By the Numbers: Kansas at Texas A&M

(AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

With some tough road wins under their belt already, the Jayhawks look to add another notch in what should be a tough environment at College Station. Here's what the numbers say.

 

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 even better than its nation-leading season average rating.  The Jayhawks come in with a 3.2-point edge over their regular rating.  It is also a fairly consistent trend, with a slightly upward trajectory.  The only game that could be considered a dud would be the near upset at Colorado.  Otherwise, KU has looked strong for the most part with impressive victories or tough ones against very good competition.  KU's average performance over the last five road games would be good enough to beat any of aTm's last five home performances by 7.5 points or more, most of them well above the double digit threshold.  KU has performed at or above aTm's best performance in four of its last five road games.  Even if the Aggies perform at their season average, KU has done better in all of its last five road games.

 

Texas A&M's last five home games have not deviated much from their season rating, coming in about a half point below that.  Not one of aTm's last five home games have been played at a level that would challenge KU's season average or KU's last five trend.  However, the last two games (Texas Tech, Baylor) the Aggies played at a level that is better than KU's worst of the last five road games (@ Colorado), giving Texas A&M a glimmer of hope.  Moreover, the trend looks clearly upward.

 

In summary, over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas has been 14.1 points better than Texas A&M.  Based on season average ratings, the Jayhawks should be favored by 6.4 points, but this specific analysis gives KU a more dominant 10.1-point cushion.

 

 

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:

TEXAS A&M

Team 1

Team 2

Advantage

 

eFG%

50.27%

46.77%

91.7

 

TO Rate

17.97%

21.52%

59.1

 

OREB%

34.11%

31.18%

26.2

 

FTA/FGA

34.51%

26.24%

-23.3

FT Pct

 

 

 

128.3

FT Attempts

 

KANSAS

Team 1

Team 2

Advantage

 

eFG%

54.98%

42.08%

383.6

 

TO Rate

17.87%

20.29%

44.1

 

OREB%

38.23%

28.87%

83.1

 

FTA/FGA

28.92%

21.99%

10.1

FT Pct

 

 

 

97.9

FT Attempts

 

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

While Texas A&M has a decent edge in this category on the season, it is nowhere near the dominance that KU has displayed.  aTm's edge in this category is a little under 3 points per game versus KU's whopping 15.  And the difference on either side of the ball between the two teams is roughly equivalent.  That is, KU shoots it better than aTm does by about the same margin as it holds its opponents' eFG% down better than the Aggies.

You just can't talk about Texas A&M's shooting without mentioning Donald Sloan.  In fact, you could just stop there.  Sloan takes over 28% of shots while he's on the floor, and he's on the floor a lot (81% of available minutes).  Fortunately for the Aggies, Sloan averages 51.5 eFG% on the season, but that number has dropped way down to 46% in conference play.  He has shot over 50 eFG% in only three of the last ten games overall.  In Big 12 play, Sloan has rarely taken under 25% of his team's shots, so it's a good bet that his percentage will dictate where things go tonight.

For Kansas, the trio of Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry and Marcus Morris must shoot well, since they are the primary shooters.  Marcus Morris has settled back to a more average rate in the last two games though.  There was a stretch of five consecutive games prior to that where Morris was taking 30% or more of the teams shots.  While a lot had been made of Henry's shooting woes recently, he has shot 50% or better in four of the last six games.  EDGE: Kansas

Turnover Rate

On the season, both teams have displayed good ball control, but Texas A&M has done a slightly better job of forcing turnovers.  In conference play though, the Aggies have gone in the wrong direction on both sides, albeit not by much.  Things have nudged even less for KU in conference, and interestingly, we are left with both teams having identical turnover percentages in conference play on both sides of the ball (18.8% own vs 19.8% opp).  It is very hard to declare anyone the favorite in this category. EDGE: Even

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OREB%)

On the season, KU has nearly three times the advantage that aTm does on the boards.  It comes mostly courtesy of the better job KU does on the offensive end.  Credit Cole Aldrich and the Morris twins there.  The Aggies counter with Bryan Davis and David Loubeau, but that's three guys to two for KU.  Not to mention, Thomas Robinson plays 20% of available KU minutes and grabs 16% of OREB.  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.  Many can easily point to Texas A&M's prolific FTA/FGA and say they are clearly the favorite here, but it's just as important to keep the opponent off the free throw line.  When all is said and done, the Aggies' advantage in this category on the season isn't all that much greater than KU's.  It is mostly the result of poor FT shooting once they get to the line.

 

When you look at only conference play, KU's advantage over opponents in FTA/FGA is about the same (7 or 8%), but both sides go way up.  KU has a ratio of 42% versus opponents' 35% in Big 12 action.  The Aggies' numbers go up, too (51-40%), expanding on their already potent advantage on the season overall.  It won't mean all that much though, as this is the weakest of the Four Factors.  EDGE: Texas A&M

Sagarin ratings source: USAToday.com

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