Inside the Numbers
by Donald Davis

Related pages

Season stats

Possession analysis

Explanation of NEP

I bet youíre feeling a little better about our beloved Jayhawks than you were several weeks ago. Three convincing wins have a way of boosting our collective morale. We beat a top 20 team in their gym in what turned out to be a very boisterous and energetic crowd. We followed that up with a ceremonial burial of our overmatched in-state foe from Emporia. I both cases our execution was much closer to what we have been expecting than the imposters who kidnapped the real Jayhawks and went to New York in their stead. We were riding the crest of lofty expectations once again when the vastly underachieving UCLA Bruins came limping into Lawrence. UCLA was a slumping but talented group. They position is in some way correlative to the Jayhawks after their 3 and 3 start. I dare say when the Jayhawks dropped to a ranking of 20th their werenít many coaches chomping at the bit hoping they could match up with them in the NCAA tournament. You can bet the coaches around the country were hoping just the opposite. They were looking at these guys thinking there are obvious flaws in Jayhawkdom but these guys can be lethal. UCLA has talent and tradition. They also have a reputation of being underachievers in the regular season, especially early on. But talent always casts a specter of fear in an opponent. When facing a team like the Bruins is not the time for overconfidence. We sensed the Jayhawks had an epiphany of sorts after the 3 and 3 start and we harbored a pretty legitimate confidence. As it turned out, our confidence was very appropriate.

First lets catch up on some history.

Coach's comments

Box score


Collison 33.16 35.85 66.67%
Miles 30.95 37.52 65.22%
Simien 23.11 30.81 61.29%
Langford 21.04 22.74 40.43%
Hinrich 6.25 6.58 14.81%
Lee 4.33 14.43 66.67%
Graves 2.53 9.21 50.00%
Nash 0.75 14.96 0.00%

Player of the Game: Nick Collison wins POG for the third time this season. Aaron Miles had a very nice game especially since he was coming out of a slump. He still had 4 TOs, which is too high. He needs to have 3 or fewer TOs and an A/TO ratio of 3 to 1. That may sound like lofty goals but we are not aiming to be a good team. We are aiming to be a great team, and in the Roy Williams system, the PG play is very instrumental to team success. Nick had questionable defense at times in this game but came up big when we needed him. Nick went 8 for 14 from the floor and amazingly hit 2 3-point FGs. I say amazingly not because I question his ability to hit the shot, but rather Royís willingness to allow him to shoot not once, not twice, but three treys. Kirk gets honorable mention for his gutsy defense alone. Kirk had arguably his worst game as a Jayhawk offensively, but was the stalwart of our defense.

Significant Stats of the Game: Do not underestimate the importance of the consistency Aaron Miles. I said above and I will reiterate, the point guard is systematically a critical cog in the Jayhawks machine as designed, built, and operated by Roy Williams. We run the motion offense which puts a premium on passing and timing. In addition, Roy places a strong emphasis on inside scoring. A large percentage of the inside scoring opportunities come from effective assists from the perimeter. Aaron has the largest responsibility to provide these assists. Roy prefers the inside scoring opportunities for several reasons. Inside scoring yields a higher shooting percentage. Secondly, inside shots result in a higher percentage of offensive rebounds on missed shots than do perimeter shots. Here are the shooting percentages for last season, which was a successful season.

Collison, Nick 59.61
Hinrich, Kirk 57.71
Carey, Jeff 57.45
Simien, Wayne 55.31
Langford, Keith 54.82
Gooden, Drew 50.00
Boschee, Jeff 47.93
Ballard, Brett 45.45
Miles, Aaron 43.33
Kappelmann, Todd 42.86
Zerbe, Chris 40.00
Lee, Michael 34.78
Nash, Bryant 29.17
Harrison, Lewis 28.57

You can see that in general the perimeter players shoot a lower percentage than the post players. These number include only 2-point FGAs. If you think back to Kirkís play, many of his 2 point FGAs were also inside 15 feet. Donít forget KU led the nation in FG% last season and has been near the top just about every season Roy Williams has been at the helm. This is by design. By employing the motion offense and finding and developing effective PGs who excel at passing, KU has been able to consistently shoot near 50% from the field.

The point of all this is that Aaron needs to be consistent if not outstanding. His scoring needs to be enough of a threat to keep the defense honest. Mostly he needs to keep the team running and keeping his teammates supplied with good scoring opportunities. He had 8 assists against Tulsa. He also had 15 points (bonus) and 5 steals. Now thatís a great line for a KU point guard.

