Inside the Numbers: Kansas at Iowa State
by Donald Davis

Related pages

Coach's comments

Box score

Season stats

Possession analysis

Explanation of NEP

It has been said, ďYou canít go home again.Ē Iím not sure exactly what that means, but Iím pretty sure it doesnít apply to Nick Collison. Nick returned home to Iowa with a single mission. His mission: WIN. Mission accomplished. And oh what a win. The JayhawkNation (can I use that Charles?) was filled with angst as the game was about to tip-off. The injury bug had struck again and this time with a vengeance. When Drew was injured last year we had Simien to come off the bench. Simienís replacement has not inspired the same confidence. The Cyclones seemed to have the Jayhawks number in Ames. The Cyclone fans would be pumped after Drew spiked the ball following KUís victory last year. It was the Big 12 season opener. Iowa State had lost but a single game and was feeling their oats. Most of all KU seemed to be beatable with no bench and the second leading scorer and leading rebounder injured and out. We KU fans were wondering how out team would respond. Would Roy be able to make the necessary adjustments so quickly? Would Jeff Graves be a positive, a negative or a neutral force on offense? Would Jeff Graves be a positive, a negative, or a neutral force on defense? We Jayhawk fans are always confident but times like these crack our confidence just a tiny bit.

It didnít take long to turn the frowns into grins. Thanks to a little help from a cold and sloppy Cyclone squad, we jumped out to a 22 to 2 lead and never looked back. Iowa State never really threatened. We looked quicker, faster, better prepared, more organized, more structured, more energetic... pretty much we beat them soundly in every phase of the game. It was a very satisfying win given the circumstances. Heck, it was a very satisfying win under any circumstances. We handed ISU their worst conference and worst-ever loss in Hilton Coliseum. We shut them down with a stifling defense. We kept pressing even when the lead was large. We had that killer instinct that has eluded us at times. It was a great KU game.

You would think a 29 point conference road win against a team with a 10 and 1 non-conference record would indicate a solidly executed game. That was not the case. I can assure you Roy will find plenty to work on after this game. We will discuss what the Jayhawks did well and what they did less than well. We will discuss the role Graves played and what we might expect against Nebraska this Saturday.

First letís take a quick look at the Milestone Update

Career Scoring: Nick Collison has moved ahead of Mark Randall and for 8th place on the all-time KU scoring list. He needs 39 points to pass Kevin Pritchard. If Nick continues on this pace he will pass Raef LaFrentzí 2066 points for 2nd all-time. If he can increase his scoring average to 50 points per game he can pass Danny Manning. That probably wonít happen. Kirk Hinrich has passed Jerod Haase (1264), Eric Chenowith (1281), and Jo Jo White (1286) to move into 21st on the all-time scoring list with 1300 points. At his current pace he will finish his career with around 1700 points, good for 8th.

Career Rebounds: Nick has moved from 11th at the beginning of the season to 7th, passing most recently Scot Pollard. Nick needs just 8 rebounds to pass the Big Dipper for 6th place. Nick is almost a cinch to finish 4th on KUís all-time rebounding list. Passing Bill Bridges (1081) for 3rd is not likely. The real question is will he be the 4th player in KU history to reach the 1000 rebound plateau? He will need to average just under 9 rebounds per game to get there. So far this season he has averaged 8.23 RPG. Go Nick, Iíd love to see you join the 200 point, 1000 rebound club with Danny and Raef.

Career Assists: Kirk has 581 career assists placing him in 4th place all-time. He needs only 29 to pass Darnell Valentine. He will possibly pass Cedric Hunter (684) to finish his KU career as the second leading assist man all-time trailing only Jacque Vaughn with 804. Barring injury or government intervention, Aaron Miles will almost surely finish this year as the single season assist leader all-time at KU. He has averaged 7.5 per game and needs to average about just about that same amount the rest of the way.

Career Blocks: Nick Collison has 20 blocks on the season giving him 189 for his career which ranks 5th all-time. He is closing in on Danny Manningís 200 for 4th place.

Career Steals: Kirk Hinrich has moved up 7 places in career steals so far this year and is currently in 8th place all-time at KU with 163 steals.

