As Kansas enters the second half of the Big 12 schedule, it seems like a good time to look back and project the keys to KU’s season going forward.
The stats highlighted here aren’t the end all be all for the Jayhawks, but they will be good indicators for how KU performs the rest of the season. Let’s look at some of the most important numbers to watch as Kansas makes its push for another Big 12 title and Final Four run.
Devon Dotson’s Turnovers
Dotson has acted as this team’s engine all season long, but one of his biggest struggles early was turnovers. Some games he’d be rock steady with the ball while he’d be all over the place in others. However, since the start of conference play, he’s been Mr. Reliable. Dotson is averaging less than two turnovers a game over his last nine outings and hasn’t had more than three turnovers in any of those games. Those numbers are extra impressive considering how often Dotson handles the ball. Turnovers have plagued KU in the past, but they shouldn’t be too much of a problem if Dotson can keep making good decisions.
Christian Braun’s Starts
Braun has been a nice surprise this year for the Jayhawks. The freshman is averaging seven points and five rebounds during Big 12 play and is shooting almost 42 percent from three on the year. The over-arching question with Braun is whether he’ll continue to start, as he has the last three games. With David McCormack back in the fold, it’ll be interesting to see if Self continues to start small or goes back to a two-big lineup, seemingly his comfort zone. Braun’s presence in the starting lineup gives Udoka Azubuike and Dotson more room to operate on offense and provides defensive versatility against opposing lineups.
Ochai Agbaji’s Three-Point Shooting
Agbaji continues to be one of the most frustrating KU players in recent memory. Some games he’ll look like the best player on the team while other times you forget he’s even on the floor. Agbaji has all the tools to make a major impact, especially from deep. He’s shooting almost 36 percent from deep this season, but the numbers recently have been less promising. Agbaji is shooting only 23 percent over his last eight games, which include four games without any three-point makes. If Agbaji can get back to shooting around his season average, KU’s offense will become even deadlier.
Marcus Garrett’s Rebounds
KU’s guards are being called upon more and more to crash the boards as this team has started to go to more small-ball lineups. Garrett is the leader in those efforts and the uptick in his raw stats prove it. He’s averaging almost six rebounds a game over the last six games, two more than what he averaged in the first 16. While that doesn’t seem like a huge increase, those two rebounds could be key come tournament time when every possession truly matters. If Garrett can continue to rebound at a solid rate, Self should have no problem playing four guards, which is what Kansas must do to make a deep postseason run.