The KU Hangover Effect

After seeing Iowa State start off tonight’s Big 12 championship game 0-for-13 from the field after shooting 68 percent from the field in the second half vs. Kansas last night, I decided to do a little research.

Do teams perform better against Kansas compared to their next game? Is there a KU hangover effect?

After analyzing the data from KU’s nine losses this year, I say yes and no.

The hangover effect doesn’t apply to KU’s non-conference games. In fact, KU’s non-conference opponents played better after playing the Jayhawks. There can be a couple of reasons for this:

  • One of KU’s losses was in the Bahamas and they played in the ballroom. For the most part, the teams field goal percentages were worse compared to the rest of the year.
  • In the Colorado and Florida games, KU shot a better percentage than their opponent. However, Colorado and Florida shot more free throws. Colorado shot 37 free throws compared to KU’s 20. Florida shot 34 free throws compared to KU’s 19.
  • Florida and Villanova are both very good 3-point shooting teams. They were consistently good all year.
  • Villanova and Colorado were won with some luck. Villanova won because of a 3-pointer with under 10 seconds left while Colorado hit a buzzer-beating 35-foot Euro-step shot.

In the Big 12, there was certainly a KU hangover effect. Other than Oklahoma State, each team performed worse in their next game after beating Kansas.

One side note: I included Texas’ next two games for the following reasons:

  • Their hangover effect did carry over to their next game against TCU but they won.
  • They lost their next game after the TCU game against Kansas State
  • Beating TCU isn’t exactly something that’s hard to do.

Here’s the data in a spreadsheet:


Notes about KU’s Big 12 opponents:

  • KU’s opponents shot about 9 percentage points worse in the game after playing Kansas
  • Excluding Texas, KU’s opponents made three less 3-pointers in the game after playing Kansas. Texas made more 3-pointers against their next opponent.