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Recap: How to comfortably win a game you don't dominate

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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.

The box score for this game makes it look closer than it was.

KU won 78-63, but both teams were nearly even on the glass (KU held the edge, 40-39). Cal had more turnovers, but not a lot more (three). The Bears also made it to the free-throw line a lot more than the Jayhawks.

So how did the Jayhawks come away with a comfortable victory? http://www2.kusports.com/videos/2010/...

You never want to only say that shooting is the only reason for winning or losing a game, but in this game, it made quite a bit of difference.

The Bears weren't shy about taking threes, but they made just 4 of 22 (18.2 percent).

KU also was three-happy (especially in the first half), but that turned out OK, as the Jayhawks made a decent percentage (7 of 19, 36.8 percent).

As Cal coach Mike Montgomery said appropriately after the game: "(KU) didn’t light it up (from three), but it’s certainly better than 4-for-22."

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor extends to defend against a shot by Cal guard Gary Franklin during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor extends to defend against a shot by Cal guard Gary Franklin during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

The Jayhawks' defense certainly had something to do with the Bears' poor shooting numbers. Montgomery admitted that KU's defense did a good job of closing off the inside, which forced Cal to jack up shots from the outside (where it had only made 32 percent of its attempts coming into the game).

Cal also didn't help itself at the free-throw line, where it made 19 of 33 shots (57.6 percent), well below its average of 67.2 percent.

In short, Cal had lots of chances to be close to KU at the end but couldn't make enough shots.

KU's defense held an already poor Bears' offense to a 38.6 eFG%, which was Cal's third-worst shooting effort of the year.

Kansas guard Josh Selby defends Cal forward Harper Kamp during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas guard Josh Selby defends Cal forward Harper Kamp during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

On a night when KU didn't separate itself in other areas, the Jayhawks' half-court defense was good enough to carry them to the victory.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Though it's close between Tyrel Reed and Markieff Morris, Reed gets the nod here.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed celebrates with Travis Releford after grabbing a bucket and a foul from a Cal defender during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed celebrates with Travis Releford after grabbing a bucket and a foul from a Cal defender during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

The senior guard was KU's most efficient player offensively, posting 1.57 points per possession used. He didn't use a lot of possessions (14 percent), but then again, his role really isn't to do that. He's in there to hit the open threes he gets (he made 3 of 8 against Cal) and also score off the occasional drive (he was 3-for-3 from two-point range).

Reed also was a steady hand when KU needed it. He played 35 minutes and turned it over just one time, which was much needed as KU's other two primary guards (Tyshawn Taylor and Josh Selby) combined for eight turnovers.

The Burlington native also has been great on the boards in the last two games. He grabbed the defensive rebound on 18.6 percent of Cal's misses, which was the third-highest defensive rebounding mark on the team behind Thomas Robinson and Marcus Morris. Reed's 18 points, seven rebounds and 35 minutes were all career-highs.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed lays in a bucket between Cal defenders Harper Kamp (22) and Jorge Gutierrez (2) during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas guard Tyrel Reed lays in a bucket between Cal defenders Harper Kamp (22) and Jorge Gutierrez (2) during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

So far, Reed has been the KU player that has meshed the best with Selby on the court, and the senior should continue to get big minutes as long as that trend keeps up.

Room for Improvement

The most glaring weakness from Wednesday night was KU's poor defensive rebounding.

Coming in, the Bears had averaged just 9.2 offensive rebounds per game, which ranked last in the Pac-10.

Against KU, Cal had 15 offensive rebounds — its highest total of the year.

Kansas players Markieff Morris, left, Josh Selby and Thomas Robinson go after a rebound against Cal during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. At left is Cal forward Harper Kamp.

Kansas players Markieff Morris, left, Josh Selby and Thomas Robinson go after a rebound against Cal during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. At left is Cal forward Harper Kamp. by Nick Krug

The Bears gathered 34.9 percent of the available offensive rebounds, which is much higher than their season average of 28.8 percent.

For KU, I'm not sure there's a good explanation. With the defensive rebounding problems against Cal, though, I was surprised that KU coach Bill Self didn't throw Jeff Withey in for a few minutes, just to see what he could do.

Kansas head coach Bill Self screams at his defense during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas head coach Bill Self screams at his defense during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

Withey's first "did not play, coach's decision" of the year — in a game where KU needed a big rebounding body — probably tells us that Withey has some work to do in practice to convince Self he's ready to re-enter the rotation.

Tough-Luck Line

Tyshawn Taylor runs away with this category for the second straight game.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor reacts to a foul called against him during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor reacts to a foul called against him during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

The junior once again looked out of sorts while playing with Selby. Taylor posted a miserable 0.47 points per possession while using up 18.8 percent of possessions (which is about average).

