Rushed Reactions: #1 Kansas 98, #4 Purdue 66

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 23rd, 2017

RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Brian Goodman (@BSGoodman) is in Kansas City this weekend.

Kansas Celebrates a Dominant Sweet Sixteen Victory (KC Star)

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Explosiveness makes the Jayhawks lethal. Two backbreaking runs did the Boilermakers in tonight. The first was a 21-7 stretch over six minutes to end the first half, and the other was a 21-6 napalming midway through the second half. With shooters and athleticism up and down the roster keying its lethal transition game, Kansas has kicked its offense into a gear that no other team in college basketball can match.
  2. Caleb Swanigan gets his, but Purdue’s other scorers fail to come through. Without a classic rim protector, Kansas has allowed opposing big men to play well this season utilizing a bend-don’t-break defensive style focused on containing secondary weapons. Though Purdue opened tonight’s game with a barrage of three-pointers, it wasn’t built to last. Caleb Swanigan finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, but his teammates buried just 30 percent of their long-range attempts, including an ice-cold 2-of-11 showing in the second half as the game turned into a blowout.
  3. Devonte’ Graham’s hot shooting gives Kansas extra pop. Following a solid sophomore season, there was a reasonable expectation in Lawrence was that Graham would make a big leap forward during his junior year. Graham had a good regular season, but he’s been a completely different player in Kansas’ three NCAA Tournament games, averaging 20.0 points per game and shooting an eye-popping 59 percent from distance, including a 5-of-9 showing against the Boilermakers.

Player Of The Game. Frank Mason III. The Jayhawks didn’t need Mason to make any clutch plays tonight but that didn’t stop him from being the best scorer on the floor. The clear-cut favorite for National Player of the Year scored 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting and poured in seven assists and seven rebounds against one of the tallest frontcourts in college basketball.

Quotable. After facing a team with inverted strengths, Kansas will go up against a team that has a better chance of matching its athleticism on Saturday. Bill Self said after the game that, while he isn’t terribly familiar with Dana Altman’s team, he looks forward to the match-up: “They’re like us, they’re going to play small a lot of the time because they will play Dylan [Ennis] at the four like we play Josh and then play the best defender in the Pac-12, Defensive Player of the Year around the middle, kind of like we do Landen [Lucas]. So I think it will be two teams that at least match-up with each other pretty well.”

Sights and Sounds. Playing an hour away from campus, Kansas felt right at home in Kansas City. Whether it was Lagerald Vick throwing down a 360-degree dunk, Devonte’ Graham beaming after getting fouled on a made three-pointer, or any of several Jayhawks jawing with Caleb Swanigan and the Purdue bench, the swag meter was off the charts. The Jayhawks and Boilermakers spent the first 15 minutes of the game trading barbs, but after that, it didn’t take long for the Sprint Center to morph into Allen Fieldhouse East.

What’s Next. Kansas meets Oregon Saturday night in a rematch of the 2002 Elite Eight where the Jayhawks beat the Luke Ridnour-led Ducks.

Brian Goodman (982 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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