How have Northern Colorado managed to lose their first 13 games? Of course, they're generally bad. Out of the 334 Division I teams, Ken Pomeroy calculates their offensive efficiency rank at 287th and their defensive efficiency at 290th. More specifically, Northern Colorado, over the course of their first 13 games have turned the ball over on 30.2% of their offensive possessions. Doing so makes it very difficult to win.
To put that into perspective, the young Jayhawks, who have obviously struggled to limit their turnovers, have turned the ball over on 23.6% of their possessions. In the debacle against Arizona, Kansas turned the ball over on 38% of their possessions. Northern Colorado has bettered (worsened?) that twice: at Air Force and at Cal State Northridge. So, should Robinson, Chalmers, Wright or anybody else capture a bunch of steals tonight, I'll both enjoy the display and keep in mind from whom the ball was stolen.
My expectations for the team were raised against Pepperdine despite the putrid offensive performance the last 30 minutes of the game. Pepperdine are a terrible offensive team, but the Jayhawks did hold them 25% below their season average of points per possession while dominating both the offensive and defensive glass.
Self appears to recognize that this team, this year, will probably never be a consistently efficient offensive team. They'll have to win with defense. They've had their two best defensive performances of the season in the last two games. Amidst the missed free throws, layups, and turnovers, we may be witnessing a team coming into its own.
Prediciton: Kansas 79 Northern Colorado 52