By the Numbers: Kansas St. at Kansas

What a way to start the conference season. The in-state rivals square off in KU's conference opener at Allen Fieldhouse. The Wildcats seem to play better in Lawrence, so the Jayhawks had better not take them lightly.

Analysis: Last 5 Venue-Appropriate Games

The charts below illustrate the performance for each team over their last 5 venue-appropriate games.  The red bar represents each team’s current Sagarin Predictor rating, which represents overall team strength.  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.  Homecourt advantage is also factored into the equation.


In this analysis, Kansas has outperformed its season average by about 3.8 points.  The Jayhawks have tended to perform at least up to their season average in all their home games.  Although, the trend the last three games does not look all that good, with Siena being the only of the last five home games where KU’s performance dipped below the season average.


In contrast, K-State tends to underperform on the road, although their last game against Southern Mississippi was their best such outing.  Still, over their last five non-home games, KSU has underperformed its season average by about 6.4 points.


Only once in KSU’s five non-home games have the Wildcats performed at a level above KU’s expected level (including homecourt edge).  In summary, over the last five games for each team, Kansas has been 10.5 points better than K-State, meaning this specific analysis projects the Jayhawks to win by a healthy margin of about 13.5 points.


Statistical Strengths and Weaknesses Analysis

These advantages are based on raw statistics derived from scouting reports for each team.  In cases where one team’s ranking in a category is strong where the other team’s corresponding ranking is weak, an advantage is projected.  For example, if Team A has a #30-rated eFG%, while Team B has a #280-rated eFG% defense, then Team A would be projected to have an advantage in eFG% for the game.

** Denotes that team with advantage also ranks in Top 50 in that category
Clear Advantage for Kansas
Kansas FT Rate
K-State 2pt FG%**
Kansas OREB**
K-State eFG%**
Clear Advantage for K-State
K-State OREB**
Kansas TO rate**
K-State FT Rate**

Four Factors Game Projections

This method matches up each team’s offensive statistics against the other team’s defensive statistics.  It also adjusts for the strength of opponents’ offense and defense faced so far.  Thus, a team that has played an extremely weak defensive schedule will not be artificially projected to shoot well.  Keep in mind that this is a projection of what would happen if each team played at its average level to date.  It does account for the location of the game, but it does not adjust for teams that play particularly well or poorly based on location more so than the average team.

Statistic Team With Projected Advantage
eFG% KU 50-48%
TO Rate KSU 26-23%
O-Reb% KU 41-39%
FT Rate KU 73-56%
Four Factors Overall The turnovers edge for K-State won’t be enough to offset advantages for KU in all other factors, including ridiculously high FT Rate for both teams.

Game Outlook

While both teams’ offensive efficiencies are significantly correlated with their effective field goal percentage (eFG%), they have a different factor that accompanies the shooting.  For K-State, it is their turnovers on offense.  The projections above indicate a 23% turnover rate this game, which corresponds well with games in which the Wildcats have struggled to put points on the board.  In all but four of their contests this season, K-State has grabbed at least 40% of available OREB, an astonishing feat.  It will be very interesting to see whether the projected advantage (very slight) for KU on the boards will materialize.

For the Jayhawks, it is their offensive rebounding percentage that matters most along with eFG% in determining offensive efficiency.  In all four of its losses, KU has shot below 50 eFG%, so if the above projections hold, it bodes well for Kansas.

The FT Rate category appears very extreme.  But the simple fact is that both teams put their opponents on the line, a lot.  Who are the primary beneficiaries of this?  For Kansas, the likely players stepping up to the line in bunches are Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and Tyshawn Taylor.  For K-State, it is Darren Kent, Jamar Samuels and Ron Anderson.  If things really are as tight in the other of the Four Factors, this game may come down to utilization of the FT line, a place where KU has shot well this season and K-State has not.

In summary, look for both teams to get plenty of second-chance opportunities on the board, both teams to spend a lot of time at the charity stripe, Kansas to turn it over fairly often and K-State to struggle with their 2-pt field goal percentage.

Sagarin ratings source: Top Stories