Efficiency Preview: Texas at Kansas

Click here for the preview that actually gives you some ideas about how this game's going to be played. Read on for the one with pretty graphs and hand waving. Format is the same as last time, so you can skip the next paragraph unless you need a refresher. (And for reference, here is the original post that kind of explains what I'm doing). After the break, for both teams I've included a graph that charts the offensive and defensive ratings for each game of the season. Keep in mind that for the defensive rating, lower is better. For both offense and defense, I've included a trendline showing roughly how each unit has progressed over the year. The dotted line shows the national average efficiency. I've also included the average ratings for their last ten games, to give a snapshot of how the team is playing right now. To give these numbers some context, I show where this would rank in the full-season stats, and what team's full-season rating is the closest.


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Offense 126.4 1 Georgetown
Defense 95.0 69 Fordham
Pythag .9640 13 Michigan St

I was going to lead off with a comment about how great the Texas offense played against Texas A&M, and that it was the best any offense had done against the Aggies since _______. But _______ turns out to be Baylor, just 4 days earlier, so apparently the A&M D wasn't quite at top form heading into the game. Still, look at that graph. 7 of the past 9 games Texas has had a rating over 125 (better than the year-long efficiency of the #1-rated Hoyas). And they've put some great numbers up against very good defenses. They've played 8 games against Pomeroy's top 30 defenses, and reached 1.09 PPP in 5 of them:

Opponent Adj Def Eff* Texas Game Diff
Michigan St. 85.8 95.5 9.7
Louisiana St. 90.1 98.7 8.6
Arkansas 90.5 120.4 29.9
Oklahoma 88.1 124.9 36.8
Villanova 87.4 95.4 8
Texas A&M 84.0 109.2 25.2
Oklahoma 85.3 112.5 27.2
Texas A&M 86.8 118.5 31.7
AVERAGE 87.7 109.4 22.1
Kansas 79.0 ??? ???

*adjusted for site of game

OK, so you already knew Texas had a good offense. But did you know their defense has been playing a little better recently? Now, "better" is relative - it's not like they've all of a sudden turned into last year's team. But prior to Wednesday, they'd held 5 straight opponents to an eFG% under 50, and forced 5 straight to turn the ball over at an 18% rate (their first and second such streaks this season, respectively). I expect the second streak to continue. Whether the first does will probably determine whether this is a close game or an easy win for Kansas.


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Offense 125.3 1 Georgetown
Defense 80.6 2 Kansas
Pythag .9938 1 N Carolina

Scraping out a narrow victory in Norman on senior night against a strong defensive OU team hasn't altered the graph much. The offense is still trending upwards, though not as strongly as before, and the defense is still trending down at the same rate. Take KU's worst offensive game in their last 11, pair it with their worst defensive game in the last 6, and they still should be expected to beat Texas, though it would be close.

One slightly worrisome fact for KU fans is that the team's offensive performance is significantly correlated to their defensive performance, specifically opponent eFG% and OR% (see the bottom of this page). No other KU opponent this year has ranked as high in both eFG% and OR% as Texas. So not only might the Texas offense be a tough test for the Kansas defense, it might also be a tough test for the Kansas offense.

Just a note - the comparison of the offense to Georgetown (for both these teams) is a bit misleading. Sure, they're playing at a level equivalent to GTown's season stats, but the Hoyas are playing even better than that recently. I'd like to get a database up and running that can automatically calculate last-10 ratings for all the teams. But I'd like a free burrito about now, too.


As Jacob pointed out, this is a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the country. If both teams are at the top of their game, there will be 3 elite units on the floor - the exception being the Texas defense. But if Texas can shoot and rebound well, the lack of transition opportunities will keep the Kansas offense from performing at it's best, and Texas will be able to stay in the game. I'm gonna say this ends up being Texas's "A" game vs. KU's "A-" game. That should be enough for the Hawks to pull out a single digit home win.

  • My subjective pick ... +7 ... KU 81 UT 74
  • Vegas ... +9.5 ... KU 79 UT 69

Efficiency based:

  • Pomeroy... +13 ... KU 79 UT 67
  • Last 10 ... +16 ... KU 86 UT 70
  • Trendlines ... +12 ... KU 81 UT 69
  • Streaks ... +14 ... KU 81 UT 67

Power ratings: