Postgame Report Card: Kansas 90, Michigan State 70
Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 90-70, second-round NCAA Tournament victory over Michigan State on Sunday night at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Scoring 100 points in the first round was one thing, but following that up with 90 in Round 2, against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, no less? That’s downright impressive. KU coach Bill Self agreed, even if he wished it had come from better execution. “I thought we made hard shots. I don’t know that it was great offensive execution, I thought it was great individual play.”
KU’s biggest runs featured the Jayhawks getting defensive stops and hitting the glass. Kansas out-rebounded Michigan State 36-28, not the most impressive number, but more than enough to control the game. The Spartans shot a decent percentage (44) but had to earn absolutely everything and occasionally got swallowed up and watched the Jayhawks sprint the other way for easy transition buckets. Speaking of fast-breaks, KU’s transition D also was solid most of the night. Oh, yeah, and then there were those two blocks by Josh Jackson. Wow.
Reserve Dwight Coleby got the glory and absolutely deserved it for coming up huge in a big spot, but Landen Lucas was terrific. Absolutely, positively, sensationally terrific. He was strong when he posted up, scored with ease, grabbed nine rebounds in the first half alone and played the kind of defense that must’ve made Michigan State think there were two or three No. 33’s on the floor for Kansas. He walled up and played tall inside, showed strong help on ball screens and even trapped a time or two. Just a terrific performance to build even more confidence and head into next week’s showdown with Purdue Caleb Swanigan. Bragg’s rough night accounts for the minus.
Mason didn’t have a great night shooting the ball, but who cares. He finished with 20 points and 5 assists — right on his season averages — and set up his teammates in good position to make plays all night. Beyond that, Josh Jackson (23) and Devonte’ Graham (18) put up big time point totals and buried the Spartans inside and out. Svi Mykhailiuk (9) came within one point of making it two games in a row that the starting five all reached double figures in scoring and also played some of his best defense of the season early in the game.
As mentioned above, Carlton Bragg had another rough night. Nick Ward was just too big, strong and powerful for Bragg to hold up. But Dwight Coleby and Lageral Vick both played very well for Kansas and contributed some positive minutes and memorable plays. With the good showings out-numbering the bad, 2-1, and one of them coming as at least a little bit of a surprise, this grade gets bumped all the way up to the high-B range.