I thought Tom Keegan put it best in his latest Keegan ratings: "It’s as if he’s trying to show he has as much talent as Josh Selby."

It is worth noting, though, that while some of Taylor's individual numbers were ugly (1-for-8 field goals, five turnovers), KU actually didn't perform that poorly when he was out there.

I'll warn again that we shouldn't put too much stock in plus-minus numbers, as they can be misleading, but during Taylor's 29 minutes, KU outscored Cal, 62-46.

Offensively, KU scored 2.1 points per minute when Taylor was in. During the 11 minutes he wasn't in, KU scored 1.5 points per minute.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor elevates for a bucket against Cal during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor elevates for a bucket against Cal during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

I can't explain the numbers, and maybe they don't mean anything. But they might indicate that Taylor did have some positive impact for KU that didn't show up in his individual stat line.

Bottom Line

Take away all the fighting and fouls, and KU claimed a comfortable road victory by shutting down the lane and forcing Cal into a shooting contest that it didn't win.

Kansas guard Josh Selby puts up a floater over Cal forward Bak Bak during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.

Kansas guard Josh Selby puts up a floater over Cal forward Bak Bak during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California. by Nick Krug

It's worth noting that KU has moved into KenPom's top spot in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency. Quietly, the Jayhawks have improved their defensive standing over the last few weeks without anyone really talking about it.

The Jayhawks now have three home cupcakes in a row to try to figure out how to be more consistent offensively with Selby before their next road test at Michigan on Jan. 9.

Comments

slowplay 10 years, 11 months ago

Jesse,

Another nice article. I find myself looking forward to your analysis. I think it's similar to how a coach might interpret the numbers. I think Withey will see some serious playing time in the next three games. If not, he will not be factor this year. Selby looks like a fit. His offense is not a factor as much as his defense and ability to be a team player. That said, he looks to be that go to guy when a critical basket is needed. I also think that Self his happy to have his players show some spunk. He has to temper his feelings in public and Marcus will pay a price for his misplaced elbow, but physicality was something that was lacking.

Joel Thomas 10 years, 11 months ago

I second ralster and drgnslayr. Good defense >> lucky rebounds for Cal.

Jesse Newell 10 years, 11 months ago

ralster — Good point. I hadn't thought of that.

I went back and looked at the play-by-play, and here's the breakdown of Cal's offensive rebounds:

• 7 offensive rebounds off 2-point misses • 4 offensive rebounds off 3-point misses • 3 offensive rebounds off free throw misses • 1 offensive rebound after a KU block

So while the high number of three-pointers might have affected Cal's offensive rebounding, those attempts weren't where the Bears were getting the bulk of their offensive boards.

Also interesting: KU didn't allow an offensive rebound in the final 10:45 of the game. So Cal had its season high in offensive rebounds in the first 30 minutes.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 11 months ago

The last comment is the best of all.

That would be the sort of observation I would expect the coaches to emphasize significantly behind closed doors in the days to come. It shows they have the potential to shut down the other team, and the tremendous benefit of putting forth the effort to accomplish it.

Scott Smetana 10 years, 11 months ago

Exactly what I was thinking. Long Clanking 3's. I overall thought we rebounded pretty well. Great article Jesse

kesmithstl1 10 years, 11 months ago

good point, but then that would mean that KU guards need to do a better job of closing out! It's one thing to contest a shot, but it's a whole other thing to contest a shot effectively. Too many times KU guards are flying past their man taking them out of position for a rebound. You have to remember LONG SHOT LONG REBOUND!

webprince 10 years, 11 months ago

Jesse's breakdown shows this not to have been the clear case, but I also wanted to point out that studies have shown that the offensive rebounding rate off missed three-pointers is not any higher than off of missed two-pointers. I think it was in Dean Oliver's "Basketball on Paper" book, but I know I've seen it somewhere. And it was convincing enough for me to tweak my own formulas to remove the slight difference I had built in based on what appears intuitively to be a difference.

yovoy 10 years, 11 months ago

I posted this exact thing after the UCLA game (I think it was that game). I said it AT the 'zona game. I'd like to know (over our last 5, say) how many times our opponents score on the their first attempt, and/or in the flow of the offense. It seems to me that in our games against the Pac-10, it's pretty low (it seems like it's been low all year). It seems like on a few trips a game the other team scores off of busted plays. If the perimeter d is tight and right w/ a good closeout (or a decent one), and if the shot goes over the bigs' heads, it's going to fall somewhere in "no man's land". In that instance inside rebounding position will mean less than it does normally.

