My pregame keys to a Kansas victory:
1) Hold Kentucky under 45 eFG% from the field.
Hit. Kentucky shot 26.6 eFG%. The combination of good Kansas defense and poor Kentucky shooting decided who would win the game. The next five items just determined the margin of victory.
2) Get 65% of the defensive rebound opportunities.
Miss. Kansas only got 62.3% of their defensive rebound opportunities, but if you allow only one made basket on an initial shot attempt in an entire half, you create a margin for error in other areas. Kentucky came into the game getting 38% of their offensive rebound chances. Defensive rebounding is no more or less a cause for concern for the Jayhawks than it was last week.
3) Take 70% of field goal attempts inside the three-point line.
Hit. 17 of 56 field goal attempts came from behind the arc. That’s 69.6%. I feel comfortable rounding up as Kansas bettered their season average free throw rate.
4) Make 35% of three-point shots.
Miss. Kansas made only 23.5% of their three-point attempts. Russell Robinson probably shouldn’t take six threes in a game again, but, to my eye, despite being the worst three-point shooting display since the Nevada game, the team’s 13 misses resulted more from poor shooting than from poor offensive execution.
5) Get 38% of the offensive rebound opportunities.
Hit. Kansas got 41.9% of their offensive rebound opportunities. They were led in this regard by Moody and Giles who grabbed 4 offensive rebounds each, despite playing only 19 and 18 minutes respectively. As neither of those young men would be higher than 3rd in the post rotation were I making the decisions, I tip my cap to Coach Self for putting them in situations to succeed on Saturday.
6) Make 65% of their free throws.
Hit. Kansas entered the game a 62.4% free throw shooting team. They made 68.4% on Saturday. Expecting a close game, I thought this might be important. It was not. Still, it’s good to hit free throws. For CJ, it’s good just to get to shoot them.
Updated individual stats at Hoopinion. I’ll take a look at the Jayhawks’ defense as part of the Colorado preview of Wednesday. Until then, don’t believe that the Jayhawks look good on defense simply because they’re playing sub-par offensive teams.