Most Games Played - Career: If KU makes it to the NCAA Final, Nick and Kirk will finish their KU careers ranked 2nd (145) and 3rd (144) in games played trailing only Danny Manning at 147.

Most Minutes Played - Career: Kirk needs to average 27.9 minutes per game (assuming through the NCAA Final) to pass Jeff Boschee for second all-time in minutes played (4109). Kirk has currently played 3329 minutes.

KU vs. Iowa State

Player of the Game: Nick (Home Boy) Collison is hands down the player of the game. He had a career high 31 points and demonstrated some unusually nifty moves. Nick is so fundamentally pure, he usually doesnít finish with a lot of panache. He showed a few up and under moves that would make Dr. J. proud (I guess Iím dating myself). He continued his torrid 3 point barrage hitting 1 of 2 (that constitutes a barrage for a big man for Roy Williams). He also pulled down 8 rebounds with 1 block, 1 assist, 1 TO and 4 huge steals. On top of all this, Nick flat out dominated the ISU frontcourt players. It was a classic butt whuppin. Here are the NEP results for the game.

Player NEP n-NEP NEP
FG% 2FG% 3FG% FT% SE

We are being treated to some great performances this year. Nickís NEP of 43.19 is the best this season and the 7th best dating back to 1996.

TOP 15 NEPís 1996-2003
Opponent Date Player NEP n-NEP NEP Rating
Texas Tech3/9/2002Miles47.8176.4957.85
Texas Tech1/24/1998LaFrentz47.3778.9558.42
Texas A&M1/2/1999Chenowith43.9960.6749.83
Texas Tech3/9/2002Gooden43.9767.6452.25
Iowa State1/6/2003Collison43.1947.9844.86
South Carolina State12/15/2001Gooden41.8457.7147.40
Kansas State2/4/2002Hinrich40.8760.5547.76

Significant Stats of the Game: We certainly canít skip over 31 points for Nick which is his career best. Speaking of career bests for Nick, he made 8 of 9 from the charity stripe giving him a season FT% of 78.9%. His previous best season was his freshman year when he shot 67.4%. Howís this for a significant stat: we held ISU to a FG% of 36.7% and 8.3% from the 3 point line. Thatís right, ISU was 1 for 12. Give it up to Aaron and Kirk. They came in and shut these guys down. I will discuss here in a minute our defense in a little more detail, but suffice it to say our defense was the catalyst for this game. Iowa St. was shooting 40.6% from the arc coming into this game, good for 3rd in the Big 12. Our defense held them to 8 assists on 22 FG for an A/FG of 0.364. That compares to the NCAA average of 0.56. That is a testimony to how effectively we disrupted their game plan on offense. We held the Cyclones to a PPP (points per possession) of 0.635. That is the 7th lowest PPP against a Big 12 opponent ever and the best in 3 years. Once again, be impressed with the defensive performance of the Jayhawks against the Cyclones in Ames. It was as good of a defensive performance as the Jayhawks have had in 3 years.

The KU A/FG was an anemic 0.39. So what, we smoked them. Who cares, right? A/FG is not a key stat. For instance, that is the 8th worst A/FG in the last 7 years. Of the 7 other games we have won 4. Two of the losses were Maryland in the Final Four last year and Oregon in Portland this year. I use that stat to guage how well KU executes their ďstandardĒ game plan. When KU is executing their ďstandardĒ offensive game plan, they will usually have an A/FG ratio of at least 0.55 and generally 0.60 and above. That is just the style of play Roy teaches. This low A/FG is a telltale sign their offensive execution was a little out of whack. Another sign of offensive execution is the PPP. KUís PPP was 0.965, which is only slightly below our average of 0.98. Obviously we played a different style offense, but it was not necessarily bad. There was a little more one-on-one style play which is not necessarily bad. Aaron uncharacteristically put up some quick jumpers out of the transition game. Since he went 6 for 8 from the field you have to be satisfied with that. Three of our 4 3-point shots were not assisted. That also is a little unusual. If itís open, take it regardless of how you got open. Jeff Graves was not very effective on offense and to a fair degree I attribute the change in style to Wayneís absence. This disruption was not unexpected. Actually I was pretty pleased in Jeffís offensive game. Iíll qualify that statement. I was pleased for the first game out of the box after Wayneís injury. He will need to improve as the games go by. He was a little tentative at times, such as his blown layup. At other times he looked to exert his will on the defender. He tended to play out away from the basket just a little bit farther than Wayne. He does not possess the effective turnaround shot Wayne shoots so well. He needs to establish position down low, seal off his man and be prepare to receive the inlet pass. Watch for him to make decisions a little faster in games to come. By that I mean deciding to shoot or pass and then either shooting or passing more quickly than he did in this game. Keith is a real wildcard in this type of offense, since Keith has the ability to drive and penetrate, which he did effectively. Iíll take that any day regardless of whether it is assisted or not. That is especially effective since he is starting to hit his FTs. After starting the season 19 for 39 (48.7%) he has turned it around to shoot 13 for 18 (72.2%). Iím not sure the offensive execution we exhibited against Iowa State would yield positive results against better defensive teams, but all in all I am pleased with what I saw.

