O.J. goes to Taylor.
Not only was he efficient, he was one of the most involved players offensively for the Jayhawks by passing, scoring and also getting to the free-throw line.
Room for Improvement
Two numbers for the Jayhawks jump out of the box score needing improvement: KU's offensive rebounding percentage and defensive free-throw rate.
It might have been easy to miss in a 47-point blowout, but the Jayhawks had their worst offensive rebounding game of the season. And their worst offensive rebounding game under coach Bill Self. And their worst offensive rebounding game in at least the past 15 seasons.
Take a look: KU's offensive rebounding percentage of 18.5 percent was the lowest for KU in a game since at least the 1996-97 season, as KU posted just five offensive rebounds.
You can blame the low numbers on a lot of factors. Obviously, first and foremost, KU's best offensive rebounder (Thomas Robinson) missed the game. KU's second-best offensive rebounder (Markieff Morris) played just 12 minutes after getting a second-half technical foul. UMKC also came into the game as one of the top 80 defensive rebounding teams in the nation.
Still, an offensive rebounding percentage of 18.5 percent is too low, especially considering the Jayhawks were coming off their best offensive rebounding game of the year against Miami (57.1 percent). KU received no offensive rebounds from Marcus Morris (25 minutes), Markieff Morris (12 minutes) and Jeff Withey (14 minutes), a number I'm sure the three big guys will be reminded of during film sessions/practices this week.
KU's defense also allowed its highest free-throw rate of the year to UMKC, allowing 0.59 free throws per field-goal attempt.
Though the Jayhawks played great overall defense against the 'Roos, the performance would have been even better if they could have avoided fouling so much.
For more on how a team (Ohio State) can dominate defensively by foul avoidance, be sure to check out Luke Winn's excellent piece on Ohio State from SI.com.
Markieff Morris didn't get off to a great start Wednesday night then didn't get the minutes to correct his stat line after picking up a technical foul early in the second half.
So his final numbers look pretty bad: a (non-walk-on) team-low 0.44 points per possession used while ending an above-average 24.3 percent of KU's possessions in 12 minutes.
Markieff's biggest problem was turnovers, as he posted a team-high (four) while playing only half the minutes of most of his teammates.
The technical/benching comes at an unfortunate time for Markieff, who was one of KU's most consistent players as of late.
The 6-foot-10 forward had averaged 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest in the six games before UMKC.
Because of the high number of possessions, the final score was a bit deceiving.
Though KU scored 99 points, its defense was actually better than its offense. The Jayhawks allowed 0.63 points per possession against the 'Roos (third-best mark this season) while putting up 1.21 points per possession (seventh-best mark out of 14 games).
KU did an excellent job of speeding the game up and making UMKC play at an uncomfortable tempo.
A quick look at the assist and turnover numbers tell us most of what we need to know about the game: that KU controlled it both offensively and defensively and never allowed UMKC to play the kind of style that it wanted to.