Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tempo Thursday: January 28, 2016

Despite 2-6 Atlantic 10 record, Fordham has reason to cheer for positive efficiency margin. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

BY RAY FLORIANI

Nearing the midpoint of the Atlantic 10 season and February’s arrival, the race is taking shape. VCU stays ahead for now, with Dayton a step behind. Saint Joseph’s and George Washington also have the Rams in sight. On the other end, two teams beginning the campaign on a down note are playing well of late. Duquesne and Saint Louis have entered the win column of late, and could use that momentum in the final month of the regular season. Richmond and Davidson are still trying to find their way. There is time, but the clock is ticking. Below are the ‘standings’ by efficiency margin. All numbers are courtesy of Basketball State:

1) VCU (7-0, +14 efficiency margin)
2) George Washington (4-2, +13)
3) Dayton (7-1, +10)
4) Rhode Island (4-3, +10)
5) Saint Joseph's (6-1, +10)
6) Fordham (2-6, +9)
7) St. Bonaventure (4-3, +8)
8) Duquesne (4-4, +6)
9) Richmond (2-4, +6)
10) Davidson (3-3, +2)
11) UMass (1-6, -3)
12) Saint Louis (3-5, -6)
13) George Mason (1-6, -7)
14) La Salle (1-5, -16)

Fordham still has the highest turnover rate in the conference. The good news is the Rams are getting coach Jeff Neubauer’s message. They are finally under the 20 percent cutoff, at an improved (over past weeks) 19.4 percent.

Turnover rate leaders:
1) Davidson (12.7 percent)
2) Saint Joseph's (14.2)
3) Rhode Island (15.1)
4) VCU (16.1)
5) St. Bonaventure (16.2)
6) UMass (16.2)

A footnote: Every A-10 team is under the 20 percent cutoff.

Fastest paced:
1) UMass (74.9 possessions per game)
2) Duquesne (74.6)
3) Davidson (74.5)
4) VCU (72.6)
5) St. Bonaventure (71.8)

Facing VCU and Duquesne the past week, St. Bonaventure faced a few high-octane tempo teams. Mark Schmidt’s club came up short both times while engaging in the ‘NASCAR’ pace.

Most deliberate:
1) Rhode Island (66.3 possessions per game)
2) George Mason (68.4)
3) La Salle (68.8)
4) George Washington (69.1)
5) Dayton (69.9)

Lack of depth has forced La Salle into a slower pace. Rhode Island, Dayton, and George Washington are all thriving in this tempo.

Offensive efficiency leaders:
1) Richmond (111)
2) George Washington (109)
3) Davidson (109)
4) St. Bonaventure (108)
5) VCU (107)

Richmond has the best efficiency, yet the Spiders are still trying to get something going.

Defensive efficiency leaders:
1) VCU (93)
2) Saint Joseph's (94)
3) Fordham (94)
4) Rhode Island (95)
5) Dayton (95)

Fordham is still among the leaders. A­-10 play, though, is starting to show, as the efficiency on the defensive side has increased as of late.

Defensive turnover rate leaders:
1) VCU (23.6 percent)
2) Fordham (22.7)
3) St. Bonaventure (19.9)
4) Rhode Island (18.5)
5) Dayton (18.2)

Not too big a surprise. While Shaka Smart is in the Lone Star State, nothing has changed in the way of ‘Havoc’ at VCU. The Rams still turn you over, disrupting rival offenses and creating opportunities for their own.

Usage leaders:
1) Jack Gibbs, Davidson (34.02 percent)
2) Jordan Price, La Salle (32.53)
3) Trey Davis, UMass (29.43)
4) Terry Allen, Richmond (28.46)
5) T.J. Cline, Richmond (28.23)

No major changes here. Jordan Price still uses a high percentage of possessions for a depleted La Salle team. Speaking of the Explorers, there have been some tough times for La Salle. In Sunday’s 69-­48 loss at home to Saint Joseph’s, Dr. John Gianinni’s group was held to a 77 offensive efficiency while giving up a 104. A 28.7 percent turnover rate did not aid the Explorer offensive cause. The road was none too inviting.

Player of the Week: Charles Cooke, Dayton­. Cooke scored a combined 47 points in wins over St. Bonaventure and Fordham. The junior guard shot 16-of-22 from the field, and 8-for-11 from downtown.

Effectiveness factor per minute: .959

Rookie of the Week: Jermaine Bishop, Saint Louis.­ Bishop scored 37 points combined in the two Billiken victories. A 13-of-21 shooting performance was highlighted by just one turnover for the two outings by the freshman guard.

EF per minute: .881

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