Kansas took what is normally an exciting and entertaining game in Ames, Iowa and made it a boring, ho-hum game that was over by halftime. The Jayhawks dominated the Cyclones like you just don’t see in Hilton Coliseum.
Dayton Moore recently appeared on the Baseball Info Solutions podcast. He discussed how the team uses analytics. It was a really interesting interview. I would recommend giving it a listen.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
KANSAS (79) AT IOWA STATE (53)
Kansas was never challenged at Iowa State on Wednesday on their way to a 79-53 crushing of the Cyclones. It was a strange sight. Games are never that easy at Hilton Coliseum. This was the quietest I have ever heard Iowa State fans. Kansas took a close game and ended it in the first half with a 21-3 run to take a 20 point lead into the break.
Iowa State was somewhat effective on offense for a while in the first half. They spread the floor on offense and forced Kansas to guard the entire half court. When things were spread out they would feed one player inside for easy points.
Unfortunately for the Cyclones, they were terrible shooting the ball. Kansas’ defense made things very uncomfortable for Iowa State. They would occasionally drive the lane and then continue on back out because they couldn’t handle the size of Kansas’ big men. The Cyclones finished shooting 35% from the field and 29% from behind the arc.
The size of the Jayhawks was also too much for Iowa State on offense. Udoka Azubuike and David McCormack were able to pass the ball to each other over the defense for easy baskets. That helped not just those two guys but the Kansas offense as a whole. The Jayhawks were able to get just about any shot they wanted. They shot 52% from the field and an even better 53% from behind the arc.
Devon Dotson tried to drive the lane early in the game but was blocked because of the height difference between Dotson and the Cyclone defenders. There is talk that NBA scouts have questions about Dotson because of his size and that one play might seem to support those concerns. However, after that play Dotson was terrific. He was able to drive the lane in the half-court and was really good in transition. He finished with 20 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals, and just two turnovers.
Ochai Agbaji shot the ball really well from behind the arc. He is so athletic that you would think he would be more than a spot-up three-point shooter but that’s really what he has been on offense. He should be effective driving to the basket but that’s often not the case. If Agbaji can gain confidence with his shot the Jayhawks are going to be really difficult to beat, especially when he also hits 4 of 5 three-point shots like he did in this game
Udoka Azubuike finished with just ten points but that included 4-for-5 from the free-throw line. He has looked a lot better shooting free throws in the past few games. If he continues to be successful at the free-throw line, he will gain confidence and that’s the last thing opponents want to see. If Bill Self can leave Azubuike on the court in close games down the stretch, that helps Kansas’ chances to close out games.
Marcus Garrett had to leave the game early in the first half with what appeared to be a bad sprain of his ankle. Fortunately for Kansas, Garrett was able to return to play in the second half and looked healthy. We’ll find out more but I would bet he will be sore for a few days.
Christian Braun followed up his fine game against West Virginia with another good game at Iowa State. He played 25 minutes and scored nine points with five rebounds.
This game was never in doubt. Kansas fans were never nervous like they usually are in Ames, Iowa. The Jayhawks improved to 2-0 in the Big 12 and will next play Baylor in Lawrence on Saturday at noon on CBS.
Travis Kelce was limited in practice because of a knee injury. Mo Claiborne missed practice on Wednesday due to personal reasons. Everyone else practiced.
The Chiefs signed RB Mike Weber to the practice squad.
Dayton Moore was a guest recently on the Baseball Info Solution’s podcast. He disagreed with those who are saying that the Royals are going through their second rebuild under him.
Moore was parsing words. Whether you call what the Royals are going through now the first rebuild after the initial build or the second rebuild is not important. The fact is that he helped build the Royals into a World Series champion but in a way that wasn’t sustainable. Moore said that they knew they would be in this situation. They went all out to win a championship and now they want to build something they can sustain.
Moore said that when he joined the Royals a lot of the scouts didn’t have computers or radar guns. The Royals want to do things better than they did before and admit that they are in the middle of a rebuild.
When asked about Mike Matheny’s desire to learn about analytics, Dayton Moore said he was impressed with Matheny’s interest in learning more about the game. He told Matheny that he can always fall back on the traditional evaluation of players. Moore believes that scouting today is easier than ever because of the numbers but that anyone can learn that. He is more interested in the performance sciences of the game, in other words sleeping, nutrition and other aspects of preparing the body to play.
The Royals started using defensive shifts a couple of years ago. Matheny was against shifts when he managed the Cardinals. Moore said that the best athletes in the United States are playing other sports so they have to take advantage of the numbers in regards to positioning defenders. He said that Matheny understands that. The Royals analytical department track’s how well the shift performs for the Royals defense.
Moore and the front office evaluate the shift during games. They use the data and know prior to the first pitch to a batter where the defense should be playing.
Dayton Moore said that teams used to be able to take the best player available in the first five rounds of the draft but that has changed to the first two rounds because of the economic changes to the game. The Royals are tracking players by the time they are 14. They use stats from as early as 14 to track and evaluate players. Moore said that he uses statistics to validate what his eyes are seeing and to bring to his attention players they might be missing.
Dayton Moore said that he believes that the most successful organizations in the future will be the ones who address the behavioral sciences. Moore has been dealing with 16-25 year-olds his entire life and understands the importance of the mental side of the player both on and of the field.
IN THE NEWS
The Royals are replacing both foul poles during the off-season. The update is being done to connect the protective netting all the way down the lines to each foul pole. This is the first time the foul poles have been replaced since the stadium was built.
The Milwaukee Brewers signed manager Craig Counsell to a 3-year contract extension. The extension keeps him in Milwaukee through the 2023 season.
Georgia QB Jake Fromm said on Wednesday that he will declare for the NFL draft.
The Detroit Tigers acquired C Eric Haase from the Cleveland Indians for cash.
WHAT I’M WATCHING: I’m planning on watching Memphis at Wichita State tonight. Let’s see just how good these teams are and how they might compare to some of the better teams in the country.
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