I've been rough on TT various times throughout his career, but I'll defend him this time. His play was horrid against USC, but he's been the most pleasant surprise of the season until then. Most of the rest of the season he's been unselfish when he's needed to be, he's taken reasonably good care of the ball, he's played good defense, he's made good decisions. He's been the point guarde he should be. Against Cal he got mugged going to the rim with several no-calls. When you miss shots after you've been fouled pretty decently, and you don't make them your line is going to suffer. Besides the (2?) offensive fouls, he was going to the rack, getting fouled (without a call), and missing the bucket. I can only advise that he concentrate on making the shot, because this won't be the last time it happens to him. I'm glad that Newell's numbers show that we were a bit more effective with him in there, as I do think he's an important part of how well this team can/will do.

5DecadeHawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Jesse Newell posting on the Newell Post blog about the Newell Classic

Not one Pete Newell reference?

Adam Collins 10 years, 11 months ago

When do we get to have a Caption Contest for that photo of Taylor?

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 11 months ago

@ jayhawkinnebr----Brady's tech toward the end really pissed off Self---no brownie points for asking for more playing time.

@ ralster---great point! You are right on in regard to the skewed defensive rebounding situations. This was a wild game played in the "Wild, wild West." It was not your ordinary, normal game. KU lost its composure there for a few minutes but got its "Mojo" back in the end. I think Chuckberry said it best toward the end of the game----"you can tell Cal has given up!" I think our superior depth ware them out in the end.

Nice job as always, Jesse! Hope you enjoyed your trip to Cali.

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 11 months ago

Opps, I meant to say, "I think our superior depth wore them out in the end." Sorry.

Robert Brock 10 years, 11 months ago

Santa needs to give Jorge the present he deserves...a waterboard treatment.

MrPilot 10 years, 11 months ago

The band members were wearing way too many pieces of flair.

Michael Gentemann 10 years, 11 months ago

"You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don't you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?"

Greg Lux 10 years, 11 months ago

I have replayed the T-Rob Technical a number of times and Jorge Gutierrez needs to get an academy award nomination for his acting job. T-Rob didn't do anything but hang on to the ball .. He did NOTHING to deserve a T.

Rock Chalk

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 11 months ago

Sounds a bit off beat, but the new crimson and the new blue road uniforms are impressive! The football team's unfiorms should be of the same hue! Who knows, it might help!

REHawk 10 years, 11 months ago

I concur that Withey might see extended minutes in next three games. He has to get comfortable for occasional spot duty this season. At Cal he might have folded like a stepladder, what with all the shoving and armwrestling beneath the basket. TRob and the twins got a heavyduty strength workout. When Jorge began punching at TRobs kisser I wondered if perhaps Thomas were taunting him. Both hands were wrapped around the ball, so there was evidently a knee or a taunt which stirred the animosity. Or perhaps Longlockes was just sneaking in a punch, hoping to loosen TRob's grip.... Bill Self has to be glowing with happiness about this win. His guys met Mike Montgomery's toughs with more than equal toughness; he is able to keep a struggling 7 footer on the bench even when Marcus is a nonfactor through significant minutes of the game; TRob is able to grin and control his explosive reactions enough to avoid ejection; Selby takes another huge step forward with defensive effort and slashing, and begins to settle in with most of his teammates; and the team outscores Cal 62-46 while the point guard is in the game, even when he hits only 1 of 8 shots and for the second consecutive game struggles with turnovers. Reed and Kieff play steadily and magnificently, as does Thomas. Christmas joy for the Jayhawk Nation!

gaskilld 10 years, 11 months ago

I was looking at the Stats page and things are not adding up for Total Points per Player. It looks like the calculation only gives 1 point for 3pt shots Made. For example Selby shows 39 points total. I think it should be 55 points.

It's the same on the KU web site for all players. (dang programmers)

Gutierrez is a Great actor. He has created the "Transcendental Flop".

Jesse...... This is a great blog!

fansincewilt 10 years, 11 months ago

Selby scored 21 in first game and 18 in second for a total of 39. The kind of game we had will make these guys come together as a team.

Kent Wells 10 years, 11 months ago

I think Huddy needs to introduce more fiber into Taylors diet...

Kent Wells 10 years, 11 months ago

Personally, I liked how the team circled the wagons and won the game when things got tight. It could have went the other way. I think it gives us fans some promise for XII play and March Madness...

Bob Thompson 10 years, 11 months ago

Now if Taylor would work on not turning the ball over, and start looking for assists instead of shots, these games wouldn't be even close......

KGphoto 10 years, 11 months ago

How many points did KU give up while TT was on the floor.

TommySmithElbow 10 years, 11 months ago

If I'm understanding your question, Jesse already answered it in the article:

"during Taylor's 29 minutes, KU outscored Cal, 62-46"

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