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Postgame Report Card: No. 4 Kansas 65, No. 7 Kentucky 61

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Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pressures Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pressures Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. by Nick Krug

Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 65-61 victory over No. 7 Kentucky in the 2017 Champions Classic at United Center in Chicago.

Offense: C-

The Jayhawks made a couple of big shots and plays when they had to have them. And Devonte' Graham and Malik Newman delivered at the free throw line in the closing minutes on an otherwise miserable free-throw-shooting night. Those two factors saved the passing grade. Otherwise, KU had a major off night, shooting just 35.3 percent for the game and struggling to work good offensive possessions time and time again.

Defense: B-

KU coach Bill Self said after the game that his team dirtied up the game in order to survive and a big chunk of that came on defense. KU limited Kentucky to 41.8 percent shooting and snagged a dozen steals while playing even on the glass. Beyond that, the Jayhawks allowed Kentucky to hit just three 3-pointers all game.

Frontcourt: B

They had just one big man for the most part, as Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot combined to play 40 minutes, but Azubuike came through when his team needed him most. His production was much bigger than his 13 points and eight rebounds suggests and, by far the most important thing he did was stay out of foul trouble.

Backcourt: B-

The Kansas guards hit some big shots at clutch times, but overall endured a miserable shooting night. Devonte' Graham and Malik Newman combined to make just 7 of 28 attempts and Lagerald Vick and Svi Mykhailiuk weren't much better. The guards did enough to win on a night when Kansas didn't have anyone else to go to. And the fact that they still found a way to beat a Top 10 team on such an off shooting night illustrates how well they did in others areas.

Bench: C

Marcus Garrett hit a big 3-pointer in the second half and swiped a couple of steals. Mitch Lightfoot competed but didn't produce much in his six minutes on the floor. Given that fact, the bench production, which came from an extremely thin crew, was merely average at best.

Comments

Dirk Medema 2 days, 10 hours ago

Does Billy being in street clothes count against the bench.

Certainly hope he's going to grow up soon. In the meantime, someone please take his keys.

Alan Dickey 2 days, 1 hour ago

Good write-up Matt, but based on your description, I would give KU's defense at least a B+:

"KU coach Bill Self said after the game that his team dirtied up the game in order to survive and a big chunk of that came on defense. KU limited Kentucky to 41.8 percent shooting and snagged a dozen steals while playing even on the glass. Beyond that, the Jayhawks allowed Kentucky to hit just three 3-pointers all game."

We held KenPom's (I know it's early) 12th ranked offense to 61 points, which was enough to win on a bad-scoring knight, and which is about all you reasonably can ask of a defense.

Dave Miller 1 day, 22 hours ago

Dok's a BEAST now, but by conference play I think he will be a lot better and I'm sure that Coach Self will see that Dok is fed regularly with a great selection of passes from the guards.

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