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Kansas Defense Was Best In NCAA Tournament
April 30, 2012
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference. has been using statistical information to summarize and analyze college basketball from the last season. Basically, the web site is drilling down to break down why and how teams were successful. The research tabbed national runner up Kansas having the best defense during the NCAA Tournament.

This can get a little heavy on the terminology, but here's what wrote about the Jayhawks:

Over their six-game run to the finals, Self's Jayhawks posted a tournament-best average defensive NEM of 23.5, which meant they yielded 23.5 fewer points per 100 possessions than a D-I average team would have against the same competition. In the title game, they held Kentucky to its lowest PPP (1.014) of the tournament. I imagine that stat doesn't provide consolation for not, you know, winning the championship, but it's something.

Self famously used a triangle-and-two defense for key stretches against North Carolina (the final six-and-a-half minutes) in the Elite Eight and Purdue in the third round, but Kansas' success was based on more than junk-scheming. According to Synergy Sports Technology, KU played the best overall half-court defense of any Final Four team, allowing 0.724 PPP in its six games, compared to 0.778 for Louisville, 0.811 for Ohio State and 0.819 for Kentucky. Even more impressive were some of the numbers within Synergy's half-court numbers:

* In the 51 isolations KU faced in the NCAAs, it allowed just 19 points, or 0.373 PPP. This was, by a massive margin, the best of any NCAA tournament team that saw at least 20 iso possessions. Louisville was the second-best Final Four team at defending iso possessions, and it allowed 0.607 PPP.

* In the 45 post possessions KU faced, it gave just 27 points, or 0.600 PPP. This was the best of any Final Four team, and the best of any tourney team that saw at least 30 post possessions. The Jeff Withey Effect was strong during the dance.

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