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Kansas Basketball 2013-14: A look at the numbers

An updated look at the Kansas basketball team's statistical profile, and how it looks compared to the rest of the Big 12 and Division I

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I've fallen off in my weekly basketball posts in recent weeks, but with the recent uptick in the Jayhawks' quality of play, I was really interested to see how their numbers (particularly the tempo-free ones) look to date. Early this season, even when we were winning, you could see where the flaws were developing. Since then, both offensively and defensively, Kansas has had an array of performances. Between losing low-scoring affairs with San Diego State and Florida, and riding efficient offense to shootout wins over Oklahoma and Toledo, the team has been all over the place. Are their numbers settling into something more consistent that isn't readily apparent to the naked eye?

Let's start with some key offensive numbers

Stat Value Big 12 rank Natn'l rank
Poss/40 mins 68.7 7 185
PPP 1.15 5 30
Eff Rating 115 5 33
eFG% 55% 4 27
3pt % 35.1% 6 136
FT% 69.1% 7 189
Oreb % 36.1% 5 64
Assist:TO 1.22 5 67
TO% 18.9% 9 219

The numbers still aren't really what we're used to seeing from Bill Self's Jayhawks. First, a note on our possessions. The number, 68.7 per 40 minutes, is actually very much in line with what they did last year (68.9). What's different is the rest of the country. Last year, that number was good for second in the conference and 81st nationally. Now we sit 7th in the Big 12 and 185th overall. I would assume the rule changes and increase in fouls (which shortens possessions) is the main contributor to this change, but for whatever reason, Kansas is still playing at the same pace.

These numbers really highlight how good they've been at 2 point shooting. Despite being the 136th in the country in 3 point shooting (which is WAY up since the last time I did one of these, by the way), we're in the top 30 in eFG and 6th in overall FG%. That's the main reason for our higher ratings in points per possession and offensive efficency rating.

While our assist:TO ratio is pretty respectable, our turnovers continue to be the offense's biggest issue. A team this good should not be outside the top 200 in TO%, and the fact that we're scoring 1.15 PPP in spite of both the turnovers and the poor free throw shooting is remarkable. Again, it speaks to just how good we are at the thing we're good at (making shots).

Now, let's look at how our opponents are doing against the defense, and a few defensive stats as well

Stat Opponent Value Big 12 rank Natn'l rank
PPP 1.00 6 109
Eff Rating 99.9 6 113
eFG% 46.4% 5 84
3pt % 33.5% 7 160
FT% 64.8% 3 25
oreb % 29.1% 3 94
Assist:TO 0.96 7 161
TO% 16.1% 9 314
Stat Value Big 12 rank Natn'l rank
Steal % 8% 9 264
Block % 11.1% 2 13
Def Reb% 70.9% 3 94

With the exception of our block % (which shouldn't be taken lightly), nothing really stands out (at least not in a good way). We're forcing turnovers at a dreadfully low rate, and giving up a point per possession. Defensive rebounding and FG% defense are ok, but not what we expect from a Bill Self team. But damn we defend free throws well.

Overall, it's hard to look at the statistical profile and get excited. One caveat I'll point out is our strength of schedule. We've played one of the toughest schedules in the country (14th according to KenPom), so it's harder for us to rank at the top of the conference in a lot of these measures than it is for Oklahoma State (225th toughest), Iowa State (122nd), Baylor (138th), K-State (272nd) and Oklahoma (207th). If the schedules were evened out, these numbers would look a lot better. To illustrate that, KenPom ranks us as the 9th best offense in the country, despite the underwhelming numbers, and puts our defense 33rd.

This profile is constantly evolving, and I'm eager to get some more conference games under our belts so we can compare the Big 12 teams with roughly equal strengths of schedule. For now, we do know that this team can do a few things very well, but isn't putting together a dominant profile to date.