By the Numbers: Nebraska at Kansas

Usually, a 48-33 run gives you a chance to win the game.  But not when you spot the other team a 43-8 lead to start things off.  NU visits Allen Fieldhouse, hoping for a better start, not that it could get much worse than it did in Lincoln.

Analysis: Last 5 Venue-Appropriate Games

The charts below illustrate the performance for each team over their last 5 venue-appropriate games.  That is, KU home games and Nebraska road games.  The red bar represents each team’s current Sagarin Predictor rating, which best represents team strength for the entire season.  The “Performance” is calculated by taking the opponent’s Sagarin rating for the game and adding (subtracting) the margin of victory (loss) for each game.  Home advantage is also factored into the equation.  Keep in mind that these games are not the most recent five games overall.

In this analysis, it would appear that NU has underperformed its own season average by about 3.1 points.  KU has actually outperformed its season rating by about half a point.  Over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas has been 15 points better than Nebraska.  Thus, recent venue-appropriate performance suggests a high probability for a Jayhawk victory.

PSAN Player Ratings – Conference Only

Note: These ratings do not adjust for strength of opponent, since conference-only Sagarin ratings are not available.  For more information behind the methodology of PSAN ratings, visit this page.  Ratings are shown only for players who average at least 8 minutes per game.


PSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)
PSAN ("Total Impact")




Julian Wright



Darnell Jackson



Russell Robinson



Sherron Collins



Brandon Rush



Sasha Kaun



Mario Chalmers



Darrell Arthur




PSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)
PSAN ("Total Impact")




Aleks Maric



Ryan Anderson



Marcus Perry



Charles Richardson



Jay-R Strowbridge



Paul Velander



Sek Henry



Player Analysis:
(largely based on ratings above)

Kansas conference-only player ratings are beginning to look more like the season-cumulative ratings with the notable exception of Mario Chalmers.  He ranks third in overall contribution to the team for the entire season but only seventh in conference play.  Why the drastic difference?  First of all, he’s averaging the same minutes in conference as he has overall (29).  Probably the most important is that he’s only shooting 47.5 eFG% in conference play versus 54.8 eFG% overall.  He’s also taking one fewer field goal attempt per game, including about 40 percent fewer three-point shots per game.  His scoring average in conference play is two full points lower than his overall season average, with small drops in his assists and steals averages.  It could be that Mario isn’t working as hard to get open on the perimeter or that others are simply more aggressive on offense than he is.  The bottom line is that, if he were simply shooting about the same in conference as he has all season, he’d be fine.

Julian Wright has been KU’s most efficient and contributory player, pouring in 12 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 1.5 BLK, and 1.8 STL against a team-high 2.6 TO average.  Not only does Wright shoot right at 50% from the field, he’s shot 76% from the line in conference play, and he’s there fairly often.  Russell Robinson is close behind Wright in terms of total contributions.  Especially lately, Robinson has really shot well (what he is normally criticized for) and played a strong all-around game.  In conference play, Robinson is shooting a whopping 63 eFG%, about fifteen percent higher than his overall season shooting.  He does a fair bit of everything, even managing 6 BLK per game, many of which are rather vicious.

Two other KU players who have really done a solid job in conference play are Darnell Jackson and Sherron Collins.  Jackson has been a dominant force on the boards, with 5.3 REB in just 14 minutes per game.  He also shoots 54% from the field and has 10 BLK.  Meanwhile, the freshman Collins recently finished a remarkable run where he could do no wrong.  He is now experiencing a slight return to realistic performance levels.  In conference play, Collins is shooting an astonishing 66 eFG%, including 47% from behind the arc.

Brandon Rush and Sasha Kaun haven’t been the most efficient players.  But leading the team in playing time has allowed Rush to contribute at a much higher level than Kaun.  Rush shoots 53 eFG% in conference play, which is right around his season rate.  Both Rush and Kaun have shown the ability to take over games, but only Rush has shown it over the course of nearly an entire game.   

For Nebraska, what a difference it can make to play against tough inside players.  Aleks Maric was much more successful inside in games leading up to conference play.  He’s still NU’s most efficient player with the most contributions, but he’s dropped a tad in a couple of categories.  He shoots about 4 percent lower from the field and 5 percent lower from the line during conference play despite playing two more minutes per game, and his scoring average is down about half a point to 17.1 per game.  His PSAN rating in conference play is much lower than overall because of the aforementioned observations as well as NU’s team performance struggles in conference, which are disproportionately attributed more to those with the most playing time.

Ryan Anderson is the only other player with a positive conference PSAN rating, and it’s probably mostly because he went nuts against KU in the first game, shooting 6-9 from 3FG.  He’s shooting at a 53 eFG% clip but just doesn’t take enough shots to score much, averaging only 7.5 in conference play versus 10.7 overall this season.

It’s been a particularly tough conference season for Velander and Henry.  The underclassmen guards are both shooting pitifully from the field, considerably worse than their overall season numbers.  Henry shoots at 37 eFG%, while Velander checks in at a dreadful 36 eFG% while shooting all but one of his shots from behind the arc. Top Stories