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Recap: Why Thomas Robinson's rebounding was more impressive than his points

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.

If you haven't yet do yourself a favor and read this well-researched blog by RealGM.com's Dan Hanner.

In it, he talks more about Kansas and the KenPom rankings, also why some teams are ranked as highly as they are.

Following Kansas' 81-46 victory over Texas Tech, the Jayhawks have jumped all the way up to second in KenPom's rankings, behind only Ohio State.

A toothless Justin Wesley laughs with Elijah Johnson on the bench late in the second half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena. Wesley had the tooth knocked out during a recent practice.

A toothless Justin Wesley laughs with Elijah Johnson on the bench late in the second half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena. Wesley had the tooth knocked out during a recent practice. by Nick Krug

A big reason for that was on display Wednesday: KU has drubbed the weaker teams it has played this year.

Against teams that are ranked 101 or worse in KenPom's rankings, KU is 7-0 with the second-best KenPom ranking in the country.

Hanner does a nice job of explaining that these types of blowouts aren't insignificant, while also discussing why margin of victory is one tool that is important when evaluating teams.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Thomas Robinson runs away with this award despite only playing only 19 minutes.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson stretches out while awaiting a couple of Jayhawk free throws after a technical foul against Texas Tech during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson stretches out while awaiting a couple of Jayhawk free throws after a technical foul against Texas Tech during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena. by Nick Krug

The junior was efficient, posting 1.84 points per possession used while ending 26.7 percent of KU's possessions.

Still, what was even more impressive was his rebounding.

Robinson grabbed 12 rebounds in his 19 minutes, which left him with some ridiculous rebounding percentages. Not only was he able to grab 22.5 percent of KU's misses, he also came away with 52.6 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

Just think about it. When Texas Tech put up a shot and missed, there were 10 players on the court who could have grabbed it. While Robinson was out there, he grabbed those misses 52.6 percent of the time, while the other nine players combined for the other 47.4 percent.

Robinson's 77.2 effective field goal percentage also was second on the team to guard Naadir Tharpe, who was a perfect 3-for-3.

Through three games in conference, Robinson is playing at a national-player-of-the-year level. KU fans need to enjoy him while he's still here.

Room for Improvement

Man, this one's tough, as we're going to have to get really nit-picky to fill this category with something.

The Jayhawks and Red Raiders chase a rebound during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

The Jayhawks and Red Raiders chase a rebound during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena. by Nick Krug

I guess KU could have done a little better job of forcing turnovers against the Big 12's most careless team. KU forced turnovers on 19 percent of Texas Tech's possessions, which was below KU's season defensive average (22.8 percent) and also well below Texas Tech's season average (24.6 percent).

Still, Texas Tech finished with just 0.73 points per possession and also had its lowest point total in nearly five years (since March 2007 against Kansas State). So even without forcing a lot of turnovers, KU's defense was outstanding.

Tough-Luck Line

Other than an impressive dunk off a lob from Robinson, Elijah Johnson had a quiet night.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson flashes a smile during a Jayhawk run against Texas Tech during the second half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson flashes a smile during a Jayhawk run against Texas Tech during the second half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena. by Nick Krug

The junior posted just 0.60 points per possession used while ending just 11.7 percent of the possessions he was in.

In his 27 minutes, he was 1-for-4 from the floor with three rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and a steal.

Johnson also is in his worst shooting slump of the season. With an 0-for-2 effort from three Wednesday, Johnson has made just five of his last 25 long-range attempts (20 percent) spanning the last five games.

With the two misses, his season three-point percentage is down to 29.3 percent (27 of 92). That's almost five percentage points lower than the NCAA average three-point percentage (34.2 percent).

Johnson should still keep firing away with open looks from three, but he's probably also at the point where he should pass up semi-guarded ones until he sees a few more go through.

Bottom Line

KU's 81-46 victory over Texas Tech ends up being even more impressive considering the slow pace.

Kansas forward Kevin Young elevates for a dunk on the Texas Tech defense late in the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

Kansas forward Kevin Young elevates for a dunk on the Texas Tech defense late in the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena. by Nick Krug

The game had just 63 possessions for both sides, which tied for the slowest-paced game KU played this season (the UCLA game also had 63).

It's harder to blow a team out by 35 when you don't have the ball as often. The Jayhawks posted 1.29 points per possession (their third-highest mark of the year) while holding the Red Raiders to 0.73 PPP (also the third-worst for a KU opponent this season). That's a PPP differential of 0.56 PPP that you won't see often, especially in conference road games.

Meanwhile, TTU's 0.73 PPP was its worst mark since March 3, 2008 — when it scored just 0.70 PPP in a 109-51 drubbing during KU's senior night.

The Red Raiders' effective field-goal percentage of 32.4 percent also was its worst since the 2006-07 season.

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends a shot by Texas Tech forward Jaye Crockett during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena.

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends a shot by Texas Tech forward Jaye Crockett during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at United Spirit Arena. by Nick Krug

In other words, it was another great night for KU's defense, which seems to only be getting better as this season continues.

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Comments

Adam Evans 2 years, 7 months ago

I was impressed with one other thing that will never show up on a stat sheet, but will effect everything that does. KUs composure was incredible. Conner held it together. TRob didn't play frustrated after getting a few early fouls like we've seen him do. TRel, as always, kept his wits and was key for our D, once again. This was a physical game and could have gotten out of hand. Hats off hawks. :)

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AsadZ 2 years, 7 months ago

This team is starting to get an identity and it starts with D. This is a great sign something which has been lacking since the 08 NC team.

Against Tech, they completely overwhelmed them in 2nd haf. Tech players looked frustrated, tired and missed open shots. I believe Technical fouls, ejection etc also contributed to their bad play.

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