Kansas Basketball: Jayhawks' 5 Most Impressive Stats in 2013-14
Despite three frustrating losses in their first nine games, the Jayhawks have recorded some very impressive stats during the 2013-14 campaign.
An up-and-down season continued during Saturday's Jekyll and Hyde, 17-point win over New Mexico. The refreshing win produced yet another imperative statistic—one of five that should give KU fans optimism as we rumble toward Big 12 play.
Blocks Per Game
Kansas enters the week averaging 5.6 blocks per game (39th in the nation), a number not far off from the 6.6 the Jeff Withey-led Jayhawks recorded last season.
There was expected to be a drop off, at least until freshman phenom Joel Embiid learned to hone his instinctive craft, but no one expected KU to be terrorizing opponents around the rim.
Embiid (2.4 blocks per game) leads three Jayhawks averaging at least 0.9 blocks per game.
Naadir Tharpe's Assists
Naadir Tharpe has drawn heat for inconsistent decision-making at point guard, but the junior floor leader is producing adequately.
He is averaging 5.1 assists per game and has four-plus dimes in all but two games, with nine-plus assists on two occasions. Tharpe has an astonishing 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in those two games of nine-plus assists.
The reliable decision-making is not perfect, but his flashes of brilliance are just that: brilliant. Tharpe clearly understands Bill Self's rotation-heavy offense and has the skills to be the best true point guard in the 11th-year coach's tenure.
Contrary to popular belief, Kansas is having no trouble scoring. The Jayhawks are hitting exactly 50 percent of their field goals, which is good enough for 16th in the nation.
While the three-point shot has yet to develop as a reliable weapon (31.8 percent), Kansas can score at will as long as it doesn't commit foolish turnovers.
Distribution of Minutes
Six players are currently averaging 20-plus minutes per game, and 11 of Bill Self's guys are playing six-plus minutes per game.
As the third-youngest team in the nation, one with only one upperclassman, experience is critical. While Brannen Greene's efficiency and productivity against Florida can be argued, the 14 minutes played is extremely important as the Jayhawks head toward the grueling 18-game conference schedule.
Self's extensive distribution of early season minutes will pay dividends come March.
Turnovers vs. New Mexico
Kansas committed only nine turnovers in Saturday's win over New Mexico, a dramatic improvement from the 24 turnovers in its loss to Florida four days earlier.
The Jayhawks attempted a paltry 44 field goals in Gainesville, a shockingly small number that gives any team little chance to win—especially on the road against a ranked opponent.