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Recap: No joshing, KU's offense great against North Texas

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.

Most of the focus after Friday's game will be on Josh Selby, and frankly, that's a bit of a shame.

Kansas freshman guard Josh Selby laughs with head coach Bill Self during a news conference announcing that Selby will be released to play following a nine-game suspension. Selby's first game will be Saturday against USC.

Kansas freshman guard Josh Selby laughs with head coach Bill Self during a news conference announcing that Selby will be released to play following a nine-game suspension. Selby's first game will be Saturday against USC. by Nick Krug

Don't get me wrong. The highly touted freshman's NCAA ruling is big news.

It's just that, right now, this Jayhawk team deserves to be talked about after another impressive performance against a talented (and scary) mid-major opponent. So how did KU overpower North Texas on Friday? This time, it was with a nearly unstoppable offense.

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor, Marcus Morris (22) and Travis Releford come together for high fives during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor, Marcus Morris (22) and Travis Releford come together for high fives during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU made up for a cold spell late in the first half by making 14 of its first 15 field goals in the second half (That's 93.3 percent, for those keeping track at home).

The Jayhawks combined good shooting with a low turnover count, only giving it away on 12.3 percent of their possessions.

The result? KU put up 1.43 points per possession — its best mark of the year and the most given up by North Texas since the 2000-01 season. The Jayhawks only had two games all of last season where they scored more than 1.43 points per possession.

Those weren't the only striking offensive numbers. KU's 67.6 eFG% also would have been the third-best mark last year. No one had shot that well against North Texas since the 2007-08 season.

Though KU's defense was good (allowing .92 points per possession), it was KU's offense that led to the blowout, as KU was able to put up 93 points despite a season-low 65 possessions.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Before long, this category is going to be changed from M.O.J. to M.O.M. (Most Outstanding Morris).

Marcus takes the honor for the second time this year, as he overcame a slow start to steal the award away from his brother.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris comes down from a dunk against North Texas during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris comes down from a dunk against North Texas during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

After starting 1-for-5 in the first half, Marcus made all six of his second-half field-goal attempts, including two threes.

We discussed after last game how Marcus could be more aggressive, as his efficiency and low-turnover numbers showed that he could help the Jayhawks even more by using more possessions.

Well, Marcus might have been listening. He used 25.1 percent of his possessions while in the game and also put up 37 percent of his team's shots when he was in there.

And still, it didn't hurt his efficiency one bit, as Marcus produced 1.43 points per possession used. Just for reference, over the course of a season, a player with a possession percentage of more than 23 percent that produces more than 1.1 points per possession used is considered an offensive star.

If that's the case, Marcus was an offensive superstar against North Texas.

How's this for a statistic: Through three games and a team-high 78 minutes, Marcus only has one turnover.

Two other stats of note:

  1. Thomas Robinson grabbed 63.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds on the floor, the highest percentage for a Jayhawk in the last two seasons (counting only those who played more than five minutes in a game).

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson eyes the bucket as he moves in against North Texas defenders Alonzo Edwards (34) and Ben Knox (15) during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson eyes the bucket as he moves in against North Texas defenders Alonzo Edwards (34) and Ben Knox (15) during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

2. Brady Morningstar's 10 assists tied for KU's season high (Tyshawn Taylor had 10 against Longwood).

Room for Improvement

The Jayhawks are making it tough to find a lot of flaws. North Texas did shoot 53.1 percent from two-point range, meaning perhaps KU still has a bit of work to do with its interior defense.

From watching the game, the Jayhawks appear to be a bit slow when rotating to double-team the post, then also slow with help defense when a pass is made out of the double-team. That should get smoothed out over time.

After pointing out the two-point defense, though, it wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention that KU held North Texas without a three-point field goal (0-for-12). It was the first time since the 1987-88 season — 635 games — that the Mean Green didn't make at least one three.

Tough-Luck Line

Though Travis Releford played the fifth-most minutes for KU, his stat line wouldn't reflect that he made a major impact offensively.