Coach's comments

Box score


NEP n-NEP TO/Touch
Miles39.52 63.23 0.00%
Hinrich39.24 58.13 0.00%
Collison31.41 44.87 5.41%
Simien27.81 46.35 12.24%
Langford19.44 33.82 17.39%
Lee16.04 49.36 10.00%
Graves9.14 30.46 21.43%
Hawkins7.93 21.14 0.00%
Niang3.19 14.17 25.00%
Moody3.02 40.26 0.00%
Nash2.46 7.02 16.67%
Olson0.22 2.93 0.00%
Vinson-0.67 -6.67 0.00%

Player of the Game: I just have to give this to Aaron Miles if for no other reason then he had 13 assists against zero TOs. Way to go, Aaron. Werenít we just discussing consistency? We shouldnít get too carried away with this game since it was only Emporia State. Yet 13 assists and no TOs is good against any opponent. Aaron only had 8 points but still led the team in NEP. His n-NEP of 63.2 ranks 5th in the last 6 years (including Paul and Raefís last season). Incidentally, Aaron also has the second highest n-NEP against Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament last year. I donít want to forget about Kirkís game as I heap accolades on Aaron. Kirk had a fantastic game and hopefully has hit his stride. Weíll see in a minute how he followed this up with another great game against UCLA.

Date Player Opponent NEP n-NEP
1/24/1998 Raef LaFrentzTexas Tech 47.37 78.95
3/9/2002 Aaron MilesTexas Tech 47.81 76.49
1/2/2002 Drew GoodenValparaiso 48.94 69.92
3/9/2002 Drew GoodenTexas Tech 43.97 67.64
12/14/2002 Aaron MilesEmporia State 39.52 63.23
12/4/1997 Kenny GregoryEmporia State 28.39 63.10
3/16/2002 Kirk HinrichStanford 32.87 62.61
1/2/1999 Eric ChenowithTexas A&M 43.99 60.67
2/4/2002 Kirk HinrichKansas State 40.87 60.55

Significant Stat of the Game: Well you certainly canít ignore 13 assists without a TO as a pretty significant stat. Or how about 26 assists overall against only 13 TOs? This A/TO of 2.0 is the 11th best in the last 150 games. What about grabbing 83.3% of the defensive rebounds? That is the 4th best we have done in the last 150 games. Without a doubt the 113 points we scored is significant since that is THE MOST points KU has scored in the last 150 games. A big reason for the 113 points was the 34 for 46 shooting from 2-point range. That equates to a FG% of 73.9. That also is the best 2FG% for KU in the last 150 games. Emporia State was touted as a good 3-point shooting team and they certainly gave it a yeomanís effort against KU. Our perimeter defense was just too tough and we held them to 12 for 39 from the arc. That is a nice stat considering perimeter defense (and defense in general) was a problem in our three losses.

Coach's comments

Box score


I mentioned above that UCLA has been stinking up the gym so far this year. As for me, that does little to daunt the satisfaction I get from drumming them, especially in Allen Fieldhouse. You could see the deer in the headlights kind of look in their eyes after we jumped out to a quick 20+ point lead. If half-time hadnít rolled around we might have beaten them by 50. Iíll take a 17 point win anytime. Before I get into the game letís look at some...

Milestone Updates:
FGM - Career:
Nick started the year in 14th place for career FGM. He has passed 6 players to move into 8th. He needs only 6 FGs to pass Mark Randall, Paul Pierce, and Dave Robisch into 5th. Nick has an excellent shot (pun intended) to pass Kenny Gregory, Clyde, and Raef and finish his career with the 2nd most FGs in KU history.

3FGM - Career: Kirk has moved up 3 places to 5th in career 3FGM. He needs to average only one per game to pass Terry Brown for 3rd all-time and about 3 per game to pass Billy Thomas for 2nd.

Career Scoring: Nick Collison passed two former teammates for career points with his 18 points against UCLA. He moved into ahead of Kenny Gregory and Mark Randall into 8th place on the all-time KU scoring chart. Nick currently has 1567 points. Next up is Mark Randall at 1627. Nick is on a pace to finish 2nd all-time at KU. We should be very proud of this kid. Kirk started the year in 32nd place and has moved up to 24th. At his current pace he will finish as the second highest scoring guard (Darnell Valentine) in KU history in 7th place overall. If he can average 20 points points per game he can pass Darnell.

Assists - Season: Cedric Hunter holds the record for most assists in a season at KU with 278. Aaron is on a pace to end up right about there or a little higher. He is averaging 7.2 APG so far this season. Kirk is 5 assists away from moving up to 4th all-time surpassing Adonis Jordan.

Career Rebounds: Nick Collison has passed Clyde Lovellette, Greg Ostertag and Dave Robisch to move into 8th all-time in KU career rebounding. He needs 10 more to tie Scot Pollard for 7th. Barring injury, Nick will become the 4th player in KU history to get 1000 rebounds.

Home Streak: The Jayhawks have won 20 straight home games since losing to Iowa State on February 5, 2001. That ranks as the 8th longest home win streak in KU history. If we win the remaining 13 home games we will end up with 33 which would tie for the 3rd longest home win streak.

And now for the UCLA game.

Player of the Game: Iíll give you three guesses and the first two donít count. You guessed it. Kirk Hinrich is the hands down winner for POG. He had a team leading 27 points on 8 for 13 from the field and 5 for 9 from the arc. I predicted earlier Kirk would end the season with a 3-point shooting percentage of better than 45%. He has improved to 41.9% on 10 for 17 shooting in the last two games. The kid is sizzliní. He also had 2 rebounds, 4 assists and no TOs. In the last two games Kirk has 8 assists and no TOs.

