Stats & Info: Tyshawn Taylor

Breaking down the Jayhawks

March, 28, 2012

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesKansas head coach Bill Self (second from left) will try to guide the Jayhawks to their second national championship in five seasons.
The Kansas Jayhawks will make their 14th Final Four appearance when they take on Ohio State on Saturday. It's the fifth-most appearances in NCAA tournament history.

Here are five things to watch for Kansas this weekend.

National player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson has been the steady hand guiding Kansas during the tournament.

He's averaging 15.8 points and 12.5 rebounds during the tournament, posting a double-double in three of the four games. For the season, his 26 double-doubles leads all Division I players.

Much of his offense has come in the painted area. Robinson leads players in the field with 47 field goal attempts in the paint, eight more than any other player.

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor’s 2012 NCAA tournament get off to a slow start.

Taylor averaged just 8.7 points in Kansas’ first three games, 8 points under his season average.

But the guard showed up big in the Jayhawks’ Elite Eight win against North Carolina. He poured in a game-high 22 points, filling up the box score with six rebounds, five assists and five steals.

But Taylor did commit three turnovers, and has committed a total of 13 turnovers in the 2012 NCAA tournament, tied for the most in the field.

For Kansas to be successful Saturday, they’ll need Taylor to be more efficient in the half court. Twelve of his 13 turnovers in the tournament have come in half-court situations.

Jeff Withey has blocked 20 shots in four NCAA tournament games to lead all players. Ten came in Kansas' 3-point win against North Carolina State in the Sweet 16.

Withey helps anchor a Kansas defense that has allowed just 24.5 points in the paint per game, tied with Louisville for tops among the Final Four teams.

Self has not been afraid of changing things up these past few games, twice switching to a triangle-and-two hybrid zone defense to help win a tournament game.

In the third round against Purdue, Kansas went to its hybrid zone down eight points in the second half and won by three. In the Elite Eight, Kansas made the switch leading by five and won by 13.

Entering the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks played zone 36 times this season; they've played zone 30 times in their last three games.

Kansas leads all tournament teams with 59 offensive rebounds and 61 second-chance points. The Jayhawks have scored 23 percent of their points on second chances during the tournament, the highest by any team that played two games, and up from 15 percent during the regular season.

Robinson leads the team with 15 offensive rebounds in the NCAA tournament, followed by Kevin Young (12).

More history to be made in New Orleans

March, 27, 2012
After upsets leading into the Final Four the past two seasons, this year’s event is for blue bloods only.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time that every national semifinalist has made at least eight prior Final Four appearances.

The only other Final Four in which each team had made more than five previous semifinal appearances was 1993. That year was the 11th appearance for North Carolina while Kansas and Kentucky were making their 10th trip and Michigan its sixth.

Rematches provide rare second chances
For the first time since 1964, the national semifinals will feature two rematches of regular-season contests.

That season, Duke avenged an early-season loss to Michigan and UCLA beat Kansas State for the second time. The Bruins beat the Blue Devils in the championship game to finish the season 30-0 as John Wooden won his first title.

Both of this year’s matchups occurred in December.

On Dec. 10, Kansas beat Ohio State 78-67 in Lawrence, handing the Buckeyes their first loss of the season. Thomas Robinson scored 21 points to lead the Jayhawks while Tyshawn Taylor dished out a career-high 13 assists.

One big difference this time around will be Jared Sullinger, who did not play in December because of back spasms. Ohio State shot just 39 percent from the floor while Kansas shot 58 percent.

Kentucky and Louisville met on New Year’s Eve in Lexington. In the first matchup between the two as top-five teams since Rick Pitino arrived in Louisville, the Wildcats won by seven points.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 points and pulled down 19 rebounds, becoming the first Kentucky player to have a 20-15 game against a top-five opponent in 15 seasons. Russ Smith scored a career-high 30 points off the bench for Louisville, but no starter scored in double figures.

Seeing the game from both sides
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino spent eight years at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to three Final Fours and a national championship in 1996. His semifinal matchup with Kentucky will be just the second time that a Final Four game pits a coach against a former team. In 2008, Roy Williams and North Carolina lost to Kansas in a semifinal.

ACC left out of party
What this year’s Final Four doesn’t have is a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference. It’s just the second time since the tournament expanded in 1985 that the ACC has failed to have a Final Four team in consecutive years -- the other was 2006-07.

That makes four times in the last seven years that the ACC hasn't had a Final Four representative, matching the number of times the national semifinals were played without an ACC team in the 21 years from 1985-2005.

Championship ring redux
Looking ahead, it’s possible that the national championship game will feature two coaches who have already won a title. If Louisville and Kansas win on Saturday, Monday’s title game will be the sixth in the last 50 years between coaches with championship rings.

