Tigers or Jayhawks, Who Ya Got?

Posted by cwilliams on January 23rd, 2012

The nice thing about rivalries is that when the two teams meet up, the intensity and atmosphere is always phenomenal, even if it’s a down year for either (or both) teams. That being said, whenever two rivals clash while both are having fantastic seasons, the intensity and atmosphere is unrivaled. That is what we are in for when Kansas travels to Mizzou Arena on February 4.

When Kansas and Missouri Face Each Other on February 4, It Will be the Egg McMuffin of the Big 12 season (adweek.com)

But before we get to that game, we need to solve this question: Who is better right now, Kansas or Missouri? The most recent national polls have Missouri at #2 and Kansas at #6, but many pundits are ranking Kansas higher in their personal “power” rankings. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Kansas a #1 seed in his lastest edition of Bracketology, with Missouri projected as a #2 seed. And, of course the message boards and blogs are also blowing up, with Kansas and Missouri fans each emphatically stating the reasons why their respective team is better. So, in order to find who’s truly better at this point, we need to dive in a bit deeper.

  • Both teams beat previously undefeated Baylor this past week. Kansas crushed them at home, while Missouri won a close won in Waco. Whose victory was more impressive? Advantage: Missouri. Say what you want, but winning by one point on the road in Waco is still more impressive than winning convincingly at home at Allen Fieldhouse.
  • Neither team has had a cupcake schedule, that much we know. That being said, in terms of strength of schedule it’s Advantage: Kansas. Basketball Reference has the Jayhawks’ strength of schedule rating at #2 in the nation, while Missouri’s is #90. Kansas has played Duke, Kentucky, Baylor and Ohio State. They’ve earned this one.
  • But let’s not overlook the obvious. In terms of overall record, it’s Advantage: Missouri. Yes, it’s impressive that Kansas played the likes of Kentucky, Duke and Ohio State so early in the season. But they lost two of those games, and beat a Jared Sullinger-less Ohio State team at home.
  • Thomas Robinson puts up Dwight Howard numbers and might be on his way to a NPOY award. Marcus Denmon can score 15 points in 15 minutes and you won’t even notice. Both teams have their superstar, but in terms of biggest star power, it’s Advantage: Kansas.
  • I’m going to get nerdy on you, but I have faith you’ll be able to follow along. My final test will be Offensive and Defensive Ratings. To compute a team’s Offensive Rating, you divide points by possessions, then multiply it by 100. For Defensive Rating, you divide opponents’ points by possessions, then multiply it by 100. Simple, right? After filing out that equation, we have Missouri with a Offensive Rating of 122.9, the best in the nation, and a Defensive Rating of 93.8, for an overall margin of +29.1. Kansas has an Offensive Rating of 110.9 and a Defensive Rating of 87.6, for an overall margin of +23.3. So, in terms of Team Ratings, the edge is narrowly Advantage: Missouri.

Overall Advantage: Missouri.

Well, that was fun. We made some pretty bullet points, did some fun math, and learned a lot about ourselves and each other. While this exploration into these specific categories show that Missouri is the slightly better team at this juncture, don’t read too much into it. Instead, focus on the first paragraph, and how much fun we’re going to have as college basketball fans when Kansas travels to Missouri on February 4 (and the return game in Lawrence on February 25).
cwilliams (48 Posts)

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One response to “Tigers or Jayhawks, Who Ya Got?”

  1. jw says:

    It’s great to have two Conference Champ contenders again, like so many day of old Big 8. We should never take it for granted and the fans should behave with just as much class. We could become even more of a hot spot of media attention in the future because we could be the border war between two different conference champions. Are the fans ready to show up and show the appropriate class? Because if the bright national light shows up here and we just have Bubba and Muffy pointing fingers at each other and yelling “u suck” it’s going to be embarrassing. One more thing, KU get over the difference of opinion about conference tv money and respect MU’s decision to try a new conference venue, it’s a bold move. The Border Showdown will just be that much better, IF BOTH SIDES CAN WRITE AND TALK RESPECTFULLY (example MU with sign about William’s mother) AND REFRAIN FROM CHEATING ( example KU bringing in an illegal ringer to try and win a football game). We are world contenders, live up to it, and enjoy it.

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