Kansas guard Travis Releford cuts through North Texas defenders Shannon Shorter, left, and Kedrick Hogans during the first half, Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is North Texas guard Josh White. Releford was fouled on the play.

Kansas guard Travis Releford cuts through North Texas defenders Shannon Shorter, left, and Kedrick Hogans during the first half, Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is North Texas guard Josh White. Releford was fouled on the play. by Nick Krug

Releford posted just .79 points per possession used, while also using up 17 percent of the possessions when he was on the floor (fourth on the team).

His standard box score didn't show much either: 1-for-4 shooting, one rebound, one assist and two turnovers.

Releford's stats indicate that his contributions were minimal during a stellar scoring night for the Jayhawks.

Bottom Line

Many KU fans will rest easier knowing that Selby will be available in late December for the Jayhawks. Here's the truth: Even with Selby, KU couldn't have been much better offensively against North Texas on Friday night.

Though it's hard to keep track of all the mid-major schools, Valparaiso and North Texas are not pushovers. Both teams are certainly better than Presbyterian and Western Illinois — the two teams that challenged Kansas State and Missouri, respectively, in home games Thursday night.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris swings off the rim after delivering a dunk against North Texas during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris swings off the rim after delivering a dunk against North Texas during the second half Friday, Nov 19, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

So far, KU has exceeded expectations in each game this year, and Marcus Morris is playing like a first-team All-American.

If nothing else, we've learned that KU fans shouldn't have to wait until Dec. 18 to enjoy this year's Jayhawks.

;

Comments

ParisHawk 3 years, 8 months ago

More good stuff from Jesse Newell. One of the statistical markers of National Championship teams has been great two-point defense, so that is definitely an area to improve.

I'm starting to think that the Morris twins are not only great, but contagious. Even TRob is making a few great passes, hitting open jumpers from the top of the key and kicking the ball back out when the shot isn't there. Also, guys are really sealing off inside which makes entry passes and alley oops much easier.

The players are making each other better more than last year.

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foghawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Gotta love D. Manning on the sideline!

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Ashwin Rao 3 years, 8 months ago

Love the chemistry! Hope things remain the same after Selby comes out to play. Obviously someone has to give way to Selby. I hope everyone is mature about it and look for the betterment of the team!

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 8 months ago

ashwingrao--- Amen!

Jesse--- "Most of the focus after Friday's game will be josh Selby, and frankly, that's a shame." I agree. KU did play well. BTW, M.O.M (most outstanding Morris)-----very funny----maybe, that M.O.M. is referenced to their mom, Angel----LOL.

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bayareajhawk 3 years, 8 months ago

I like your comments, ParisHawk. I can't speak for anyone else, but I am already enjoying this year's team much more than last year's. Some of that has to do with expectation levels, but a lot of it has to do with the roster. I expected too much from the guys last year, and it made the season sginificantly less enjoyable. I also got frustrated with Sherron's on-court (and Tyshawn's on- and off-court) decision-making. I never felt much of an attachment to X, since he was only ever here for one year, and as much as I love Cole I felt like his presence slowed down what could have been a ridiculously fast/deep team. I realize that I shouldn't be complaining about any of those excellent college basketball players, but it's the way I felt last year and as a result I did not enjoy following the team that much during a season I should have been relishing.

This year, though, I have different expectations and I am loving the roster make-up. Last year, I was thinking of the team and the season in terms of the all-time greatest Jayhawk and college basketball teams. This season, my expectations are lowered to just being the greatest team in college basketball at the moment. I'm loving the Morris twins, loving this year's edition of Tyshawn Taylor, loving T-Rob's improvement, loving Releford's improvement, loving that Mario Little gets his chance to show everyone what he can do, etc.

I can't wait to see Selby play, but I am already so fired up about the guys who have been out there. I'm just going to have to keep a tight grip on my expectations and enjoy the ride. Regardless, I feel like I've already had as much fun watching KU this season as I had all last season.

