By the Numbers: Kansas at Baylor

The Jayhawks' undefeated conference record is at stake in their biggest Big XII test so far. Let's see what the numbers say about the players taking part in this exam.

Player Ratings - Cumulative This Season

(For explanation of ratings, go to sportsandnumbers.com under "FAQ & Terms." They use possession-based principles and measure either total impact or efficiency. These are further broken down into offensive and defensive ratings. For defensive ratings, negative is better. As a point of reference, a rating of zero is equal to the average NCAA player. ePSAN and ePSAN70 weighs recent games more, but PSAN and PSAN70 weighs all games equally. "O" on end = offense, "D"= defense, "Comp"= composite)

 

Kansas

ePSAN ("Total Impact") 

PLAYER

ePSAN-O

ePSAN-D

ePSAN-Comp

Cole Aldrich

75.41

-60.80

136.22

Brady Morningstar

35.51

-13.05

48.56

Sherron Collins

31.86

-10.65

42.51

Tyrel Reed

30.30

-4.26

34.56

Marcus Morris

15.60

-18.18

33.78

Markieff Morris

14.58

-12.22

26.80

Tyshawn Taylor

12.62

-10.69

23.31

Mario Little

14.02

0.76

13.26

Travis Releford*

-0.54

-7.18

6.64

Quintrell Thomas*

1.97

-4.52

6.49

ePSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)

PLAYER

ePSAN70-O

ePSAN70-D

ePSAN70-Comp

Cole Aldrich

5.02

-4.05

9.06

Mario Little

4.21

0.23

3.98

Marcus Morris

1.69

-1.97

3.66

Markieff Morris

1.79

-1.50

3.29

Tyrel Reed

2.76

-0.39

3.14

Brady Morningstar

2.28

-0.84

3.12

Quintrell Thomas*

0.75

-1.72

2.48

Sherron Collins

1.80

-0.60

2.40

Travis Releford*

-0.15

-1.95

1.80

Tyshawn Taylor

0.91

-0.78

1.69

 

* Rating not based on enough data.

Baylor

PSAN ("Total Impact")  

PLAYER

PSAN-O

PSAN-D

PSAN-Comp

LaceDarius Dunn

61.12

2.95

58.17

Quincy Acy

35.27

-13.98

49.25

Kevin Rogers

36.17

-6.88

43.04

Curtis Jerrells

32.57

-8.08

40.65

Henry Dugat

24.05

-11.64

35.69

Tweety Carter

36.80

11.98

24.82

Mamadou Diene*

5.42

-5.73

11.15

Fred Ellis*

-1.19

-12.11

10.92

Josh Lomers*

10.51

0.16

10.35

Anthony Jones

-0.32

-2.97

2.64

 PSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)

PLAYER

PSAN70-O

PSAN70-D

PSAN70-Comp

Quincy Acy

3.51

-1.39

4.90

LaceDarius Dunn

4.20

0.20

4.00

Josh Lomers*

3.96

0.06

3.90

Kevin Rogers

2.12

-0.40

2.52

Fred Ellis*

-0.27

-2.77

2.49

Mamadou Diene*

1.20

-1.27

2.46

Curtis Jerrells

1.77

-0.44

2.21

Henry Dugat

1.46

-0.71

2.17

Tweety Carter

2.47

0.80

1.66

Anthony Jones

-0.12

-1.10

0.98

 

* Rating not based on enough data.

 

Player Analysis:
(largely in context of ratings above)

 

Kansas has a very interesting statistical profile for players. At the top, there is no question who has been the best on paper this season. Cole Aldrich dominates on offense and defense, with an incredible 63 eFG% and Top 100 national rankings in rebounding on both sides of the court, the ability to swat shots left and right and an impressive 79 FT% for a big man. What's more, he has rarely disappeared for the Jayhawks this season. Yet, the "star watch" graphics and pre-game talk is always focused on the dynamic Sherron Collins in the backcourt.

 

The fact is that Collins is tremendously important to the team, probably the one guy the Jayhawk players would point to as their leader. His ability to create his own shot, find his teammates for open looks and clutch free throw shooting is unquestioned. The problem is that Collins just doesn't do it all very efficiently. This season, he is shooting just under 51 eFG%, which really isn't bad considering how much of the load he shoulders. Still, he sports a mere 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio and barely gets any rebounds (not surprising, given his size). While his STL/gm is as high as any teammate, it's mostly a function of his team-leading playing time. His steal rate per possession is actually sixth best. So, while it's easy for everyone to remember all the times he scores (he is the leading scorer, after all), it is easy to write off mentally the times he misses shots because everyone already knows he is a talented player who should be taking shots. The end result has been a very positive impact on the team but at one of the lowest efficiencies on the team.

