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Recap: KU's low-post offense a no-show at Tennessee

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For the first time this season, Kansas allowed its opponent more than one point per possession. For the second time this season, KU scored less than one point per possession. Not surprisingly, for the first time this season, KU lost.

So what happened?

• The Jayhawks didn't get much offense in the low post.

Junior center Cole Aldrich — usually a big target for passes and a sure bet to score — found himself blanketed by Tennessee players all afternoon. Vols fronted the post when Aldrich fought for position and kept a back side defender nearby to eliminate KU's ability to throw lob passes to the 6-foot-11 Minnesotan. When Aldrich did catch the ball with his back to the basket, Tennessee quickly and masterfully collapsed on him to limit his offensive options. Aldrich finished with fantastic rebounding numbers (he grabbed 65 percent the of available rebounds while he was in the game) and a solid block total (14 percent of Tennessee's shots), but he only took 10 percent of KU's shots while in the game. Aldrich's 10 percent Shot Percentage was tied for the lowest among Jayhawks who played more than two minutes.

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/11/ku_bkc_tenn_04hz.jpg Cole Aldrich tries to score against the sturdy Tennessee defense — Nick Krug/LJW Photo

Sophomore forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris didn't pick up the slack. Marcus finished with a 13 percent Shot Percentage while Markieff posted a 10 percent Shot Percentage. In sum, the post troika combined to create 17 points in 68 minutes.

• Tennessee guard Bobby Maze (almost) had the game of his career.

The 6-2 Maze racked up an "efficiency" of 21 against KU. The only time the guard has put together a better all-around game was in a 2008 game against Georgetown. Maze, usually content to stay a pass-first role player, attacked the paint repeatedly against KU's soft perimeter defense. Maze ended up scoring 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds and distributing eight assists. Most importantly, Maze committed just two turnovers in leading his Vols to their second-lowest Turnover Rate of the season (11.4 percent).

• KU failed to take care of the ball

As painful as this game was to watch from impartial ground, I can only imagine the hair-pulling KU fans did Sunday afternoon. The Jayhawks turned the ball over on 22.9 percent of their possessions: More than the national average and the team's third-worst performance of the season. Among the starters, the most careless Jayhawks were sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor (30 percent Turnover Rate) and freshman guard Xavier Henry (25 percent Turnover Rate). Senior guard Sherron Collins' high possession usage offset his four turnovers and he finished with only a 20 percent Turnover Rate.

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Despite his lack of offensive opportunities, the honor goes to Cole Aldrich. KU's center blocked four shots and, most importantly, snared 18 rebounds. Ten of those rebounds came on the offensive glass. With the Jayhawks throwing away possession after possession through turnovers, the extra possessions the team gained by way of Aldrich's work on the glass might have been the difference between the actual eight point margin and a more reputation-tarnishing 15 point deficit.

Room for improvement

(See above).

Hard luck line

If you're charged with doing half of your team's ball distribution and you register more turnovers than assists, it just isn't your afternoon. Tyshawn Taylor committed four turnovers and earned three assists Sunday to go along with 4-for-11 field goal shooting and just one rebound.

The Bottom Line

Losses happen to bad teams, losses happen to good teams and losses happen to great teams. KU certainly is not bad and probably is better than good. There's no reason to panic. This loss doesn't go on the conference ledger and won't look terrible come March.

The always-enlightening Game Flow chart, compliments of StatSheet.com:

Comments

86finalfour 10 years ago

How can you give M.O.J. to Aldrich when you say they lost because low-post didn't show up? Collins was the only player who showed up.

AsherFusco 10 years ago

86finalfour:

My reasoning for choosing Aldrich (copied from above): "KU's center blocked four shots and, most importantly, snared 18 rebounds. Ten of those rebounds came on the offensive glass. With the Jayhawks throwing away possession after possession through turnovers, the extra possessions the team gained by way of Aldrich's work on the glass might have been the difference between the actual eight point margin and a more reputation-tarnishing 15 point deficit."


Also, Aldrich's man, Tennessee forward/center Wayne Chism, created .81 points per possession in 19 minutes (foul trouble).

Collins' man, UT guard Bobby Maze, created 1.48 points per possession, nearly 50 percent better than Collins.

John Thomas 10 years ago

I can understand the MOJ to Aldrich instead of Collins. I love Collins play but the only way he scored the 22 points was the 20 shots he took. Our Bigs MUST go to the basket more. We can't rely on the outside jump shot.

Asher made a good analysis in my opinion.

mphawk27 10 years ago

I also agree with giving it to Aldrich instead. Collins will go down as one of the greatest guards to play at KU and possibly the one of the winningist players in NCAA history but every so often he does something like this that drives me crazy. Most often it comes after a huge game in which he was the savior, he tries to do it again the next game and shoots us right out of it. Yes, he did have 22 points but his 7-20 from the field as well as his 2-10 from three killed us. When you're not hitting shots you have to get it in to Aldrich and the other bigs. I think that's a major contributing factor for why our post play wasn't getting anything going. HCBS said our post players need to be more aggressive but I think our guards need to be less aggressive as well and get the ball moving again. We cannot be stopped when we are swinging the ball around, dumping it inside to score or kicking it back out for open threes instead of forced, contested, early-in-the-shot clock threes.

Jacobpaul81 10 years ago

We have a major problem. #4's style of play is at odds with the offensive game plan we need to win:

When #4 dribble drives, he draws 3-4 defenders into the paint, which clogs up the works. Instead of penetrating and drawing defensive players away from the bigs to set them up, the defenses collapse, force him to pass out to our guards who are left with the option to throw up the three or restart the offense. That's because the defenders are all over our bigs. Most the time, they are just throwing up the 3 ball which is a bad decision. As long as #4 keeps dribble driving over and over, the Bigs will not have the spacing to work.

When #4 takes 3s without his teammates beneath the rim, it takes them out of offensive rebound/scoring situation. This happens quite often where we come down and shoot a quick three with no one in position to score.

4 also has a tendancy to hold onto the ball when coming across court. Because he does this, our guards are getting use to setting up deep to the sides (also preparing for that dribble drive - 3 dump). In comparison #10 comes across half court and is looking to pass the ball to get the offense running. He's not constantly looking for the fast break in the lane. Because of this, when he tries to pass, often he has to lob his passes over defenders because the guards are playing to #4's style and not #10's. It was this very thing that led to multiple turnovers in the Tennessee and Cornell games. Players have got to move on offense, but when #4s on the court, they can't move because they have to be there to bail out his dribble drive when it doesn't work.

Dale Koch 10 years ago

Let's face it, the twins sucked big time in this game and the Cornell game. What is up with them anyway? Are they saving their energy for the conference games???

MichaelC 10 years ago

Asher - Curious how you calculate lead safeness? I have my own theory and formula, just wondering how close our math is.

Thanks

Scott Smetana 10 years ago

Disclaimer I and most posters on here don't have a life, but like to pretend we know as much as Self. Please ignore these posts players in case you are silly enough to read.

I personally don't see Cole being a huge scoring force unless it's a dunk. We need the Morris twins badly to be rebounding rim hogs. We also need X to be near the rim more. Cole is our defensive/rebounding stud.

melrank 10 years ago

That #4 referred to above must not be any good, but . . . thank goodness we have Sherron, because without him we would have now lost 2 games in a row and the last by about 20 points.

I'm sure he would prefer to not be jacking up 20 shots a game if his teammates would freaking show up and give him some help.

That #4 guy needs to go, though.

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