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Alohahawk 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree completely. Much more enjoyable to watch this year. I'd bet we already have more lob dunks than we had last year, at least before the conference games started. My one frustration is the difficulty of locating ways of watching the games over the internet. Can hardly wait for the televised games (minus certain un-named broadcasting announcers). That way, I can record and replay the action.

Not to take anything away from last year's 33 win season, but so far, the Hawks do seem to be adjusting very well without the preseason big name stars. If they keep improving as much as the M&M twins and Robinson have shown, Tyshawn too, there's no reason they can't reach every Jayhawk fan's goal. A championship and perhaps an all american, or two or three. :)))

Dickie V. Bah! Humbug! Eat your words, Scrooge! What about those tarred and feathered Heels? Barnes sure did look "Tarred", in Roy's lingo, last night.

I sent this under one of the "Selby freed" videos and don't think many, if any saw it, so I'll reiterate it here. This occasion fits the lead-in from the old ' 50's Superman tv show (I'm dating myself here), with a few subtle word changes: "Faster than the opposition. More powerful, than any other point guard. Able to leap over the tallest center in a single bound. Look. Up in the Phog. It's a bird (Jayhawk). It's a plane (SST Jayhawk). It's super Jayhawk." Yes, it's super Jayhawk, powerful Jedi (Oops, I meant visitor) from planet Limbo, who, after fending off the all-powerful NCAA, lands in Jayhawk Land, and fights an all encompassing battle for coach, team and the Jayhawk way.".

So, even without Josh, do we win by 60 next game, or do we send in the second and third strings all second half? RCJH, and a warm "Aloha" to all.

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Kye Clark 3 years, 8 months ago

Just curious, since you say you "never felt much of an attachment to X since he was only ever here for one year", do you have the same sense of detachment towards Selby?

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waywardJay 3 years, 8 months ago

Because impending ecomonics, we are much more likely to see Selby stay two years.

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waywardJay 3 years, 8 months ago

i have to admit, I couldn't see the game from the begining until after it was finished. I cringed at Brady Morningstar starting, what did brady do, played pretty well and had team high assists. Goes to show, Never Doubt Bill.

For those comparing this year and last year's teams, we have already seen a major difference between the two.

Last year, Only Sherron and on occasion Xavier showed they could raise their game to a second level when adversity was knock them.

Yesterday both Morris, Tyshawn, Elijah.... Ok pretty much EVERYONE showed that they could bring their game to another level. Coming out of the hafltime, this was a team who not only disliked the thought of losing ( as our team did on sloppy games last year ).... They absolutely despised the thought of Losing, they sunk their teeth into North Texas and literally did not stop fighting until North Texas was done. It took about 3 minutes to completely cave a decent team, who on a neutral court could have kept it close, in November. Imagine the aggressiveness in March.

We NEVER got that from last years team, and we are getting it in game 3.

I know it's hard to expect any better than last year, this team is more balanced and hates losing much more. I think we are in for a real fun ride.

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Page Butler 3 years, 8 months ago

I think the North Texas game was one of the most entertaining games I have seen in a long time. I loved watching the Morris Twins playing so well. If you remember when they were freshmen and they wouldn't even dunk because they thought it might make them tired to where they are now it is unreal. WHERE ARE ALL THE BRADY HATERS NOW? Yesterday you were all saying how bad he was and how he didn't deserve to play and yet somehow Coach Self has a different opinion than all of you know it alls. Quit bagging on the guy. He gives his all to this program and he deserves credit for what he and his unselfish play brings to this team.

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Kye Clark 3 years, 8 months ago

Well first I'll correct you and say that anyone that is a real Jayhawk fan is not a "brady hater". However, a large portion of fans would like to see other players seeing more minutes over Brady, and to that I will make the argument. Look, most of these players "give their all" to this program. Niko Roberts and Jordan Juneman probably give their all in practice without the reward of a scholarship. Brady is shooting 28.6% from 3 this year, and this after struggling mightily with his shot pretty much as soon as conference play started last year. If his outside shot is not falling he is very a very limited offensive player. He is not going to take his man off the dribble nor post him up. Defensively, following his sophomore season all we heard was that he was a "lock-down defender", and last year that simply wasn't the case. Average at best.

