By the Numbers: Kansas at Kansas State

The Wildcats would like nothing more than to keep the Jayhawks from that vacant #1 spot. But how much of a chance do they really stand of upsetting the conference leaders from Lawrence? Here's a breakdown of the numbers.

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.  The black line represents the linear trend over the last five games for the team.


In this analysis, Kansas has done very nicely, performing above its season average rating by a healthy 4.4 points in the last five games away from home.  In fact, the Jayhawks have checked in at about their season average or better in three of those five games, so it is not all due to the extraordinarily good effort at Temple.  The trend is slightly upward, pointing toward an improving road presence.  Against a good team like KSU, however, there is not much margin for error.  In two of KU's last five away games, it has performed at a level that would lose on Saturday if KSU plays as expected.  That number goes up to three if KSU performs as it has over its last five home games.


The Wildcats have been no slouches either.  Over their last five home games, they have outperformed their season rating by 2.0 points.  While their trend is downward in that stretch, they too have played three of the five games at a level above their season average.  The problem is that their last home game was such a downer (loss to Oklahoma State).  Similar to KU, Kansas State's performance in two of its last five home games would lose on Saturday if Kansas lives up to its season performance level.


In summary, over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas has been 8.5 points better than K-State.  Based on season average ratings, the Jayhawks should be favored by 2.1 points, but this specific analysis gives KU a somewhat more healthy margin of 4.4 points.



Four Factors Analysis

Based on the cumulative season boxscore for each team, we can look at the Four Factors to see where each team has derived the bulk of its (dis)advantage in terms of scoring margin versus its opponents to date.  For each team, Team 1 is the team itself and Team 2 is its opponents.  Here is the breakdown:


Team 1

Team 2








TO Rate














FT Pct





FT Attempts



Team 1

Team 2








TO Rate














FT Pct





FT Attempts



Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Looking across the Four Factors, it really doesn't look like any of them are hugely different for either team except for this one.  KSU has a solid edge here, which has translated to about a 6.6-point edge per game, but the Jayhawks average a whopping 18.3-point edge in this category per game.  That simply cannot be matched by any team in the country at this point probably.  As usual, Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry will be key shooters for KU, but don't forget Marcus Morris, the only other KU regular who shoots more than the average share of shots while on the floor.  The corresponding players for KSU are Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente.  Pullen is the better shooter by far (54 eFG%), while Clemente has shot poorly (45 eFG%).  It's not even close in terms of who is getting all the shots – it's these two guys, period.  EDGE: Kansas

Turnover Rate

It's similar margins here, with both teams coming in with turnover percentage rates about two-and-a-half point better than their opponents.  The difference is that KSU games tend to have more turnovers than KU's games by quite a few.  For Kansas, the guys with the highest rates are Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar and Markieff Morris.  Taylor and Morningstar do some creating, and Morningstar has a very impressive 2.9-to-1 AST-to-TO ratio.  But Morris really has no creation to go with his errors.  Only two of KSU's regulars have turnover rates below 20%, and it's probably because they are so busy shooting (Clemente, Pullen).  Curtis Kelly is probably the worst of them with a turnover rate of 26% and an AST-to-TO ratio of only 0.6. EDGE: Even

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OREB%)

Kansas's rebounding numbers may not look as dominating as those of K-State, but the end result is actually a better overall edge for KU, believe it or not.  The deceptive part of it is that KSU has such a high offensive rebounding percentage but manages to give up slightly more than the average defensive rebounding percentage, while KU does considerably better than average on both sides.  On the offensive end for KU, it's basically Cole Aldrich and the Morris twins who can board.  On defense, it's Aldrich and Markieff Morris that stand out.  For the Wildcats, it is Kelly, Dominique Sutton and Rodney McGruder who have the highest OREB%, but the real edge for KSU is that so many other players have rates that are very close to double-digit, unlike KU's lesser rebounders who have paltry numbers.  On the defensive end, KSU's rebounds essentially are pulled down by a committee that excludes Clemente and Pullen.  EDGE: Even


It has been well documented this season that K-State games have a lot of whistles blown and free throws.  So while it would normally be impressive to see a team with a FTA/FGA of 37%, it isn't so with K-State as their opponents check in at a very nice 33% rate of their own.  KU has a slightly higher edge with regards to FT attempts, but the real difference has been the FT percentage category, where KU has the advantage but KSU has a disadvantage.  On the Wildcats' side, it's Jamar Samuels and Curtis Kelly who get to the line most efficiently, while for Kansas it is Aldrich and the Morris twins who utilize that line the best.  EDGE: Kansas

Sagarin ratings source: Top Stories