 

In between the All-Universe numbers for Aldrich and the inefficient star performer numbers for Collins lays a vast sea of solid players, each with his own unique journey this season. Some are unheralded guys who do the "little things" best, while others are beginning to use their talents more wisely.

 

Brady Morningstar falls into the first category. Yet, he has parlayed his outside shooting ability (45% from 3FG) and general tendency to avoid mistakes into the second highest impact rating on the team. Morningstar never looks like the best player on the court, but when you look objectively at what he did after the game, you usually can't help but feel he was one of the most valuable players.

 

In contrast, Tyrel Reed gets the credit he deserves whenever he performs well. That's because his role is clear … he is a gunner. When he's hot, Reed can swing the momentum back in KU's favor in just a handful of trips down the court. Although he is shooting 41% for the season from behind the arc, he's been particularly hot of late, shooting 18-of-36 for 50% since the game against Albany. The limitation with Reed is on defense, where his impact has been only a shade better than the NCAA average player.

 

The Morris brothers both have similar profiles in that they have a fairly balanced contribution on offense and defense. Marcus uses more possessions than Markieff. Both have decent shooting around 50 eFG%. While they both have good rebounding numbers, Marcus is particularly good on the offensive side, and Markieff excels more on the defensive side. Given his size, it is not surprising that Markieff is a good shot blocker, while Marcus is an effective stealer. Both struggle at the free throw line, particularly Marcus who is shooting 54% for the season. Most recognize that the Morris brothers have exceptional talents that will become a bigger part of the team's success as they mature.

 

It has been difficult for Tyshawn Taylor lately. Maybe it's because expectations were set so high when he started the season with some strong performances. But lately, he has really been struggling with turnovers. His season shooting percentage is still healthy (53 eFG%) as is his ability to steal. But his turnover rate is actually slightly higher than his assists rate (not the same as turnovers per game and assists per game). For a guy who plays the combo guard position, that is unacceptable. In his last eight games, only twice has he had more AST than TO. In that same stretch, he has only 7 STL. The raw skills are there for Taylor to shine, but he must learn better discipline with the ball before his net impact on the team begins to rise back to where it belongs for a starter.

 

Lastly, Mario Little is finally playing significant minutes. After being out for the first half of the season with a stress fracture and a finger injury, Little is showing how his offensive skill set can really complement those of his teammates. Little provides that mid-range game that was sorely lacking, and he does so with a feathery touch (63 eFG%). He still has to work on getting his speed back and minimizing turnovers.

 

For Baylor, the cast is much more balanced. LaceDarius Dunn and Quincy Acy share top honors in impact and efficiency, respectively, with the other guy coming in second on the other list. The talented 6-4 sophomore guard, Dunn, is shooting a sizzling 60 eFG% complements of his jaw-dropping 58% from behind the arc. Sure, he has his occasional 1-of-7 or 4-of-13 games from three-point land, but then he drops 9-of-12 (@ K-State), 6-of-13 (vs Arizona St.) and 7-of-11 (vs Jacksonville). If Dunn is hot, look out.

 

Acy is the opposite of Dunn in terms of style, but the end result has been just as deadly this season. The 6-7 forward has shot an even higher 73 eFG% (no three-pointers though). If not for his 53 FT%, he would be even more effective. With decent rebounding numbers (better on defensive), strong shot blocking (#96 rate in country) and a few too many turnovers, Acy turns in a very nice efficiency rate. Acy has more impact on defense than Dunn naturally.

 

The senior forward, Kevin Rogers, does a bit of everything pretty well without doing anything too badly. On a team performing as well as Baylor, that's good for a very healthy impact and efficiency rating. But what about leading scorer, Curtis Jerrells? It looks like Jerrells has a similar story as Sherron Collins. He's scoring in bunches but not efficiently at all. The senior point guard manages only a 50 eFG% (35% from behind the arc) but does sport the 10th highest FT rate (FTA/FGA) in the conference. Rebounding isn't a big part of his game either. For a guy who uses 26% of his team's possessions (clearly highest on the team), he is not shooting well enough and playing efficiently enough. Still, his overall impact has been fourth best.

 

Similar to Jerrells, the other two major contributors (Henry Dugat and Tweety Carter) have not been efficient but have still impacted the team. Both have decent shooting and steals numbers, but they play so many minutes that their totals ultimately don't look as impressive when measured in per-possession fashion.

 

Note: Some statistics and rankings from Statsheet.com


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