Inside the Numbers: Central Missouri State at Kansas
by Donald Davis

Related pages

Coach's comments

Box score

Season stats

Possession analysis

Explanation of NEP

A win is a win is a win. Or is it a win by any other name is just as sweet. Or maybe itís he who wins last wins best. There seems to be a eerie feeling about this team floating around in Jayhawkdom. At the risk of being written off as a Pollyanna I hope to dispel some of the misconceptions or 'hyper' conceptions of many fans. We have ample data through 7 games to make a preliminary assessment of the bench. We have much more data to assess the starters. Some are quick to discount any type of statistical analysis, since the problem with this crop of Jayhawks does not seem to be accurately manifested in the numbers. As an engineer by degree, I am by nature a numbers kind of guy. Those of you who have to work with or around engineers have surmised we strive for accuracy with the allusion of precision. Or as a professor of mine used to say, 'it is better to be precisely incorrect than approximately correct.' This column does not intend to replace or diminish the value of subjective analysis or critical judgment. In fact, in this edition of ITN I will join in the fray of subjective analysis as a complement to statistical analysis to bolster the efficacy of my conclusions.

One of the ways we as fans have employed subjective analyses is in measuring the progress of a player over his career. There have been sundry assertions to the existence and degree of the 'sophomore slump.' Many players have been criticized for lack of progress over their careers (Eric Chenowith) while others have been lauded for their consistent improvement (Ryan Robertson). This is an area where statistics can shed some light on the matter. Is there such a thing as a 'sophomore slump?' At what stage of a players career does the greatest improvement occur? If we can answer these questions, will it enable us to gain insight into this years team?

To answer these questions I utilized the stats from the 28 players who have completed 4 years at KU since 1983. Here are the players with their NEP data.

NEP n-NEP
Frosh Soph Junior Senior Frosh Soph Junior Senior
Manning 810 934 1094 1199 28.9 29.8 35.0 35.9
LaFrentz 459 589 862 791 25.1 25.7 33.1 34.9
Vaughn 587 740 777 557 26.2 28.3 28.8 27.2
Pritchard 447 576 675 814 18.6 20.9 28.6 33.4
Jordan 297 698 668 742 25.5 27.6 26.5 26.3
Hunter 132 486 904 800 18.2 21.9 29.7 27.4
Randall 191 661 669 720 23.5 31.3 29.7 28.1
Thompson 326 464 635 768 22.2 22.5 24.8 25.2
Boschee 489 479 547 659 20.2 21.7 19.9 22.7
Gregory 354 471 567 674 22.9 22.5 28.8 28.4
Woodberry 227 392 617 807 18.9 20.4 27.6 28.9
Robertson 219 338 804 658 28.9 20.6 26.3 22.6
Kellogg 184 248 769 803 24.9 22.9 27.9 27.5
Chenowith 359 613 430 453 21.6 25.9 23.0 24.2
Pollard 369 423 486 476 24.7 27.3 23.3 27.1
Scott 228 368 481 490 21.5 24.4 24.4 24.5
Bradford 110 304 551 556 17.3 22.2 24.7 29.2
Newton 120 150 546 633 17.5 18.4 27.1 27.4
Ostertag 214 222 553 456 27.5 22.8 29.9 30.2
Thomas 264 189 304 684 22.4 21.1 21.3 28.4
Maddox 85 422 402 437 18.6 24.9 26.4 22.2
Turgeon 359 250 246 367 24.7 19.5 24.6 22.3
Gueldner 82 248 198 694 20.2 17.7 17.5 29.2
Richey 216 151 343 377 20.0 20.8 21.7 18.2
Pearson 134 320 348 184 23.5 21.5 19.1 22.5
Piper 37 127 374 331 10.9 9.8 14.8 15.1
Williams 151 191 266 232 15.1 15.3 18.9 14.4
Pugh 148 148 258 277 17.3 14.4 14.2 16.2
Barry 22 30 251 510 11.8 18.7 20.8 25.6
Gurley 72 104 237 196 19.3 22.2 24.5 21.6
Martin 201 263 26 4 17.5 19.4 28.6 11.1
Carey 74 61 114 111 20.7 18.3 16.8 17.0
McGrath 83 19 66 159 18.2 24.4 24.3 19.4
Nooner 26 27 25 12 27.3 22.8 11.6 9.4

