Recap: It's been a long time since KSU's defensive rebounding was this bad
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.
It's going to be hard to overstate just how important Kansas' rebounding dominance was in Wednesday night's 67-49 victory over Kansas State.
Surely you know by now that the Jayhawks outrebounded the Wildcats, 50-26, but the performance on the glass was even better when you compare it to recent history.
KU grabbed 57.6 percent of its misses on Wednesday night, which was the most ever by a Bill Self-coached KU team against a Big 12 opponent.
Looking at it from the other direction, it was Kansas State's worst defensive rebounding effort in nearly 10 years. The last time the Wildcats grabbed less than 42.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds was March 8, 2002 against Oklahoma.
(Just to give you some context, also on March 8, 2002, Jeff Boschee had 21 points, while Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich added 18 points apiece as KU defeated Colorado, 102-73, in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament. ... And I was in high school.)
KU also limited KSU's offensive rebounding, which is one of the Wildcats' greatest strengths. K-State grabbed just 27.9 percent of the available offensive rebounds, which was its worst mark of the season and second-worst percentage in the last two years.
M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)
Travis Releford was about as good as we've seen him at KU on both ends of the floor.
The junior posted 1.31 points per possession used while ending a season-high 22.9 percent of the possessions he was in (meaning he was more involved in the offense this game than any other).
Releford also helped hold KSU's Rodney McGruder — who had made 16 of his last 18 shots and six of his last seven threes coming in — to 5-for-14 shooting (1-for-5 from three).
Releford also seamlessly moved into the post late after Thomas Robinson picked up his fourth foul. Playing as a 4, Releford muscled up to Jamar Samuels after chasing down McGruder most of the night.
The most interesting statistic for Releford lately has been his offensive rebounding.
In KU's first 12 games this year, the Kansas City, Mo., native grabbed a combined 10 offensive rebounds.
In his last two games, Releford has combined for 11 offensive rebounds.
Whatever the reason for the surge, Self has to hope it continues. On Wednesday, Releford grabbed 24.2 percent of the available offensive rebounds (first on the team) and 15.5 percent of the available defensive rebounds (fourth on the team).
He's also quietly become the Jayhawks' third-leading rebounder, as his 4.3 per game put him only behind Robinson (12.3) and Jeff Withey (6.0).
Room for Improvement
KU's outstanding rebounding made up for a horrible night with turnovers in a low-possession game (64 possessions).
The Jayhawks gave it away on 31.2 percent of their possessions, which was their highest mark this year and 10th-highest mark in the Self era.
This goes to Tyshawn Taylor, whose stat line will look worse than his actual production.
The senior posted 0.75 points per possession used while ending a team-high 32.1 percent of KU's possessions.
Taylor's turnovers dragged down his numbers, as his eight giveaways were the second-most for him this season.
Still, it's hard to criticize too much, as Taylor's driving ability led to some offensive rebounds and also opened things up for KU.
This shouldn't be overlooked. KSU coach Frank Martin said after the game the main reason he switched to a zone defense was that the Wildcats didn't have anyone who could stay in front of Taylor.
That change ended up biting KSU, as the Jayhawks hit a couple of huge three-pointers (including one by Conner Teahan) against the zone that broke the game open.
Kansas State's two biggest strengths offensively were getting to the free throw line and offensive rebounding, and KU neutralized both.
Along with the rebounding numbers above, KU also held K-State to a free throw rate (free throws divided by field goals) of 28.1, which was the lowest mark by the Wildcats this season.
With few offensive rebounds, limited free throws and a poor shooting performance (36 eFG%, second worst team mark this season), the Wildcats scuffled to 0.76 points per possession — their worst mark of the season and second-worst total in the Frank Martin era.
Mark this as another game won more by KU's defense than its offense.