Make no mistake, he played well yesterday, particularly on the defensive end where he was all over White. However, can anyone - even the Brady Brigade - argue that as a what? 24 year old Senior? that he has reached his ceiling? Probably not. Now suppose all of the people arguing for someone else to see more minutes last year, say Elijah Johnson, would have gotten their wish. Brady would still be Brady, and Elijah probably would be further along in his development. Would that have been better for this year's squad? Next year's? And now this year's squad is here with another group of young players vying for minutes. With Brady (as previously mentioned) probably having reached the apex of his abilities, some fans would like to see these less proven players seeing more minutes against some of this lesser competition early in the season. Really, with KU notching wins with 38, 35, and 33 margins of victory, what would be the harm in playing Elijah, Travis, Mario, and Royce more? If they do not progress to the point where they give us a better chance to win than Brady, Coach Self could up his minutes as competition becomes tougher. I think that is the main complaint people have, that in a 33 point win Brady played more minutes than everyone except Tyrel.

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Kye Clark 3 years, 8 months ago

should say can anyone argue that he HASN'T reached his ceiling. Oops.

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waywardJay 3 years, 8 months ago

As I said earlier, I cringed seeing him in the Starting lineup.... He doesn't desrve the start. He's a good kid but since the DUI,he's been a liability on the court. It makes me worry that we are going to play him the same minutes once Selby gets here, and that's Trouble.

Frankly, Jeuenemann is considerably more accurate with his Three, and works no less on teh defensive end. We are stuck with Brady at this point. We want to honor legacy, but at the same time we need to play the best 5-10 players. I personally do not think Brady is one of our best 5. Nor 10, once we have selby. He's probably our 11th best player, yet Bill starts him. When we lose, and we will Lose, this is not an imperfect team, I don't want it to be because of Brady's stat-line.

If I see Morning star 0-5, 0-4, 0-0 ft's 2 asists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers in 25 minutes..... I will lock onto him playing 25 minutes and not giving us any point production.

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Jayhawk444 3 years, 8 months ago

They do when your top recruit is named Josh and he didn't play in the game

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mikehawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Normally, I would say it is not fair to compare years and teams, as each is unique and different, with varying strengths and weaknesses. With that said, last year's team was basically a two-headed monster, and often, with only one operating well. So far, this team comes at you full force pressure defense and any number of guys can score. Then there is Marcus. Right now, it looks like the game has slowed way down for him and he at times looks like a man among boys. This team does have a long way to go,and the national championship talk is just that at this point. But if the defense keeps getting better and they can perform on the road, and maintain their unselfish team first attitude, it could get interesting. I wouldn't want to play this team or see them in my bracket. Reading between the lines, I think not only are the fans enjoying watching this team more than last year, I think Coach Bill is about to jump out of his suit with excitment regarding the possibilities. He gets to bring out all of his coaching bag of tricks with this multi-headed monster in development.

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waywardJay 3 years, 8 months ago

it's like trying to compare viable and sound quantifiables, with intangible and ever extending invariables.....

So far i love our ability to expand this year. We expand at a very impressive rate.

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kansas22 3 years, 8 months ago

Love it. 7th straight Big 12 title watch out. Dickie V picking us 5th in the conference looks hilarious at this point. Selby will only improve this already stellar squad. All I gotta say is Rock Chalk.

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REHawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Daffy Dick, are you listening? So far, you have done your part to help make this one of the most exciting and entertaining Novembers in the recent annals of Jayhawk Basketball.

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Greg Lux 3 years, 8 months ago

Travis has the talent ... what he needs is the desire to use his speed to penetrate the defense. I believe he will get there but the more he stand around the 3 point line passing the ball around against weaker teams the farther behind he will become so NOW is the time to open his game up. His defense is improving game by game but his offense is stale for sure. Come on Travis... Rock and Roll you can do it if you just push yourself a little.

Rock Chalk

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