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Kansas Basketball: Team Plus/Minus, The Good and Bad


As we are all anxiously awaiting Thursday and especially Friday night to get here, I've been trying to think of the things that we need to see from this particular team in order for them to win at least two more games this year. We know the depth is questionable but that's not a new problem and really hasn't been much of a problem throughout the year. What has worried me all season has been the issue of what happens when a team does what Purdue did on Sunday. Focusing on Robinson and forcing the rest of the team to pick up the slack, that's something that has really worried me.

One of the ways I wanted to look back through the season was using the plus/minus WARDENSCORE for the team and identifying the games that it liked and the games where we struggled. The team number works just like the individual, good gets added together and the bad is subtracted. The arbitrary cutoff used was the start of Big 12 play to the present for a few reasons. First, I was hoping to save some time by avoiding the gimmes from the non-con part of the schedule. The second reason is the belief that this team has improved since the beginning of the year, so looking at games from early November could be misleading.

(points+rebounds+blocks+steals+assists-shots attempted-missed free throws-turnovers-fouls)


Armed with this information, I went to the best six and worst six games and broke down their scores to the individual level to see if anything sticks out. My hypothesis was that Robinson and Taylor would be pretty stable and the other guys on the team would make or break the scores.



  • The two groups stick out to me in a couple distinct ways. First, outside of the Baylor game in Lawrence the rest came against the bottom of the Big 12 barrel. The second is that all of the bottom six games were not played inside Allen Fieldhouse. The seventh worst game that didn't make the cut was Detroit, another game not in the Phog.
  • In the no surprise at all category, the team performs much better when both Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey show up to play. This is especially true for Robinson, five of his six best scores here come from the good six games as he averaged a +19. The worst six he averaged +7.
  • Sticking with Robinson quickly, he scored a +10 against Purdue. 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Tied for the highest on the team with EJ, maybe we've been a little too hard on him this week.
  • On the guard play, I was very surprised to see Taylor's play appear fairly unrelated to the team total. However, after thinking about it some I've rationalized it out pretty well I think. Taylor's a guy that doesn't force the game to come to him, he has no problem distributing and letting the other guys get the points if they're doing it. It's when that doesn't happen that Taylor steps up and starts to take over. Other thoughts?
  • This chart shows the volatile nature of the third option for the team this year. Releford, Johnson, and Withey all show up looking good in the top six but are very hit and miss in the bottom. This somewhat confirms my initial hypothesis about what we'd see here.

What else do you see or what did I get wrong?