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Recap: What a complete statistical performance looks like

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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.

Kansas' 90-66 victory over Kansas State on Saturday is an interesting one to diagnose statistically.

At some point in the game, KU seemed to play well in every facet. The Jayhawks rebounded and defended well early, while getting good shots and shooting the ball well late.

What we end up with is a game where the Jayhawks were good both offensively and defensively, with neither area significantly better than the other. http://www2.kusports.com/photos/galle...

KU scored 1.23 points per possession, which is great against a defense like KSU's but still only ranks as third-best in six Big 12 games.

Meanwhile, KU allowed 0.90 points per possession to KSU, which was its best effort in Big 12 play but just the 10th-best effort of the year.

Here's a breakdown by half to further break down KU's play on Saturday:

First Half
KU — 1.06 PPP
KSU — 0.57 PPP
(35 possessions)

Second Half
KU — 1.39 PPP
KSU — 1.18 PPP
(38 possessions)

If we were only talking about the first half, we'd talk about KU's smothering defense. If we were only talking about the second half, we'd discuss the Jayhawks' tremendous efficiency.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor cuts to the bucket past Kansas State defenders Wally Judge (33) Jacob Pullen (0) and Will Spradling (55) during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor cuts to the bucket past Kansas State defenders Wally Judge (33) Jacob Pullen (0) and Will Spradling (55) during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

As it was, we once again saw that these Jayhawks are balanced enough to dominate a good opponent offensively or defensively — and sometimes both ways in the same game.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor both had great games, but the M.O.J. goes to Markieff Morris.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris gets up for a rebound over Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris gets up for a rebound over Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The 6-foot-9 forward posted 1.45 points per possession used while ending a high number of possessions (26 percent) while he was in. He also scored at least one point on 78.8 percent of the possessions that he ended.

Markieff was at his best in the first half, dominating the defensive glass when KSU 6-foot-8 forward Curtis Kelly was still in there (and during the time when the game was still in doubt).

Overall, Markieff pulled down 27.7 percent of the defensive rebounds and 15.8 percent of the offensive rebounds while he was in, giving KU the rebounding presence it desperately needed against an aggressive team like K-State.

Add in 8-for-10 shooting, two steals and two blocks to go with just one turnover and two fouls, and it's easy to see why KU coach Bill Self afterwards said that Markieff was terrific.

Room for Improvement

This is really tough, as KU was pretty good in every statistical category.

Looking at the box score, K-State performed worse than average in almost every advanced statistic listed (efficiency, eFG%, floor percentage, free throw rate, assist percentage, assist-to-turnover ratio, steal percentage, block percentage, offensive rebound percentage, defensive rebound percentage). The Wildcats only were better than average at turnover percentage, and barely so at that (21.9 percent, compared to 22.7 percent this season).

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson and Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels wrestle for position during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson and Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels wrestle for position during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU, meanwhile, was better than average in all the statistics above except for assist percentage (58.8 percent compared to 60.8 percent), block percentage (4.4 percent compared to 8.0 percent) and defensive rebound percentage (60.4 percent compared to 70.6 percent).

We'll go with something more eye-based for today, and that was KU's inability to guard KSU's Jacob Pullen without Taylor on the floor.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson defends against a shot by Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is KU guard Elijah Johnson and at right are KSU forward Jamar Samuels and KU forward Marcus Morris.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson defends against a shot by Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is KU guard Elijah Johnson and at right are KSU forward Jamar Samuels and KU forward Marcus Morris. by Nick Krug

By my count, when Taylor exited the game in the second half, Pulled scored 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Take out that part, and Pullen's final line is six points on 3-for-15 shooting.

KU's guards weren't good defensively against Colorado, and though Taylor played superbly on Saturday, there still has to be some fear that KU might have issues defensively if Taylor is tired/injured/has foul trouble at any point this year.

It's time for some other guards — especially Elijah Johnson — to show they can hold their own defensively when called upon later this year.

Tough-Luck Line

For the second straight game, Tyrel Reed had an off-shooting night during a game when his teammates thrived offensively.

Tyrel Reed (14) takes a layup to the basket during the second half of the Jayhawks' game against the Kansas State Wildcats, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. Former KU star Wayne Simien had his jersey retired in a halftime ceremony at the game.

Tyrel Reed (14) takes a layup to the basket during the second half of the Jayhawks' game against the Kansas State Wildcats, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. Former KU star Wayne Simien had his jersey retired in a halftime ceremony at the game. by Mike Yoder

The senior guard posted just 0.85 points per possession used — the lowest among KU's nine primary rotation players. In fact, Reed was the only player in that rotation to produce less than 1 point per possession used. Having said that, his impact was limited, as he only used up 13.6 percent of KU's possessions while he was in during his 1-for-6 shooting night.

One trend to watch with Reed going forward will be his turnovers. During Reed's first 17 games, he was remarkably sure-handed, turning it over just 12 times in 499 combined minutes.

In the guard's last three games, though, he's turned it over seven times in just 85 minutes.

One reason the Burlington native has been so consistent this season is because of his ability to avoid giveaways on a team filled with other careless guards.

It'll be interesting to track if Reed can revert back to his low-turnover form in upcoming Big 12 games.

