Defensive ability is the key to putting games away. To put a team away you have to get multiple stops consecutively. Let’s say you’re up 10 with 8 minutes left. With today’s game, as noted above, that lead can disappear in less than two minutes. But if you can get four consecutive stops while getting scores on three of those possessions, the lead all of a sudden has ballooned to 16 or more.
On the other hand, if you can’t get consistent stops, maybe the lead only goes from 10 to 12, or maybe even stays at 10 because you just trade baskets.
I can’t remember the last time KU had a really, really good team defensively. They have had good defensive players, but I’m talking about a team of strong defenders. The type of team that could take a team out of their offense for a half a dozen possessions at a time. KU hasn’t had that in a while, so teams can hang around unless KU hits them with a huge scoring flow (scores on four or five straight possessions) while the other team only scores on one or two in that stretch. We don’t see many 12-0 runs from this team. It’s more like 10-4 or 12-4, and its usually sparked by scoring rather than defense.