The more I write about hoops, the more you’ll come to know that I’m a numbers geek. Now that I’ve had a little time to comb through the box score and watch the game again, I’ve put together a few numbers that, at least for me, went a long way to define why they succeeded, and why they didn’t. What follows is my key numbers for all the Jayhawks who played.
Robinson: 7-8 FT. There’s plenty of numbers that stand out about Robinson, not the least of which is his 21 points. But that seemed like a gimme, so I’m going with the incredible improvement in his free throw shooting. He hit 39.5% as a freshman, 51% last year, and is now hitting at 71% this year. Credit Dooleybear for technique, but that much improvement is just a matter of repetition and Robinson is a gym rat.
Taylor: 13 assists, 1 torn meniscus. The fact that Taylor played, and played well, on a torn up knee is remarkable, especially considering how much of his game is predicated on his quickness and speed. Without him Kansas doesn’t win that game. Huge performance. What being a leader is all about.
Johnson: 5-7 3P. This one’s easy. Johnson’s been in a brutal slump, but he never stopped gunning. I like that. Really I think it’s the quickest way out when you’re struggling like that. Kansas needed him to play well to counter the Buckeyes’ superb guards, and he really stepped up.
Withey: 2 pts. Withey’s leap this year can pretty easily be likened to Aldrich’s jump between his freshman and sophomore year. The fact that he can be compared to Aldrich at all besides being a tall, thin white guy is a huge step in the right direction. Withey doesn’t need to score to be a force for Kansas, and while you’d hardly call him a force against tOSU, he gave KU 21 good minutes despite only hitting once from the field.
Releford: 2 steals. Nothing about the stat line really pops for Releford, but I’m going with steals because he was very solid defensively. He spent a lot of time on tOSU’s William Buford, who led them with 21, but needed 23 shots to do it. Compare that to Robinson’s 21, which came off of nine shots.
Teahan: 1-5 3P. The only Jayhawk who was off on Saturday. Him going cold from outside could have meant serious trouble if Johnson hadn’t stepped up and started raining.
Young: 14 points. What happened here? Young’s most notable stat over the last few games has been his remarkable foul-per-minute rate. (3 in 6 against the Beach). Saturday he played like someone who should average 15 minutes off the bench. And not foul out.
Wesley/Tharpe: 3 minutes combined. Self usually doesn’t go with anything less than an 8-man rotation, but he’s usually got the bench to go 10- or 11-deep easily. Seems like he’s losing faith in Wesley (nine minutes Tuesday, two Saturday) and has lost faith in Tharpe, who didn’t play at all Tuesday and posted a trillion (one minute, no stats) against the Buckeyes. Tharpe will have a chance to prove himself with Taylor going out, though.
More numbers are sure to follow. Rock chalk!#kubball, Kansas, Numbers, Ohio State