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Kansas vs Southwest Missouri State: Inside the Numbers
by Donald Davis

Related pages

Thoughts and Observations

Coach's comments

Box score

Season stats

Possession analysis

Explanation of NEP

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to peruse the game stats for the Southwest Missouri St. game and isolate the single salient accomplishment. Clearly defense was the beckoning call in this contest for the Jayhawks. To wit; 13 SMS points in the second half, an unprecedented PPP (points per possession) of 0.538, and a season low total of 43 points. To put this in perspective we held Washburn, a D-II school, to a PPP of 0.596 and our opponents average PPP for the season is 0.763. No matter how you slice it this was a strong defensive effort. The second area that surely put a smile on Roy's face was the ball control and ball movement. We had a season high assist to turnover ratio of 2.09 and also a season low %LOB (% of possessions ending in a TO) of 13.1%. When you combine that with the fact we assisted on 74.2% of the FG's you have a wonderful ball control game. Boschee, who has had an outstanding season thus far in the ball control department had an off game with 1 assist to 2 TO's. The big boost came from the frontcourt which has been less than stellar this year at ball control. Obviously after the season second worst ball control performance against Ohio St. Roy focused a bit in practice on this issue. Kirk was his typical outstanding self with 8 assists and 2 TO's. Against Ohio St. the frontcourt had 9 assists against 19 TO's! Ouch!! Against SMS these same 6 players (I count Luke as a frontcourt player) had 12 assists and 5 TO's. Now that is improvement. I got the feeling these guys definitely had the fear of Roy in them and thought before they passed. This was a great old-fashioned Roy Williams smart game. A real throwback to the early 90's. Now the question is, can they repeat this and make it a regular thing.

Offensively the Jayhawks had a very nice game also. I already mentioned the % of FG's assisted was a very nice 74.2 compared to a season average of 67.5%. Our offensive PPP was 0.917 which is slightly below the season average of 0.944 but anytime you are over 0.900 you should be very happy. We will almost certainly not finish the season with a PPP much above 0.9 if that high. Although 77 points is well below our season average of 84 that is largely a function of the pace of the game set by the opponent. This game had a moderate to slow pace and hence we had only 84 possessions compared to a season average 89 possessions per game. Actually this was the second lowest possessions of the season next to the Wake Forest game. Obviously SMS had a game plan to slow us down and pick apart our defense much as Wake Forest did. Unfortunately for SMS we hopefully learned from the Wake Forest game and were prepared. Look for the Big 12 teams to try the same tactic. UCLA tried just the opposite and found that KU can run with anybody. Not many teams would be able to beat KU in a track meet kind of game. They will try to slow it down and take advantage of out supposedly slow-footed big men in the middle or bomb us from outside. We will need to meet this challenge with games much like this one. In regards to other defensive measurements we blocked 11.3% of SMS's field goal attempts which is way above our average of 8.6%. We only managed to steal the ball on 6.3% of their possessions which is well below our average of 8.1%. We committed only 14 fouls which is another amazing stat. This is way below our average of 19.5 per game. Our rebounding was not much to brag about in the first half with SMS equaling us with 22 apiece. Roy certainly said a few words at half-time about this and we came out and completely dominated them in the second half 27 to 14. We did manage to get 57.6% of all rebounds. We grabbed 41.0% on our offensive glass and 71.7% on the defensive glass. Both are acceptable numbers. You can argue this team was small and we should have done even better but rebounding isn't just about size. We are averaging 38% of the offensive rebounds and 73.4% of the defensive rebounds and 57.2% overall. So this game was just about average from a rebounding standpoint.

