By the Numbers: Kansas at Texas

It's finally here, the game everyone had circled on their calendar. While UT's recent slump has reduced some of the hype, these two conference juggernauts will probably produce another classic. Do the numbers agree?

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 played slightly worse than its season average rating in its last five road games, about 1.2 points worse.  While the linear pattern over those five games is slightly pointed upward, the actual shape of the pattern is parabolic, meaning that KU has played its worst games in the first and last of those five games, while the best was in the middle.  Most would agree that the Jayhawks are not playing their best ball recently.  Surprisingly though, KU's average performance over the last five road games would be good enough to beat any of UT's last five home performances by 2.5 points or more.  KU has performed at or above UT's best performance in three of its last five road games.  Even if Texas performs at its season average, KU has done better in three of its last five road games.


The Longhorns' last five home games have left much to be desired, as they check in at 6.5 points below their season average.  Only one of those five games was played at a level that would be KU's performance over the last five road games, and it would essentially be a tie with KU's season average expected performance.  The trend looks essentially flat.  What's most troubling is that the underperformances are happening consistently, with four of the last five home games played well below UT's season average.  The remaining game was basically right at average.


In summary, over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas has been 9.8 points better than Texas.  Based on season average ratings, the Jayhawks should be favored by less than a point, but this specific analysis gives KU about a 5.8-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:


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%)

All season long, Kansas has played teams that were absolutely no competition in this category.  That changes tonight.  Texas averages at least an 11-point edge per game due to its eFG% advantage.  While KU helps its cause with the 8th best 3FG% in the country, Texas shoots a mere 34% from behind the arc.  No worries though, it's really the 2FG% that KU is successful at defending so much.

Texas has a few players who monopolize the shots, while everybody else rarely gets in the action.  Jordan Hamilton has the single highest percentage of shots taken while on the floor (29.5%) but plays less than half of available minutes.  The guy who really drives this category is Damion James, who shoots 26.6% of shots during his 73% of available minutes played.  Freshman star Avery Bradley is close behind.  Fortunately for Texas, both James and Bradley shoot just above the team's average eFG%.  If J'Covan Brown and Jordan Hamilton are running the show, it is usually a different story, as both of those guys shoot a ton but below 50 eFG%.  Specifically, Brown shoots a paltry 40%.  If Dexter Pittman is getting a ton of shots this game, it could spell trouble for KU, as Pittman shoots an astounding 68 eFG%.

For Kansas, the trio of Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry and Marcus Morris must shoot well, since they are the primary shooters.  While he doesn't shoot that often, Tyshawn Taylor is the guy who shoots worst, so a good game from him is also a potentially important impact on the game dynamic.  EDGE: Kansas

Turnover Rate

On the season, both teams have displayed good ball control, but Texas has done a slightly better job of forcing turnovers.  In conference play, Texas has done even better at avoiding TO's but forces significantly fewer than out of conference.  It is still a small 1.7 percent advantage though.  Meanwhile, KU has dropped into a dead zero in this category in conference play, at 20 percent on both sides of the ball.  However you cut it, KU should not be favored in this category. EDGE: Texas

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OREB%)

This should be the battle of the titans.  Despite their conference play struggles, Texas still maintains a 7-percent edge in OREB%, while KU is slightly better at around 8 percent.  Both teams have had lapses in rebounding performance lately (UT – 28 OREB% at OSU, KU – gave up 50 OREB% @ KSU and 40% vs NU).

The beasts to watch are Damion James and Cole Aldrich on the defensive glass, along with Dexter Pittman, Marcus Morris and Aldrich on the offensive glass.  The single biggest numbers belong to the first group, as both James and Aldrich grab at least one in four available defensive rebounds.  Texas has been much better on defense than offense, so its ability to secure second-chance opportunities may be key to taking down the #1 Jayhawks, and neutralizing Aldrich will be of paramount importance in that quest.  EDGE: Even


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.  While both teams have a very nice cushion from extra free throw attempts, Texas has really hurt itself with a measly 61% at the line.  Dexter Pittman is one of the biggest culprits with a strong FTA/FGA but only 53 FT%.  Damion James and Gary Johnson are the other guys who regularly go to the line, and their percentages are nothing to write home about either, both shooting slightly under 66%.  For Kansas, Aldrich and the Morris twins are FT line regulars, and for most of the season, they have done a good job of shooting there.  The last two games though have been just awful for KU as a team, shooting right around 50%.  The real question is, "Which KU free throw shooting team will show up tonight?"  Given the magnitude of this game, it doesn't seem like the kind of place for KU to right its ship or for UT to continue its slide.  What would normally be an edge for KU should probably be considered up in the air for now.  EDGE: Even

Sagarin ratings source: Top Stories