This allowed me to compare progress from year to year using the same players for each class year. Overall there was measurable progress in each year. The greatest progress was made between the sophomore and junior years. Of the 34 players 22 showed progress from their freshman to sophomore year, 23 showed progress from their sophomore to junior year and 19 showed progress from their junior to senior year. Among the top players in the group only Ryan Robertson showed a significant drop in n-NEP from his junior to senior year. At the very least these data demonstrate that from a statistical viewpoint there is strong evidence that players will tend to be at least as good from one year to the next and generally will be better. Is there any correlation between those who showed progress and those who didnít? Factors such as injuries and loss of critical teammates can have an impact on a playerís statistics. For the purposes of this brief analysis we will assume there are no significant factors affecting these players. Here is the table showing composite differences by year.

Frosh Soph Junior Senior
NEP 7697 11124 15211 16595
n-NEP 22.5 23.3 25.4 26.1

This is all nice and interesting, Don, but what difference does it make to our current players? Thanks you for asking. Here is a look at the current players data.

NEP n-NEP
Frosh Soph Junior Frosh Soph Junior
Collison 513 666 827 26.5 29.8 33.4
Hinrich 406 819 936 22.4 30.3 32.8
Nash 39 37 12.8 12.6
Langford 413 21.4
Miles 730 28.7
Simien 360 29.4

This table presents some very encouraging data. First of all Kirkís and Nickís n-NEP numbers have increased every year. They have not only increased, but have increased significantly. This is no guarantee they will show similar increases this season. However, as discussed above, the senior year statistically speaking, will be as good or better than the junior year. Secondly, as shown above, 22 of the 34 players in the above data set showed improvement from their freshman to sophomore year. Of the top 11 players all but one (Gregory) showed improvement and his sophomore year was essentially equal to his freshman year. Odds are very good our three sophomores will show improvement this season. Thirdly, notice the n-NEP for Miles and Simien. Their freshmen n-NEPs would rank them 3rd and 1st among all Jayhawk scholarship freshmen since 1983. See the table below for all freshmen n-NEPís (including Pierce and Gooden.)

NEPn-NEP
Simien 360 29.4
Manning 810 28.9
Robertson 219 28.9
Miles 730 28.7
Gooden 490 28.6
Ostertag 214 27.5
Collison 513 26.5
Vaughn 587 26.2
Jordan 297 25.5
LaFrentz 459 25.1
Kellogg 184 24.9
Pollard 369 24.7
Turgeon 359 24.7
Pierce 526 24.4
Pearson 134 23.5
Randall 191 23.5
Gregory 354 22.9
Thomas 264 22.4
Hinrich 406 22.4
Thompson 326 22.2
Chenowith 359 21.6
Scott 228 21.5
Langford 413 21.4
Carey 74 20.7
Nooner 26 20.3
Boschee 489 20.2
Gueldner 82 20.2
Richey 216 20.0
Gurley 72 19.3
Woodberry 227 18.9
Maddox 85 18.6
Pritchard 447 18.6
Hunter 132 18.2
McGrath 83 18.2
Newton 120 17.5
Martin 201 17.5
Bradford 110 17.3
Pugh 148 17.3
Williams 151 15.1
Nash 37 12.6
Barry 22 11.8
Piper 37 10.9

Simien and Miles have serious game. They were somewhat overshadowed last season by the three amigos but they are blue chip all the way. We know they are good from their freshmen stats, and we have good reason to believe they will be as good or better this year. We have reason to believe Collison and Hinrich will be as good or better. Observation leads an educated observer to the conclusion that Langford has as good of upside as the other sophomores and thus could be the one to make the most significant improvement this year. In summary, in reviewing our starting five all indications are they will be better this season. Furthermore, looking at the numbers for Boschee and Gooden last season, our starting five this year should be better.

