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