Kansas has finest finishing touch

March, 25, 2012
In a highly anticipated matchup between two of the three winningest programs in college basketball, the Kansas Jayhawks beat the North Carolina Tar Heels 80-67 to advance to their 14th Final Four and first since 2008.

This was the fifth all-time meeting between Kansas and North Carolina in the NCAA tournament (Kansas now leads 3-2) and the first since the Jayhawks beat the Tar Heels in the 2008 Final Four. The winner of the previous four showdowns has gone on to win the national title.

Kansas is now 4-0 versus No. 1 seeds in the regional final, having also beaten Arkansas in 1991, Indiana in 1993 and Arizona in 2003. That matches Duke for the most such wins by any school, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Why Kansas won
The Jayhawks ended the game on 12-0 run, sparked by a 3-pointer from Elijah Johnson with 3:07 left that gave Kansas a 71-67 lead it would not relinquish. Kansas forced North Carolina to miss all six of its field goal attempts in the final three minutes, including four shots from beyond the arc.

Kansas proved it could run with the Tar Heels, outscoring North Carolina 18-8 in transition during the game. The Jayhawks were the first team to outscore the Tar Heels in transition over the last three NCAA tournaments.

Tyshawn Taylor shined for the Jayhawks, leading all scorers with 22 points and added five assists and five steals.

He is first player to reach each of those totals in an NCAA tournament game since Georgetown’s Allen Iverson had 32 points, five steals and five assists in 1996.

Why North Carolina lost
Leading by 5 with less than 9 minutes to go, Kansas switched from man-to-man to a triangle-and-two hybrid zone defense. The Tar Heels' offense went cold against the zone, making just two shots on their final 12 half-court possessions.

Overall, North Carolina struggled with its perimeter shooting against the Jayhawks.

The Tar Heels made just 2 of 17 shots (12 percent) from beyond the arc, their second-worst 3-point shooting effort in an NCAA tournament game in school history.

North Carolina also missed Kendall Marshall’s ability to lead the Tar Heels’ fastbreak offense.

Without Marshall at the helm, the Tar Heels did not run as much in the tournament, averaging nearly eight fewer transition plays and 11 fewer points per game in its last two contests compared to its first two.

What’s next
Kansas advances to the Final Four in New Orleans to face the Ohio State Buckeyes in a national semifinal game. This will be just the second meeting of 2-seeds in the NCAA tournament. The only other was the 1995 semifinal, when Arkansas beat North Carolina, 75-68.

Stats in the Paint: Weekend outlook

February, 3, 2012

Dak Dillon/US PresswireUnder Frank Haith, the Missouri Tigers have slowed down the tempo while increasing their efficiency.
Let’s get you warmed up for the "College GameDay" road show (live Saturday from Columbia, Mo., at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN) by taking a look at some notes and nuggets from our college hoops advanced stats research team (a group we call the "Stats in the Paint" team).

(8) Kansas at (4) Missouri, 9 ET on ESPN and ESPN3
Key stat: Missouri is shooting 57 percent inside the 3-point line this season, tops in the nation. Kansas is holding opponents to 39 percent shooting on 2-point field goals, which ranks fourth in the nation and leads the Big 12.

When Missouri has the ball: Missouri returned 89 percent of its scoring and has the best half-court offense in the country this season after ranking 44th last season.

Under first-year coach Frank Haith, the Tigers abandoned their “Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball” and average six fewer possessions per game.

When Kansas has the ball: Tyshawn Taylor has eclipsed the 20-point mark in four of his last six games. Taylor has been much better on pick-and-roll plays during that stretch, averaging 8 points per game and shooting 64 percent. Over the first 16 games of the season, he averaged just 2 points while shooting 28 percent and turning the ball over more than twice as frequently.

Taylor’s recent success has allowed Thomas Robinson to get open looks in the paint. In Wednesday’s win against Oklahoma, 10 of his 12 shots were at the rim.

Saturday’s Other Matchups
(3) Ohio State at (20) Wisconsin, 2 ET on ESPN and ESPN3
Key stat: During its six-game winning streak, Wisconsin has scored 38 points and is shooting 68 percent in transition. The Badgers scored 19 transition points and shot 53 percent while losing three of their first four conference games.

(6) Baylor at Oklahoma State, 1:45 ET on ESPN3
Key stat: Oklahoma State averages 28 paint points per game this season, the most in the Big 12. Baylor allowed 47 paint points per game in its two losses this season and 23 in its 20 wins.

Vanderbilt at (11) Florida, 1 ET
Key stat: Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins and Florida’s Kenny Boynton rank first and second in the SEC in points on catch-and-shoot plays this season.

(15) Marquette at Notre Dame, 1 ET
Key stat: Notre Dame is averaging 57.3 possessions per game during its three-game winning streak and had a season-low 52 possessions in its 50-48 win over Connecticut on Jan. 29. Marquette averages nearly 70 possessions per game in Big East play.

