By the Numbers: Kansas at Nebraska

The Jayhawks take their unblemished 15-0 record into Lincoln for their conference opener against Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers sport an impressive 11-2 record, but eight of those victories have come against teams with RPI ratings of over 200.  Let's see how some of the numbers shape up for this showdown.

 

 

Kansas

Nebraska

Performance Indicators

 

 

Record

15-0

11-2

AP Rank

3

NR

Pomeroy Rating
(Updated daily)

1

33

Consensus Ranking
(Updated periodically - avg several computer ratings and polls)

3

59

Best opponents defeated this season
(Ranking from Pomeroy)

vs Arizona (#28) W 76-72 (OT)
@ Southern California (#52) W 59-55

vs Arizona St. (#30) W 62-47
vs Oregon (#46) W 88-79 OT

RPI
(Used for schedule strength, not team strength.  Current from Pomeroy , end-of-season forecast from RPI Forecast .)

Current: 12
Forecast: 5

Current: 123
Forecast: 97

Prediction Models

 

 

Sagarin Power Ratings (Predictor)

Win by 8.9

 

Pomeroy
(Efficiency and Tempo-Adjusted)

Win 65-58
78% chance of victory

 

Last 7 Games (Venue Adjusted)
(Uses team performance and consistency over last 5 home/non-home games, whichever pertains to this game + 2 other most recent games regardless of location.)

Win by 9.3
95.7% chance of victory

 

Weighted Average of Models Above
(30% Vegas + 20% Prediction Tracker + 15% Sagarin + 15% Pomeroy + 20% Last 7 – all subject to availability)

Win by 8.6
Est. Projection: 66-57

 

 

Player Ratings - Cumulative This Season

(for explanation of ratings, go to sportsandnumbers.com under "FAQ & Terms")
Note: ePSAN70 weighs recent games more, but cPSAN70 weighs all games equally

Kansas

ePSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)
ePSAN ("Total Impact")

 

PLAYER

ePSAN70

ePSAN

Conner Teahan*

12.17

13.40

Mario Chalmers

7.40

72.88

Darnell Jackson

7.24

64.45

Sasha Kaun

5.08

34.38

Cole Aldrich

5.05

17.68

Tyrel Reed

4.48

11.81

Darrell Arthur

4.21

37.76

Jeremy Case*

4.12

9.30

Brandon Rush

3.95

33.20

Russell Robinson

3.61

37.79

Brennan Bechard*

3.50

1.30

Rodrick Stewart

3.45

21.69

Sherron Collins

2.97

15.77

Matt Kleinmann*

2.29

1.44

Brad Witherspoon*

-5.80

-2.11

Chase Buford*

-13.29

-5.10

* Rating not based on enough data.

Nebraska

cPSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)
cPSAN ("Total Impact")

  


PLAYER

cPSAN70

cPSAN

Aleks Maric

7.37

57.92

Chris Balham*

6.15

10.37

Nick Krenk*

3.30

2.48

Ryan Anderson

3.01

24.19

Ade Dagunduro

2.86

22.33

Paul Velander

1.67

5.67

Ben Nelson*

1.16

0.66

Cookie Miller

1.10

7.87

Steve Harley

0.04

0.25

Andrew Wicklund*

-0.04

-0.02

Sek Henry

-0.31

-1.86

Shang Ping

-0.33

-1.31

Jay-R Strowbridge

-0.45

-2.79

Cole Salomon*

-0.72

-0.43

* Rating not based on enough data.

 

Player Analysis:
(largely in context of ratings above)

Two super efficient players and an NBA-bound collection of athletes from the Jayhawks take on one star, two solid players and some marginally effective players for the Cornhuskers.  It's a good thing for Nebraska that basketball is a five-on-five game or they wouldn't stand a chance.  Instead, a great game from Maric and some hot shooting combined with an off night for KU could be a recipe for a surprise.  Still, it's unlikely.

Aleks Maric is Nebraska's "Mr. Everything."  He shoots a very high percentage (61 eFG%), rebounds on both sides, particularly on the offensive end (#9 in country), gets to the free throw line very effectively (but has shot worse there this season than usual) and he swats opponents' shots with the best of them.  What more could you really ask of your 6-11 senior center?  A good game against the premier team in the league would be a good request.

Ryan Anderson could be the other key to NU's success this game.  He regularly scores in the mid teens, but he can easily go off for 20+ points on his 3FG shooting (43% for the season).  Considering KU's opponents have shot the three-ball very well, it's not hard to imagine Anderson getting opportunities to make some noise.  Ade Dagunduro is the other guard that could give KU some trouble.  Both he and Anderson are shooting around 60 eFG% this season.  Dagunduro basically does a little bit of everything and does get a good share of steals.

Most of the other Cornhuskers have had fairly unremarkable seasons.  Cookie Miller hasn't shot well at all (42 eFG%) and committed turnovers on 28.5% of his possessions used.  Paul Velander just hasn't done enough with his limited time.

For Kansas, it's been Mario Chalmers and Darnell Jackson who have stood tallest.  Both have had statistical performances typical of the best players at their positions, with Chalmers lighting it up from behind the arc, dishing plenty of assists and stealing like a madman.  Jackson has also shot lights out (approaching 70 eFG%), grabbed lots of rebounds on both sides of the court and blocked some shots without turning it over too often.

The next set of highest contributors for KU includes Russell Robinson, Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush.  Arthur has been the most efficient of the bunch despite taking the highest percentage of shots while he's on the floor.  His 52 eFG% is respectable but not great on such an offensively efficient team.  He rebounds and blocks effectively while keeping turnovers to a bare minimum.  Rush has shot exactly 50 eFG%, which isn't all that great on this team.  He takes the second highest percentage of team shots while he's on the floor, so that may be why his percentage isn't as high.  Coach Bill Self has commented publicly that Rush needs to be more aggressive and shoot more, but the numbers may argue otherwise.  Until his teammates' efficiencies get worse, it may benefit the team more for Rush to pick his spots somewhat better, but it remains to be seen if a more aggressive Rush will be more efficient.  Keep in mind that he is still recovering from his ACL injury suffered just seven months ago.  It's almost guaranteed that he will improve as the season progresses.  Robinson's shooting has tailed off a bit, but he gets to the line often, dishes well and is nearly as proficient at stealing the ball as Chalmers.

KU's other two bigs (Sasha Kaun, Cole Adrich) both have played very efficiently but with less playing time.  Kaun appears to have learned how to capitalize on his strengths and minimize his limitations by focusing on rebounding, blocks and being in position to catch passes for easy layups and dunks.  Aldrich continues to rebound unbelievably well and make his easy shots while swatting away opponents' shots nearly as often as Kaun (who is #25 in the country).  Aldrich has plenty to learn though before Self feels comfortable giving him meaningful minutes in big games.

Sherron Collins appears to have battled back from his stress fracture and regained his speed.  He takes plenty of shots and makes most of them (59 eFG%) but unfortunately hasn't contributed as much in all the other categories to keep his efficiency rating higher.  He hasn't had a bad season, but it's nowhere near what people think he's capable of providing.  He's had two or three great games this season, but the others have all been mediocre or poor.  More than anything, it's his unique ability to create something from nothing that makes him so indispensible to the team.


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