Shooting!!!!!!! What can you say. We missed quite a few chip shots last night. It was just one of those games. Kenny and Nick are very deliberate shooters and for the most part are very intelligent in their shot selection. Hence they tend to shoot a very high percentage. That is true for the season (KG-64.8%, NC-63.7%) and last night (KG-71.7%, NC-72.4%). The rest of the team did so-so taking mostly pretty good shots just unable to knock them down. I hate to pick on Eric but his shot was not working last night until late but he kept shooting. In fact he shot more, way more, than any other player. In 23 minutes he shot 13 times for a rate of 22.61 shots per 40 minutes. Nick was next with 11 shots in 25 minutes for a rate of 17.6 shots per 40 minutes. If you take Eric's shot's out we shot over 50% as a team. As it is we shot 47.0%. Only against Wake Forest (38.0%) have we shot worse. Our season average now sits at 52.4%. Boschee continued his shooting woes hitting only 2 of 7 shots and 2 of 6 treys. Eric has been gradually lowering his shooting percentage and now sits at 48.2% on the season. Jeff Boschee is at 37.8% overall and 27.9% from three point land. Watch out for Luke. He is really coming on as he recovers from his injuries. He is 13 for 27 on the season which is 48.1%. Here is something to ponder. Just about everyone would say Jeff has superior shooting abilities to Kenny, yet Jeff is shooting 37.8% to Kenny's 64.8%. I certainly think (or hope) Jeff is just about to shake off his slump and do what we all know he can do and start bringing his percentages up but you can't ignore the current differential between his shooting percentage and that of Kenny. Given that Jeff's form and stroke are superior what can you conclude from this. Partially it is because Jeff is launching more treys where a lower % is acceptable. But the primary conclusion I draw is shooting is one part form, 1 part poise, and 2 parts selection. I really don't feel Jeff's selection has been that bad this year but Kenny and Nick are masters of staying within their repertoire. Smart shot selection is the best road to a higher percentage. I certainly hope Jeff comes into his own in Big 12 play because we all know he is very capable.

Overall the NEP for the SMS game was 106.8 which is above our season average of 100.7. The shooting percentage brought it down quite a bit. Individually Drew and Nick both had strong games with gross NEP's above 20. Nick edged out Drew with 20.39 compared to 20.84. Kenny and Kirk were just behind at 17.98 and 17.95 respectively.

Eric had his shooting woes but he hit the boards well grabbing a team high 11 rebounds in 23 minutes ending with a gross NEP of 14.9. Luke also had a nice game and really hit the boards with 6 rebounds in 19 minutes as well as 3 for 5 from the arc. Eric and Nick also had 3 blocks each. Kenny finished without committing a single foul. Kenny has by far a team low in fouls committing only 8 fouls all season in 262 minutes for a rate of 1.22 fouls per 40 minutes.

Record Watch

I know it's early and things can change in Big 12 season play but Kirk is looking strong challenging both Cedric Hunter's 278 total assists in 1986 and Jacque Vaughn's 7.7 assists per game in 1995. Currently Kirk has 84 assists through 12 games for an average of 7.0 per game. That would be good enough for third place in assists per game all-time for a KU player. If Kirk keeps up at his current pace he would have 196 at the end of the regular season. That in itself would put him in 6 place all-time at KU. Assuming 8 post-season games he could move up to second place all-time surpassing Ryan Robertson's 248 assists in 1998. Eric Chenowith will move into 6th place all-time for career rebounding in the next couple games. He should finish 5th all-time but has a very remote shot at passing Bill Bridges for 4th. Eric also has an outside chance of moving into the top 10 in career points. He is curently in 27th place. Eric also ranks 3rd all-time currently in blocked shots with 212. He is 6 behind Scot Poll ard and 46 behind Ostertag. Assuming 7 post-season games and no injuries, Eric would have to average 2.0 blocks per game to tie Ostertag. Kenny passed Steve Woodberry for 19th place in career scoring with 1241 points. At his current pace he will finish in 8th place on the career scoring chart just behind Kevin Pritchard. Nick Collison (63.7%) and Kenny (64.8%) both have a chance to post the best full season shooting percentage surpassing Mark Randall's 64.6% in 1989. Only 6 players at KU have ever shot 60% or better for the entire season. At 52.7% this years team would finish in 6th place all-time for team shooting percentage and the third best in the Roy Williams era next to his first two teams led by Mark Randall. Also at 40.8% this years team would place 3rd all-time in 3-point shooting percentage.

There is much to look forward to this season. The Big 12 season is now at hand so things should start getting interesting. Stay warm.

Email Don

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