Defensive rebounding is rapidly outpacing turnovers (only 14.9% of Jayhawk possessions ended in a turnover last night) and threatening to surpass shooting (still poor, but featuring fewer three-point attempts) as Kansas' greatest weakness. Coming into last night's game, Nevada had an offensive rebound rate of 31.3%. Their best performance of the season, prior to last night, came at home against Sacramento St. In that game, the Wolfpack got 34.5% of the offensive rebounds. Last night in Lawrence, Nevada got 43.8% of the offensive rebounds.
Despite holding their Division 1 opponents to an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 41.1, Kansas is 1-3 against those teams because they allow their opponents to rebound 40% of those misses and send them to the foul line one-third more often than they get to the line themselves. In their three losses, Kansas has made eight more field goals and one more three-pointer than have their opponents. Their opponents have made 32 more free throws.
Kansas had chances to win last night. Hawkins and Chalmers both missed a couple of good, open threes. Chalmers, Robinson, and Kaun all missed lay-ups. On the other hand, had Nevada demonstrated any idea how break down a zone defense, Kansas would not have been in a position for a couple of missed shots to make a difference in the outcome.
There is no doubt the team is improving. Their weaknesses: defensive rebounding, shooting, and the frequency with which they send opponents to the free throw line, are so severe right now, that were one looking for a bright side it would be that if the team can achieve mere mediocrity in two of those three areas they will be able to win.