(18) Virginia at (24) Florida State, 1 ET on ESPN3
Key stat: Florida State and Virginia each rank at or near the top of the ACC in several defensive categories this season. The Seminoles (42.3) and Cavaliers (43.4) rank 1-2 in the ACC in opponents' effective field goal percentage this season.
Player of the Night – Tyshawn Taylor
Taylor finished with 28 points and six assists in Kansas’ 92-74 win over Baylor. Taylor connected on 10 of his 14 shots, including 4-6 from three-point range. He’s now had back-to-back games with a career-high 28 points. It’s been a tumultuous season for Taylor, who had 11 turnovers against Duke in November and was pulled from the starting lineup against Long Beach State. On Monday, the senior had the best game of his college career.

Filling Up the Stat Sheet – Thomas Robinson
Like his teammate, Robinson had a huge game as Kansas ended Baylor’s undefeated season. The difference? Robinson’s been doing this every game. He finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season. Robinson is now averaging 17.8 PPG and 12.3 RPG. Consider the last three major conference players to average 17 and 12: Blake Griffin, Michael Beasley, Tim Duncan. The last Jayhawk to do it? Wilt Chamberlain.

Small Conference Star – Kyle O’Quinn
Norfolk State improved to 6-0 in the MEAC with a 74-66 win over Coppin State. Once again, O’Quinn had a huge game, finishing with 24 points and matching a career-high with 19 rebounds. There’s something about Baltimore that brings out the best in O’Quinn. In four career games at Coppin State, he’s averaging 21.3 PPG and 17.3 RPG. Home teams were 22-6 on Monday, but Norfolk State was one of those road wins.

Breakout Game – Melquan Bolding
Not much has gone right for Fairleigh Dickinson, and Monday was no exception. The Knights fell to 1-16 with an 87-83 loss to Longwood. The good news? A breakout performance from Melquan Bolding. The transfer from Duquesne scored 38 points, after entering the game averaging 12.9 PPG. That’s the most points in a Fairleigh Dickinson home game since James Felton had 41 back in 2002.

Ugly Stat Line of the Night – Gerardo Suero
Suero entered the night fourth in the nation in scoring at 22.4 PPG, but Monday was a different story. He went 1-for-10 from the field with eight turnovers, as Albany fell to BU 70-57. With just six points, it’s the first time Suero hasn’t scored in double figures as a Division I player.

Kansas, Kentucky cap Tip-Off Marathon

November, 15, 2011
After 21 consecutive hours of college basketball, the main course of the Tip-Off Marathon gets underway at 9 ET tonight, when the second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and 11th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks meet in the nightcap of the inaugural Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. This is a battle between the two winningest programs in Division I history.

Jayhawks look to stay efficient

Kansas was one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation last season, leading the Big 12 in adjusted offensive efficiency. However, the Jayhawks will be hard-pressed to repeat that feat this year, returning just one of their top five scorers.

Thomas Robinson averaged 14.6 minutes per game off the bench last year and is expected to be the go-to guy this season after dominating the boards both offensively and defensively during his sophomore campaign.

Robinson ranked third nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate while scoring nearly a third of his points on offensive rebound put-backs. He converted 74 percent of those put-back shots and ranked among the top 15 in points per play on put-backs (min. 50 plays).

Tyshawn Taylor is Bill Self’s lone returning starter and will likely be the focus of the backcourt this year as one of the most experienced players on the team. Last year, Taylor was a dependable ball-handler in the half-court offense with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.7 which ranked in the top 10 percent of the country.

He’ll need to improve his accuracy on jump shots if he’s going to contribute offensively. His 26 percent shooting on jump shots inside 17 feet was fifth-worst in the Big 12 (min. 20 plays).

Wildcats boast experience, depth

With three of its top four scorers returning from last year’s squad that reached the Final Four joining the top-ranked recruiting class in the country, Kentucky sports one of the most talented rosters in the nation.

Last year’s edition of the Wildcats excelled in the half-court offense and were at their best on spot-up shots. They led the SEC in field-goal percentage (41 percent) and ranked second in points per play (1.05) on those shots.

Continuing that success will be a key part of the offense this year as Doron Lamb returns for his sophomore season. Lamb led the SEC with 173 points on spot-up plays while shooting a league-best 49 percent from the floor last season.

Terrence Jones also is back for his sophomore year, looking to rebound from a poor final month of the season. Jones’ scoring average dropped by more than six points per game during the final 10 games of the season, during which he shot below 40 percent from the field.

Jones was much less active in the paint in March, averaging only three shots per game around the basket compared to more than five the rest of the season. He was also less productive, averaging 0.90 points per shot around the basket in the final month, after averaging 1.12 during the first four months.