By the Numbers: Nebraska at Kansas

Kansas tries to stay focused on the task at hand before the big Monday matchup. The visiting Cornhuskers rarely challenge in Lawrence, so let's take a look and see how the numbers shape up this time..

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 essentially played right at its season average rating in its last five home games.  But the pattern is a bit troublesome, as the Jayhawks have alternated between performances well above their average and others below.  If that pattern holds true, today's game would be another one that comes in well below the season average rating.  Fortunately for KU, there is plenty of margin for error.  Only one of its last five home game performances rates lower than any of NU's last five road performances.  Specifically, if KU plays like it did against Cornell, while NU brings its Tulsa road win game (way back on Dec 22), the upset could happen.  That is a big "if" because NU's play of late is nowhere near that level on the road.

 

Nebraska's last five road games have been played at about 1.3 points worse than the season average.  As mentioned above, only one game performance would have stood a chance against KU in Lawrence.  NU's second best road performance (Texas A&M) would lose by double digits to four of KU's last five home games.  Any way you cut it, the Huskers are in a huge mismatch today.  What's worse, their trend is very clearly downward over the last five road games.

 

In summary, over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas has been 18.6 points better than Nebrasks.  Based on season average ratings, the Jayhawks should be favored by 21 points, but this specific analysis gives KU about a 22.5-point edge.

 

 

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:

KANSAS

Team 1

Team 2

Advantage

 

eFG%

55.83%

41.38%

379.9

 

TO Rate

18.13%

20.09%

31.7

 

OREB%

38.43%

28.42%

77.6

 

FTA/FGA

29.42%

21.96%

5.4

FT Pct

 

 

 

91.6

FT Attempts

 

NEBRASKA

Team 1

Team 2

Advantage

 

eFG%

51.16%

48.27%

65.4

 

TO Rate

18.48%

23.62%

72.0

 

OREB%

29.03%

29.12%

-0.6

 

FT Rate

23.73%

25.82%

-8.7

FT Pct

 

 

 

0.7

FT Attempts

 

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

KU absolutely lives off this category.  Kansas ranks 8th nationally in eFG% and 1st in opponents' eFG%.  It is simply the most important advantage to have in any game and the toughest to overcome with any other categorical edge.  Overall this season, Xavier Henry, Sherron Collins and Marcus Morris have been the primary shooters, and all three have very nice eFG% (low 50's).  But in conference play, Collins is down near 47% and Henry has plummeted to 36%.  It has been Morris to the rescue, shooting an astounding 61 eFG% while raising his percentage of shots taken to 31.5% (average is 20%).  Nebraska may have shot 51 eFG% on the season, but in conference play it has been a mere 46.2% while they have yielded 51.7%, basically turning this category into a disadvantage against better teams.  Brian Diaz, Eshaunte Jones and Ryan Anderson are the primary shooters when they're in the game.  For the season, all three have shot quite well (52 eFG% or better).  But Jones and Diaz have really dropped off in conference play (both below 48%).  EDGE: Kansas

Turnover Rate

On the season, both teams have displayed good ball control, but Nebraska has been much better able to force turnovers.  But in conference play, both teams actually have more turnovers than their opponents.  KU has about a 1.2% worse rate than opponents, while NU is worse by 0.5%.  Neither team has forced that many TO's in conference play.  Either way, this is not a Jayhawk advantage. EDGE: Nebraska

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OREB%)

After their pitiful rebounding display at Colorado, who knows if KU's edge on the glass will translate into anything here.  Still, that was in the altitude of Boulder, not the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse.  For the season, KU has dominated the glass on both ends, while NU has merely kept its head above water.  In conference play, KU has kept roughly the same advantage (actually improving in offensive rebounding but taking about the same steps back on defensive rebounding).  But NU has regressed in conference play and gets hardly any offensive rebounds (25%), translating in about a 5% disadvantage.  EDGE: Kansas

FTA/FGA

Teams want to have a high FTA/FGA because the free throw line is generally the most efficient place to be on the court, so the more possessions that end with free throws, the more efficient a team is likely to be on offense.  KU is the clear favorite here, racking up about 4.5 points per game edge in FT attempts alone.  Similar to the rebounding category, in conference play KU has upped its own FTA/FGA but also allowed opponents to increase about the same level (44-36% in KU's favor).  Nebraska's poor FT% alone accounts for about an 8-point deficit overall.  While their FTA/FGA is about even for the season, in conference play it is a clear downfall (31-43% against).  EDGE: Kansas

Sagarin ratings source: USAToday.com


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