By the Numbers: Kansas at Oklahoma St.

In the 2008 title run, KU's last hiccup was an upset loss in Stillwater. As the Jayhawks approach an undefeated conference mark, can the Cowboys do it again? The numbers are not so sure.


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 continued its excellent road play by performing better than its season average over the last five road games.  The Jayhawks come in with a 3.4-point edge over their regular rating.  But the trend doesn't look the most favorable right now.  That above-average rating comes courtesy of only two impressive games (@ISU, @Texas).  Otherwise, KU has played at or below its season performance.  KU's average performance over the last five road games would be good enough to beat any of OSU's last five home performances by 3 points or more.  In fact, KU has performed at or above OSU's season average level in all of the last five road games.


But the Cowboys counter with an impressive profile of their own, playing about 3.6 points above their season rating in the last five home games.  Their performance has been well above their season average in four of those five games, the exception being the 12-point loss to Texas, a game in which they squandered a large lead.  Despite that misstep, OSU's trend looks very nicely positive over the last five home games.  Still, only once in those five games have the Cowboys played at a level that would beat KU's season average road performance.


In summary, over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas has been 11.2 points better than Oklahoma State.  Based on season average ratings, the Jayhawks should be favored by 7.6 points, which is essentially the same as that expected by this analysis of the last five venue-appropriate games.



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%)

Like most teams with a winning record, the Cowboys have at least a modest edge in this, the most important of the Four Factors.  But their 5-point edge per game is dwarfed by KU's nearly 15-point edge.  There is a slightly larger difference on the defensive eFG% side than on the offensive side, suggesting that KU's defense is the bigger reason for this discrepancy.  Kansas opponents would like to think that the Jayhawks' dominance ended once conference season began and there were no more cupcakes on the schedule, but they're still showing a 53-45% advantage in Big XII play.  Despite the fact that OSU's numbers didn't change as much as the Jayhawks', they had less of a cushion to start with.  So, actually they are giving up more than 50 eFG% during conference play, a number that makes it difficult to give OSU reasonable consideration of postseason success of any kind.

It's really the "James Anderson Show" when OSU has the ball.  The man has taken 30% of all shots when he's been on the floor, a number that's held during the conference season as well.  Better yet, maybe it's the "James Anderson Show Featuring the Obi Muonelo Band" since Muonelo takes 26% of the shots in conference play.  That's well over half the shots between the two.  Fortunately for OSU, both players have shot well all season, between 53-56 eFG%.  But if either falters against Kansas, it could be a very long day for the Cowboys.

For Kansas, the trio of Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry and Marcus Morris must shoot well, since they are the primary shooters.  Collins has settled into a very consistent range of between 23-25% of shots taken in each of the last six games.  Meanwhile, Henry's confidence has returned as evidenced by higher percentages of shots taken in the last six.  Marcus Morris was taking a ton of shots for a stretch, but he has now taken more than 25% of shots only once in the last five games.  EDGE: Kansas

Turnover Rate

Neither team has particularly impressive numbers in this category on the season.  Both have fairly good control of the ball but force few turnovers.  KU has a slight edge in the latter.  But in conference play, OSU has flip flopped and is now turning the ball over more often than its opponents, albeit not by much (20-19%).  It is difficult to declare anyone the clear favorite in this category, but it does appear that KU has taken its slight superiority and distanced a bit in conference play from OSU.

Gulley and Pilgrim stand out as the biggest culprits on OSU for turnovers on the season based on a high turnover percentage and low AST-to-TO ratio.  Look for Taylor and Markieff Morris to help determine KU's turnover fate.  EDGE: Kansas

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OREB%)

On the season, this is merely a "non-weakness" for OSU but a tremendous advantage for the Jayhawks.  It's Cole Aldrich and the Morris twins who shoulder most of the load for Kansas on the boards.  The Cowboys counter with Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim.  The numbers for both teams look fairly similar during conference play compared with their non-conference play.  On average, KU enjoys about a 2.5-point greater edge because of rebounds than does Oklahoma State.  EDGE: Kansas


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 the numbers of free throws have gone up for both teams as well as their opponents in conference play, OSU's small edge has narrowed, while KU has expanded its edge over opponents in Big XII action.

The best FTA/FGA ratios for KU belong to Cole Aldrich and Markieff Morris, followed by Marcus Morris and Tyshawn Taylor.  For OSU, Pilgrim and Anderson are in a class of their own, followed by Gulley several steps behind.  EDGE: Kansas

Sagarin ratings source: Top Stories