Player MIN NEP n-NEP
Hinrich32 35.72 44.65
Miles35 28.95 33.09
Collison35 28.90 33.03
Simien33 25.84 31.32
Langford35 16.95 19.37
Lee12 5.25 17.51
Hawkins3 3.95 52.64
Nash3 0.93 12.37
Moody1 0.54 21.44
Niang2 0.07 1.44
Vinson1 0.04 1.44
Olson1 0.04 1.44
Graves 7 -0.38 -2.16

Aaron Miles had another great game with 9 assists against but 2 TOs. Over the last three games Aaron has averaged 10 assists and 2 TOs. Thatís some serious leadership.

Significant Stat of the Game: Rebounds: KU 36, UCLA 45. Wait a minute. How can we get so dominated on the boards and still win so dominantly? Easy, score 1.061 points per possession (PPP) and hold your opponents to a PPP of 0.772. And how exactly did we hold them to a PPP of 0.772? Easy, shut down their primary scorers, or at least donít give them any easy shots. Roy did a masterfu gford and Hinrich on Kapono. The Bruins leading scorer was held to 36% from the floor while his teammates Young, Cummings, Bozeman, and Walcott were held to under 30%. Credit defense with this win. Our offense was well oiled and in sync, but it was our defense that did the job.

FG% 2FG% 3FG% FT% SE
Young, Ray 25.00 22.22 33.33 0.00 25.93
Patterson, Andre 75.00 75.00 0.00 0.00 70.59
Kapono, Jason 35.71 44.44 20.00 100.00 37.14
Cummings, T.J. 20.00 22.22 0.00 0.00 19.05
Bozeman, Cedric 28.57 33.33 0.00 100.00 31.25
Thompson, Dijon 61.54 62.50 60.00 100.00 63.64
Rubin, Janou 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Fey, Michael 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Hollins, Ryan 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Walcott, Ryan 25.00 0.00 50.00 0.00 30.00
Johnson, Josiah 66.67 50.00 100.00 0.00 71.43

In the last 215 games (as far back as Iíve calculated at this point) the Jayhawks' opponents have a collective average PPP of 0.782, while KU has an average PPP of 0.907. The game is really simple. Hold your opponent to a PPP of less than your own and dominate the defensive boards. If you do that you win every time. That entails efficient offense, effective defense, and tenacity on the defensive boards.

Here is a look at the year to date stats.

Collison172 277 241.5 34.8 0.7 56.1 56.1 55.5 78.0 59.9
Miles74 288 203.2 28.2 2.1 33.3 35.0 30.4 89.2 41.8
Simien151 258 201.1 31.1 0.3 61.6 61.6 0.0 67.4 62.6
Langford152 276 196.2 28.4 1.3 55.5 60.6 31.5 52.0 53.3
Hinrich132 261 180.1 27.6 1.5 48.9 54.7 41.8 64.5 49.6
Lee31 96 57.6 24.0 0.8 55.5 57.1 50.0 64.2 57.4
Nash18 109 35.1 12.8 0.7 30.0 60.0 0.0 54.5 29.5
Graves21 91 34.2 15.0 0.1 33.3 33.3 0.0 75.0 43.7
Hawkins13 54 23.9 17.7 1.5 20.0 14.2 25.0 50.0 27.0
Niang12 55 17.2 12.4 0.0 50.0 50.0 0.0 37.5 42.8
Moody2 12 4.1 13.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 50.0 25.0
Vinson1 12 -1.7 -5.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 50.0 5.5
Olson0 11 -2.6 -9.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Nick and Wayne have been a force underneath. Both have n-NEPís under 30. Kirkís injury has clearly hindered his production thus far this year, but I have confidence he will catch up. The numbers bear out that Michael Lee has been the most solid bench contributor. The two Jeffs have been adequate at best thus far. Perhaps the biggest surprise in this table is Kirkís FT%. Thankfully, Nickís FT% has been surprising on the positive side. Keith continues to shoot well from the field, but is stinking it up at the FT line. This will be a big issue as the season progresses, especially in league play when things get a little rougher. Keith will likely find himself being guarded very closely even at the risk of being fouled, if he canít show he can knock down the FT. The average n-NEP from our starting 5 is 30.0. Last season our starting five had an average n-NEP of 31.7. Last year our three main reserves had an average n-NEP of 23.2. This season our three main subs have an average n-NEP of 17.3. We need to play better as the year progresses to expect the same type of success we had last year. My guess is, until the bench shows they can get the job done consistently, I expect Roy to go against his tradition and play the starters 34+ minutes per game. Pray for no foul trouble.

Okay, how about some fun facts. In case you were wondering the average for all 320 D-1 teams last season was...

  • Points per game: 71.1 (KU=90.9)
  • FG%: 43.7% (KU=50.2%)
  • 2FG%: 48.3 % (KU=52.6%)
  • 3FG%: 34.5% (KU=42.4%)
  • %of points from 3FG: 27.1% (KU=20.0%)
  • FT%: 68.9% (KU=71.9%)
  • A/TO: 0.94 (KU=1.27)

Stats all for now, folks.

Email Don

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