By the Numbers: Kansas State at Kansas

Senior Night, farewell to Sherron, 58-game home win streak, outright conference title – how could the numbers possibly reflect the enormity of what's at stake? Take the following with a grain of salt.


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" (blue bar) 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 for the team's performance over the last five games for the team.  The white bar is the expected performance level of this game's opponent, based on their season rating to date.


It has been a while since KU's numbers haven't looked great at home, but in the last five home games, the Jayhawks have underperformed their season rating by a little more than 2 points.  Moreover, the trend is clearly downward sloping.  Only once in those five games has Kansas performed better than its season rating, and that was in the most distant game (Missouri).  It also doesn't bode well that KU's last four home games have been against weak opponents.  Still, only one of the games saw KU's performance dip below KSU's season rating.  Two of the five games were on par with KSU, however.  This is not the kind of recent performance trend that would make KU fans very comfortable.


In contrast, the Wildcats are on an upswing and have played well above their season average rating in the last five road games – 5.7 points better, to be precise.  Two of those games, including the most recent against Texas Tech, saw KSU playing at a level that would beat KU's season average, even in Allen Fieldhouse.  The number swells to three games if you compare it to KU's play over the last 5 home games only.  In addition, KSU has been well above their own average in four of the last five road games.  Strictly from a recent performance standpoint, things look more favorable than usual for a Wildcat upset.


In summary, over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas State has been 3.9 points better than Kansas.  Based on season average ratings, the Jayhawks should be favored by 7.7 points, but this specific analysis projects a virtual tie, with a mere 0.1 point edge to the visiting Wildcats.



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%)

With top-five poll rankings this late in the season, you expect to see teams with healthy advantages in eFG%, and this matchup is no exception.  K-State averages about a 6.3-point advantage due to better eFG% per game.  It just pales in comparison to KU's enormous 13.8-point edge, more than double KSU's impressive stat.  Don't tell that to the Oklahoma State Cowboys who just outshot KU 70-54 in eFG% on Saturday.  In fact, KU has held opponents to below 43 eFG% (its season average) in only two of its last nine games.  In contrast, K-State has done so in four of its last six.  At the end of the day, it's a special home game for Kansas, and the overwhelming data from the season would suggest KU is the favorite in this category. EDGE: Kansas

Turnover Rate

On the season, both teams have about the same advantage in this category over opponents.  Given K-State's nominally better numbers here and the fact that their schedule is rated significantly stronger than KU's, the Wildcats' numbers in this category would have to be considered somewhat more impressive.  The Jayhawks have shown remarkable consistency though.  In their last eleven games, only once has KU turned it over more than its opponent.  The problem is that the one opponent happens to be Kansas State.  In their last eleven, KSU lost the turnover battle three times.  Given the nerves that KU players will inevitably face on such a special night, it stands to reason the Jayhawks may turn it over in the early going, enough to lead to a small deficit for the game. EDGE: K-State

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OREB%)

For some reason, the nation's 5th ranked offensive rebounding team can't get it together on the defensive glass.  K-State secures over 41% of rebounds on its own missed shots but allows nearly 34% on the defensive glass.  As a result, the season numbers for the two teams actually favor Kansas just a bit.  Over the last ten games, K-State's OREB% has been above 40% only twice.  Its best performance was 50% against, you guessed it, Kansas.  Of course, that same game it gave up 48.5% to the Jayhawks.  If you look at the rebounding margin (OREB% minus opp OREB%), the Wildcats have been the winner in 10 of their 14 conference games, but three of those four losing efforts were on the road.  Meanwhile, KU has won the battle in 9 of its 14 conference games, with only one of those five deficits occurring at home (Baylor).  Considering KU's ability to stay even with K-State in their first matchup and the two teams' propensities to struggle in rebounding on the road, the intuitive edge in this category would go to Kansas, but only slightly.  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.  Kansas State games usually have a ton of free throws on both sides.  In the first matchup with KU, however, it was the Jayhawks who utilized the FT line better (61 vs 33% FTA/FGA).  The Jayhawks have dominated this category in conference play with one peculiar exception.  Iowa State beat them in both of their matchups.  Since tonight's visitors hail from somewhere other than Ames, it stands to reason that KU should be the favorite here.  Moreover, K-State has won this battle in only 6 of its 14 conference games, and only two of those were on the road.  Regardless of the frequency of trips to the line, K-State must shoot better than its season average of 66% from the charity stripe if it wants to hang with the Jayhawks. EDGE: Kansas

Sagarin ratings source: Top Stories