Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Recap: Kansas vs. St. Joseph's

Let’s look at that preview again now that we know what happened:

It will be incumbent upon the Jayhawks to get close to 70 possessions if they’re going to win the game.

The game was played right at 60 possessions. Kansas didn’t win, but they had chances. Even accounting for the free throw shooting, it was the best offensive performance by the Jayhawks this season. Unfortunately, it was also the worst defensive performance of the season. More troublingly, a pattern seems to be emerging:

OpponentPoints Per Possession
Idaho St.0.80
W. Illinois0.73
St. Joseph's1.17

One needn't be an expert to see that Kansas has problems with their defensive consistency, both in terms of individuals guarding their men and helping their teammates.

Kansas should be able to force more turnovers than they commit.

Nope, 12 apiece.

[Kansas] will almost certainly shoot lower percentages from the floor…

Wrong again, smart guy. Kansas shot 59.8% from the floor. St. Joe’s shot 57.1%. (Those are both eFG%, which take into account the added value of making three-pointers.)

…and the line than St. Joseph’s.

I was right about this, but never would have figured on the number of misses (both teams) or the size of the disparity. In my preview scratch work, I had both teams going to the line 19 times with St. Joe’s making 16 and Kansas making 13. I managed to be only one off on the attempts (St. Joe’s attempted 20 free throws, Kansas 19), yet overestimated the makes by nine.

As always, Kansas could make things much easier on themselves by limiting St. Joe’s offensive rebounds…

Though grabbing 64% of the defensive rebounds is better than grabbing 55% or 53% as Kansas did against Arizona and Nevada, respectively, it’s still not very good.

…and keeping [St. Joseph's] off the free throw line.

Kansas didn’t do a good job of that, either. St. Joseph’s got 20 FTAs while only attempting 49 field goals, about the same rate as Nevada’s 24 FTA/58 FGA in the Fieldhouse, one which, if kept up over the course of the season, would make Kansas one of the more generous teams in all of Division I.

Prediction: first team to 65, wins.

It’s my disappointment to have gotten that (barely) right.

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