Preview: Kansas at Iowa State

I'm going to start with Mike Taylor as he's my favorite player in the Big 12 this year. Not because he's good (in fact, he figures to be the least productive player in the conference this year), but because he's unique. Taylor has played 83.8% of Iowa State's minutes this year. When he's on the court he takes 30% of Iowa State's shots and 25% of their free throw attempts. Taylor's shots result in a 48.1 eFG% (37.3% on two-pointers, 41.3% on three-pointers). He's a 67.2% free throw shooter. He scores 1.02 PPWS (points per weighted shot--field goal attempts plus (free throw attempts*0.44)) which is exactly the same efficiency at which Russell Robinson scores.

Take a moment to imagine what watching Russell Robinson take 30% of Kansas's field goal attempts would look and feel like.

Okay.

Now, comes the really fun part, the thing that alerted me to Mike Taylor earlier this year: turnovers. Taylor leads all Big 12 players in turnovers per 100 possessions. (Leads as in the most, as in the worst culprit.) Taylor, on the year, turns the ball over 10.4 times per 100 possessions he's on the floor. That's a lot. That's fully 33.3% more often that Byron Eaton turns the ball over. That's more than twice as often as any Kansas player turns the ball over.

In his first eight games, Taylor turned the ball over at least four times in every game. In four of his first eight games he turned the ball over at least eight times, peaking with an 11 turnover performance (in approximately 47 Iowa State possessions) against Norfolk State.

Mike Taylor has missed 128 field goals and turned the ball over 85 times in 819 offensive possessions. By himself, he gives the ball to the other team without Iowa State having scored on 20% of the possessions (assuming his teammates rebound his misses at their average rate) for which he's been on the floor.

This is not all Mike Taylor's fault. There isn't much talent on the Iowa State roster. Taylor leads the Cyclones in points and assists per 100 possessions. Rashon Clark (0.95 PPWS) and Corey McIntosh (0.97 PPWS) score even less efficiently than Taylor. Wesley Johnson (1.09 PPWS), Dodie Dunson (1.04 PPWS), Jessan Gray (1.05 PPWS), and Jiri Hubalek (1.04 PPWS) aren't much better.

Cory Johnson scores 1.21 PPWS but he's only played 12 total minutes (and not scored) in Iowa State's two Big 12 games.

The Cyclones don't figure to score very often if Kansas gives any sort of defensive effort (and, frankly, with the exception of the first half against Oral Roberts, defensive effort hasn't been a problem for the Jayhawks).

IOWA STATE OFFENSE v. KANSAS DEFENSE

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
ISU off 48.1 38.9 23.0 22.7 69.9 1.03
KU def 42.6 31.1 27.0 31.1 65.8 0.84

I would encourage everyone to take Iowa State's OR% with a grain of salt. Their offensive rebounding percentage falls to 34.5% in at-risk games (@Minnesota, @Northern Iowa, Drake, @Iowa, vs. Bradley, @Ohio State, and @Missouri--not exactly a murderer's row of rebounding squads) and 36.8% in their two conference games.

KANSAS OFFENSE v. IOWA STATE DEFENSE

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
KU off 53.9 38.8 20.6 24.5 65.8 1.12
ISU def 46.7 30.0 19.9 25.9 75.3 0.98

Iowa State does, however, appear to be a legitimately good defensive rebounding team. That's nice, but Oklahoma State controlled the defensive glass very well Wednesday night in Lawrence. All the defensive rebounds in the world can't make up for missing shots and turning the ball over.

The Cyclones don't force many turnovers themselves and it's even worse than their season-to-date numbers suggest. The only four games in which they've forced turnovers on 20% of their opponents' possessions were against UC-Riverside (I had to check to make sure they were in Division 1), Norfolk State, Savannah State, and SE Missouri State. Kansas should get up many, many more shots than the Cyclones. The Jayhawks shouldn't have to shot any better than 50% to win this game easily.

Prediction: Kansas 72 Iowa State 54

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