Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free MAAC Analysis

David Laury's 20 points per game are a significant contributor to Iona's MAAC-leading offensive efficiency. (Photo courtesy of Big Apple Buckets)

Albany is on the horizon, as MAAC play enters the stretch run with Iona holding a two-game lead. Behind the Gaels, several teams jockey for all-important seeds in the postseason tournament. All numbers are from MAAC games only as of February 18 and provided by bbstate.com:

Efficiency Margin:
1) Iona, 12
2) Rider, 7
3) Canisius, 5
T-4) Manhattan, 3
Monmouth, 3
Quinnipiac, 3
7) Saint Peter's, 1
T-8) Siena (-6)
Fairfield (-6)
10) Marist (-9)
11) Niagara (-13)

Iona, by virtue of the conference's best offensive efficiency, has the clear-cut lead.

Fastest pace:
1) Iona, 72 possessions per game
T-2) Niagara, 69
Manhattan, 69

The Gaels are the only team in the MAAC with the 70-plus-possession "NASCAR" pace, but Niagara and Manhattan do not exactly walk the ball up the floor, either.

Most deliberate pace:
1) Saint Peter's, 63 possessions per game
2) Fairfield, 64

Top defenses:
1) Rider, 92 defensive efficiency
T-2) Manhattan, 95
Quinnipiac, 95
4) Monmouth, 96

All four are playing outstanding defense. Keep that in mind during Albany's "one-and-done" get-together.

Best offenses:
1) Iona, 109 offensive efficiency
2) Siena, 103
3) Manhattan, 101
4) Canisius, 100

As mentioned, the Gaels are pushing the ball, but not with any trace of carelessness. Tim Cluess' club has a 17.1 percent turnover rate, tied with Saint Peter's for second in the MAAC. Canisius leads, at 16.9 percent. Iona's shot selection is very good, as their .559 eFG percentage can attest. The only other schools hitting the 50 percent mark in eFG are Manhattan, at .508, and Rider with an even .500.

The poor efficiency margin for Siena can be blamed on the Saints' 109 defensive efficiency. Only Niagara, at 110, is lower. lower. Defensive problems for both can be found in shooting from the floor. Siena allows a second-to-last in conference 53 percent eFG mark, while Niagara is last in the MAAC at 54 percent. The conference leader is Quinnipiac, with a 44.7 percent eFG on the defensive end.

The defensive leaders in terms of forced turnovers, or defensive turnover rate, are:
1) Manhattan, 22.6 percent
T-2) Rider, 20.9 percent
Marist, 20.9 percent

The Jaspers and Broncs are of little surprise on this list, while Marist has improved under first-year coach Mike Maker. The Red Foxes have been more competitive, and own a Western New York sweep over Niagara and Canisius on their ledger. That ability to force the opposition into ball handling mistakes is a foundation of that improvement to date.

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