Defense is another story altogether. We already discussed the PPP of 0.635 and the 1 for 12 3-point shooting. We touched on the FG% of 0.367. We also mentioned the A/FG ration of 0.364. We held them 24 points under their average of 77.7 points per game. They had no offensive flow. Iím inclined to attribute that to poor coaching, but I am not qualified to make that assessment. Assuming their coaching has been adequate, one can only assume they were either unfocused or KU just took them out of their game. The defensive intensity was outstanding. The Cyclones did not score a basket for over 8-1/2 minutes at the beginning of the game. They were shooting poorly, but much can be attributed to the stifling KU defense. In any circumstance, the defense is a critical component to the overall game plan. With the loss of Wayne, Roy would be inclined to incite these guys into a defensive frenzy. He surely focused them in practice and in pre-game speeches to give it all on defense. When a team is together and effective (as a team) on defense, it tends to spill over into the entire game plan. Watch for our defense to continue to be very effective. Jeff Graves was somewhat more effective on defense. He was strong in maintaining position for defensive rebounds. He has shown some happy hands on defense. I was a little worried he might pick up some cheap fouls from his happy hands, but instead he was fairly effective. He even tied with Nick for a team high 4 steals. It would be hard to say he was anything other than surprisingly good on defense. If you look at that little run ISU made to pull within 14 points, Jeff was out of position on a couple of possessions. He got it back together and finished strong. Keith is rounding into a pretty good defender and Aaron and Kirk are approaching the legendary defensive stature of Jacque and Jerod.

Below is a table of various stats for the Big 12 teams. Kansas is in its rightful position atop the heap in average points per game with 88.0 PPG. We also lead the conference in PPP at 0.97. Texas Tech is looking pretty tough with a conference leading A/TO ratio of 1.45. KU is in the pack just behind. Texas, Colorado and Missouri all dominate their offensive glass better than has KU. In particular, Texas has pulled down 45.3% of the rebounds off their offensive glass. That is impressive. The Jayhawks lead in FG% and 2FG% with Texas Tech second in both. Missouri and Kansas State are the hot 3-point shooting teams thus far this year. Note that Kansas is shooting 17.85 FTs per game, more than any other team. The last three columns are the percent of the overall points scored by 2 pointers, 3-pointers, and FTs. As has been their modus operandi, Missouri is scoring 31.5% of their points on 3-pointers. Baylor blows that away scoring a whopping 41.7% of from the arc. I guess we know how to defend Baylor. On the other end of the spectrum, Texas Tech scores a mere 10.5% from the arc. This is the lowest of all Division I teams! I guess we know how to defend Texas Tech.

Team GP Avg PPP A/FG A/TO %
FG% 2FG% FT% 3FG% SE FT/G %

Scouting Nebraska
Nebraska is scoring only 67.0 PPG while shooting 43.2% from the field and a sickly 28.8% from the arc. They have a balanced attack from inside and outside, but they just donít execute very well. They are a poor rebounding team and are last in the league in A/TO. This all indicates KU should dominate this game pretty soundly. If we continue our strong defense, we should shut them down. Look for them to really try to slow the game down. Iím not sure why, because their half-court offense just gives our superior defense a better opportunity to get set. Since it is in Allen Fieldhouse, it could be a blowout.

Stats all for now, folks.

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