Before you blast this analysis out of the water as ignoring things like team chemistry and defense, consider this. Team chemistry is affected very largely by the leadership. This includes the coaching staff and the team leaders. We know the coaching staff is second to none. While we canít know the details of the team leadership, we know that we have two very strong seniors who also happen to be our two best players. That bodes well for both vocal leadership (senior maturity) and leadership by example (best players). Once again I will aver the same refrain as after the Florida game. This team has the ingredients to be very very good. We had two lousy games in the early season against two very good teams in a hostile environment. That is a small indication of problems when stacked up against the mountain of data indicating better times ahead.

Bear with me for a few more minutes to review the Central Missouri State game. But first the milestone update.

Milestone Update
Career Scoring: Nick Collison passed Tony Guy and Bud Stallworth to move into 14th place on KUís career scoring list. He needs 11 to pass Ron Kellogg and 30 to pass Drew Gooden for 12th place.

Career Rebounding: Nick Collison has 806 career rebounds which is 6 shy of Clyde Lovellette (9th place) and 9 shy of Dave Robisch (8th place).

Career Assists: Aaron Miles is on a pace to finish the season with approximately 250 assists. This would give him just over 500 for his first two seasons. Only 2 players in the history of the NCAA have over 1000 career assists. Aaron is on a pace to blow through Jacque's KU record and become the third NCAA player to reach the 1000 plateau.

Season FTs: Nick Collison is averaging 7 FTs per game putting him on a pace for 275 or so for the season. This would land him 4th all-time for FTs in a season at KU and the most of any player in over 40 years.

Player of the Game
Aaron Miles gets the nod for POG. Nick, Wayne, and Keith all had strong games. Any one of the four deserve POG but Aaron had the burden of needing to step up more so than the others in response to Kirkís absence. He did exactly that. He scored 20 points, dished out 7 assists to 4 TOs, had a block, 2 steals and 7 big rebounds. The 4 TOs were the only real black mark. His shooting woes ended with this game. He finished with a shooting efficiency (SE) of 60.6%. Anytime you are over 60% you have had a very good night.

NEP n-NEP
Miles35.6 47.5
Simien34.3 52.7
Langford35.4 45.7
Collison32.0 42.6
Nash10.9 17.4
Lee4.7 11.7
Niang3.3 16.3
Graves2.8 8.7
Hawkins0.3 0.7
Olson-0.1 -2.8
Vinson0.3 6.8
Moody0.8 16.8

Significant Stats of the Game
Individually we had 4 players with 20 or more points. I have not rigorously researched it, but I believe this is the first time this has happened for quite awhile. Also Nick had 5 blocks. That is a very nice defensive effort to go along with 1 steal and 7 defensive boards. As far as rebounding we absolutely dominated the boards taking in 62% of the rebounds and outrebounding CMSU by 21. We had a SE of 56.1% and held CMSU to 38%. Speaking of 38%, our opponents are scoring 38% of their points on the season from the three point line versus 11% for the Jayhawks. Last year the figures were 30% and 20% respectively. It seems this is a game plan that opposing coaches are focusing in on. This is a risky strategy, and with practice the Jayhawks should be able to adapt. On the flip side we are outscoring our opponents 97 to 42 from the FT line.

Jittery KU fans have found a way to feed their trepidation in spite of a dominant KU victory. This game was not much of a real benchmark since CMSU is not exactly a strong opponent. Yet, the guys did what they needed to and got the job done.

If youíve read this far you recognize I have espoused a very optimistic view of the 2002-2003 season. Lest you think I am blind to the realities I will now address the concerns I have about this team. There are three areas I am concerned about based on the performance to date. 1) team defense, 2) perimeter offense, 3) bench.

I will reserve the discussion of these issues until the next edition of ITN after the Oregon game. Oregon has a strong perimeter offense. This will be a good test for our guys to put up or shut up. I will also review the bench players in more detail in the next edition of ITN.

The next two games will be a chance for the Jayhawks to show they can adapt and grow. Tulsa and Oregon are every bit as good as North Carolina and Florida. Stay tuned.

Stats all for now, folks.

Email Don

| Share


News | Daily Links | 2015-16 Jayhawks | Historical Stats | The Rock Chalk Board
Tradition | Recruiting News | Fan Zone | Links

Further information: privacy information, about this site, feedback, advertising info

Copyright ©1995-2015 Rock Chalk Zone, All Rights Reserved