All season perimeter shooting has been problematic for Kansas. Not since 2004 has Kansas been worse than 65th in the nation in 3-pt shooting. This year: 161st. And it’s even worse if you look at the percentage of points they score from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks have scored 23.2% of their points on 3s, which is 276th in the nation.
The problem is that Kansas has four players who attempt more than one a game, and only Tyshawn Taylor makes at least 34% (Taylor entered the game at 37.7%).
Immediately after the tip (which KU won) it was clear what each team’s gameplan was. Kansas was going inside to Thomas Robinson, and Kentucky was keeping Kansas from going inside to Thomas Robinson. In every half-court set the Wildcats sagged multiple people back toward Robinson to keep KU from establishing post entry lanes. And when they did get him the ball, it was met with immediate double-teams.
Thomas Robinson would get position – sometimes inside the charge circle – and Kansas had issues getting him the ball. With the exception of Tyshawn Taylor, the Wildcats dared Kansas to shoot threes.
But Kansas wouldn’t. Kansas stuck to the plan. Even if it meant Robinson putting up 17 shots while mostly being double and triple teamed. They attempted four three pointers in the first half, which is half their meager average. On the night, they attempted 11. They made 5, which is a great percentage, but they just didn’t shoot many because they don’t have the shooters.
The Jayhawks average 16 3-point attempts a game. Only twice all season have the Jayhawks attempted fewer 3-pointers than tonight. Kansas had a gameplan. Kentucky knew it. And it just came down to whichever team could execute.