Monday, January 17, 2005

The Thirteenth Game of the Seventeenth Year

This Kansas team has stretches that suggest their potential greatness. They need these stretches due to their complete inability to put teams away. A road game in name only, The Jayhawks squandered all but one of the seventeen points they led by late in the first half before buckling down and winning by fifteen.

Colorado is not a good basketball team but they played hard and took advantage of the Jayhawks' greatest weakness, defensive rebounding, to keep themselves in the game. The Buffaloes rebounded 40% of their own misses. If Kansas had rebounded effectively, they could have held the Buffaloes to around 50 points for the game.

Points allowed by Kansas since December 11th: 51, 60, 62, 68 (OT), 60, 59, 66, 61. That's right at 60 points per 40 minutes.

Player comments and ratings (1-low, 5-average, 10-high):

Alex Galindo, 0: No points and no rebounds in nine minutes. Oh, and he fouled out. As bad a game as one can play.

JR Giddens, 4: Kudos to JR for attempting to improve his game, but his efforts to score off the dribble bring back the painful memory of Darrin Hancock's game.

Wayne Simien, 9: Wayne managed 23 and 17 without ever having to exert himself visibly. There was a vast difference in skill between Dub and the Colorado post players. Simien even did a decent job of guarding the smaller and quicker (the latter only applies to Copeland) Copeland and Osborn on the perimeter.

Keith Langford, 7: Should he get bonus points for playing well late when the game was close? Should he be docked points for playing poorly earlier thus making the game close? He didn't shoot well, but provided five more assists and continued his stretch of above average defensive play.

Aaron Miles, 7: Colorado's point guards, Hall and McGee managed only nine points. Two-thirds of those came on desperation three-pointers as the shot clock wound down. Therefore, despite a retro shooting day (1-6) and a mere 2:1 A:TO ratio Miles gets credit for initiating the disruption of the Colorado offense.

Russell Robinson, 4: Robinson played as many minutes in Boulder as he had in the previous two games combined. He appeared more under control Saturday than in either of those games but as to whether that's due to increased playing time or vice-versa I can't answer. Quick stat important for 2005-6 and beyond: Robinson averages just over 2 FTA in 15 minutes/game, approximately the same rate as Langford in his freshman season. If Robinson continues to get the line that frequently through the bulk of conference and post-season play, it'll provide another reason for optimism concerning his future.

Sasha Kaun, 5.5: I think I have to grade the freshmen bigs on a curve. None of them have played basketball very long, and, despite their obvious potential, are often overwhelmed by the pace of the college game, both that of the opponents and their teammates. Kaun had a nice three or four minute stretch in the first half, scoring 8 points and grabbing a couple of rebounds. From that point on he looked very tired and was completely ineffective.

Michael Lee, 4: Only two missed shots and one turnover. He didn't cause any horrible defensive breakdowns, either.

Darnell Jackson, 5: Also known to Fred White as Darrell Johnson and Russell Robinson. Future fan favorite Jackson played his best game of the year. He's impressively athletic every time he gets on the court for significant minutes.

Christian Moody, 6: Moody looks better all the time. Pressed into service because Giles had the flu and Galindo was worthless, Moody made a major contribution in limited minutes playing on only one good ankle. He scored seven points without missing an attempt from the floor or the line, adding three rebounds (two offensive) and an assist. He's gone from a reason to doubt this team's potential to a reason to believe in its accessibility.

CJ Giles and Moulaye Niang, incomplete: Giles made an attempt to play despite suffering from the flu in days prior. Niang remains willingly on call to enter the game and his use lateral quickness to its best effect.

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