Click here for Part One (Team Stats and Backcourts)All stats are from conference games only.
Rush v. Tucker
One's essentially a guard, the other's essentially a forward. They're both arguably the best players on their respective teams. If forced to make one overriding, potentially foolish prediction, I'd say that the player who makes this matchup of disparate types a mis-match will lead his team to victory.
Brandon Rush is a little more efficient from the field than PJ Tucker
but Rush takes a lot more jump shots even though less than a quarter of his field goal attempts are three-point shots. Tucker's free throw rate is solid in conference play, but well below his season rate.
Brandon Rush is a good rebounder for his size. PJ Tucker is a good rebounder for anybody's size. The degree to which both players have an advantage on the glass over a typical college small forward is masked to some degree by playing alongside two good rebounders at all times.
Tucker is a better passer and ball-handler than Rush. Both are good defensive players, though Tucker has quicker hands and plays the passing lanes better. Rush has become an effective on-the-ball defender, using good lateral movement to keep smaller players in front him and his long arms to challenge their jump shots. When guarding his man off-the-ball, Rush can still get caught ball-watching and be slow to react.
Kansas wins this matchup if
1) Rush makes the open three-point attempts he gets against Texas' zone defense. 2) Rush can penetrate the Texas zone without turning the ball over excessively.
Texas wins this matchup if
1) Tucker uses his superior strength to get Rush in foul trouble. 2) Tucker dominates Rush on the offensive glass.
The efficiency of the Kansas post players, and the five players' cumulative production, has been somewhat hidden because none of them average 20 minutes a game in league play.
Here are the cumulative scoring lines for the Kansas and Texas post players:
LaMarcus Aldridge will be a lottery pick whenever he declares for the draft. For whatever reason, his production in Big 12 play has matched neither his talent nor the excellent production he provided in non-conference play.
Brad Buckman and Darnell Jackson are excellent free throw shooters. Aldridge is adequate. CJ Giles has shot better from the line as of late, but is below 60% on the season as are Kaun, Wright, and Moody.
Since Texas can't afford for either Buckman or Aldridge to get into foul trouble they most likely be unable to take full advantage of the biggest Jayhawks' struggles from the foul line.
Here are the cumulative rebounding lines for the Kansas and Texas frontcourts:
Just as we saw with scoring numbers, the Texas post players, against Big 12 opposition, have been no more productive as rebounders than have the Kansas post players. The marginal advantage Texas has on the glass over Kansas comes from PJ Tucker being a better rebounder than Brandon Rush.
Of the post players, only Julian Wright and Brad Buckman are credited with very many assists and both have assist-to-turnover ratios of less than one. Aldridge doesn't turn the ball over very often considering how many touches he gets. Sasha Kaun almost never turns the ball over and gets a surprising number of steals for a man his size.
Again, the cumulative lines are roughly equal:
Kansas wins the post matchup if
1) They get either Aldridge or Buckman in foul trouble.
Texas wins the post matchup if
1) Aldridge and Buckman outscore and outrebound the five Kansas post players.