Bottom Line

Though KU was better than KSU in nearly every facet, the Jayhawks' advantage Saturday was most evident in shooting percentages.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris delivers a jam before the student section and the Kansas State defense during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris delivers a jam before the student section and the Kansas State defense during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KU's 66.4 eFG% was its fourth-highest of the year (and the highest KSU has allowed all year), while KSU's 39.0 eFG% was its second-lowest of the season.

The most impressive part about KU's victory might have been how complete it was. The Jayhawks weren't dominated in a single statistical area, making it difficult to nitpick about any part of Saturday's blowout win.

Comments

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

And yet this team is still far away from reaching its potential...

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Correct! Potential, potential, potential. HCBS must salivate when he considers that this team has such a great record but still has much greater possibilities. However, he must also be ultra-frustrated when they keep falliing short. But that's what coaches are for, to help them achieve that highest level.

Come on Hawks, keep improving and present Self with a good night's sleep.

ParisHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Aren't we getting a little spoiled? Face it, the only team to "reach its potential" in fandom terms was the 2008 team, and it took two years. The previous year the same team lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight. (I'm not counting Cole who played 8 significant minutes the whole 2008 season.)

To reach their potential, these guys need to improve as much in one season as the Champs did in two - a tall order. We can only hope.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Yes, we absolutely are spoiled when it comes to basketball - that was my point.

We have had many teams that got knocked out of the tournament earlier than they should have. We have the 02-03 team that couldn't hit free throws in the championship game. We have the 07-08 team which would not have won the championship game had Memphis made their free throws.

At this point in the season, you can reasonably talk about a team's potential based on their past performances. We know how well each player on the team can play, and we know how poorly each player on the team can play.

The potential of this team comes from the fact that each individual has had at least one excellent game on offense and one excellent game on defense. The problem is that the team has yet to play both excellent offense and excellent defense for a full game. Even in this game, it was offense one half and defense the other half.

The team as a whole needs to be better than the sum of its individual parts, and this team is finally putting it together on the court - but they can still do much better.

Like Coach Self has said before: this team isn't special yet, but they sure have the potential to be incredibly special.

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

perhaps reed's increased turnovers are due to him becoming more of an attacker of the basket?

Jesse Newell 10 years, 10 months ago

chuck — Thinking back, your observation about Reed seems right. I looked back, and two of Reed's seven turnovers in the last three games were charges.

There's nothing wrong with Reed attacking the rim; I'm just not sure if KU needs a ton of that from him, especially if it's going to increase his turnover count on a team that already has had issues with turnovers this year.

Steve Kubler 10 years, 10 months ago

I believe that Tyrel is driving more because his shot is not falling from outside. You always hear people saying that shooters keep shooting and that if someone in a slump hits a couple of easy ones it is likely the slump will end. Tyrel knows that and is likely pushing somewhat to try and break his slump.

While KU doesn't need that from him I do not think it hurts the team much as when he avoids the charging call he draws fouls and he hits most of his free throws. However I do wish he'd pull up 10-15 feet out for a jumper and avoid the charging calls.

kesmithstl1 10 years, 10 months ago

the pic of T-Rob and Samuels looks like something straight out of a cage match!

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Samuels is just giving TRob lots of love. May have been the biggest hug he got all day.

mikehawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree chuck. I think he is trying to do more than just spot up, driving, and out in transition with the ball. I think Tyrel's turnovers are much less problematic than Josh's, or at times Tyshawn's are, at this point when put in the context of their overall roles. It is still early, but, Tyrel may be one of those players that is at his best when his team most needs it.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Reed seems to always be the rock on the team - the "KS kid" that keeps them focused on proving the point on the scoreboard. That's what comes across while watching the games and reading/listening to interviews, anyways.

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 10 months ago

Jesse, you said K-State didn't win in any statistical category, but didn't they shoot a higher percentage of free throws than we did? I suspect that was because so many of the fouls were against Thomas, and that's definitely the weakest part of his game.

Jesse Newell 10 years, 10 months ago

oldalum — I didn't mean to say that KSU didn't win any statistical category, but instead that KU won nearly every statistic (and wasn't beaten badly in any one I could find). Sorry if it was confusing.

Also, though KSU might have shot a higher FT percentage (65 percent to 63 percent), KU definitely won the free-throw battle.

The Jayhawks had more free throws (27 to 20), more made free throws (17 to 13) and a higher free throw rate, which is calculated by dividing free throws by field goals (49.1 to 29.4).

Joe Ross 10 years, 10 months ago

Watching this last game made me think..."finally!" Yes, this was KU playing well. What a satisfying feeling to see Kansas hitting on all cylinders. Great job, Hawks!

Adam Evans 10 years, 10 months ago

Jesse, you are my hero. As a math/stat guy myself, your articles just make me salivate with statistical excitement. One thing, and I know it might be a bit much since you put so much into these articles already, that I think would be great is a breakdown of what you use to anoint you M.O.J. after each game (i.e. a listing of all of the players who played significant minutes outside of mop-up minutes and their stats like points per possessions used, possessions ended stats, etc.) Kind of like Keegan does only with detailed stats instead of just ranking 1-9/10. I'm pretty sure you have all the info all ready to go in a spreadsheet just waiting to be shared. :)

Adam Evans 10 years, 10 months ago

*your. I got overly excited haha. Sorry for the typo. :D

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