Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tempo Thursday: Ray Floriani's Atlantic 10 recap

A weekend of conference play is in the books. Coaches remind us about the ‘marathon, not a sprint’ mantra, but if you are logging a long distance a good start is favorable as you attempt to get in a groove. The following numbers, courtesy of Basketball State, look at results of all games through January 4 by each of the Atlantic 10 teams, who are listed in order of efficiency margin:

1) Fordham (9­-3 record, +21 EM, 72 possessions per game pace)
2) George Washington (12-­2, +15, 69)
3) Rhode Island (9­-5, +12, 67)
4) VCU (9-­5, +11, 72)
5) Dayton (11-­2, +10, 70)
6) St. Bonaventure (9­-3, +9, 72)
7) Richmond (8-­5, +8, 71)
8) Saint Joseph’s (11-­2, +8, 71)
9) Duquesne (10-­4, +7, 75)
10) UMass (8­-5, +4, 76)
11) Davidson (8­-4, +1, 76)
12) George Mason (6­-8, -­6, 67)
13) Saint Louis (5-­8, ­-7, 69)
14) La Salle (4-­7, ­-14, 72)

Turnover Rate Leaders
1) Davidson (12.5 percent)
2) Saint Joseph's (14.2)
3) Richmond (15.4)
4) George Washington (15.5)

5) UMass (16.0)
Analysis: In the turnover department, Davidson remains very effective with an excellent rate. In fact, only one conference team is above the 20 percent cutoff, that being Saint Louis with a 20.3 mark.

Player of the Week: Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure. The sophomore guard scored a career high 30 points in a 97­-85 defeat of Davidson in the A­-10 opener for both teams. Adams’ effectiveness factor was an outstanding 42. In 39 minutes, his EF per minute broke the century mark with an excellent 1.03.

Rookie of the Week: Nicola Akele, Rhode Island. URI’s freshman guard earned a start, scoring nine points and pulling down four rebounds for an effectiveness factor of 16 in the Rams’ 85-­57 victory over Saint Louis. Akele shot 3-of-5 from long range and did not have a turnover in 29 minutes.

Offensive Efficiency Leaders
T-1) Richmond (110)
T-2) George Washington (110)
3) Davidson (109)
T-4) St. Bonaventure (107)
T-4) Fordham (107)
Analysis: George Washington and Fordham were the only two teams in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency, with St. Bonaventure enjoying some strong offensive performances. A 16.7 percent turnover rate and 50.5 percent eFG mark have been huge in coach Mark Schmidt’s offense.

Defensive Efficiency Leaders
1) Fordham (86)
2) VCU (92)
T-3) Dayton (93)
T-3) Rhode Island (93)
5) George Washington (95)
Analysis: Rams make their mark. In recent seasons, it was VCU and Rhode Island near the top. Now the Rams of Fordham have joined the mix, and currently boast the best defensive efficiency in the conference.

Fordham’s first A­-10 test, a demanding one at George Washington, saw the Rams come up short, 69-­63. GW had the edge in efficiency, 104­-94. The difference was the Colonials' 48 percent offensive rebounding percentage, a +13 margin over that of the visitors.

A rundown of other A-­10 matchups from the opening weekend, with scores and offensive efficiency:

Saint Joseph's 77, Richmond 73
OE: Saint Joseph's 114, Richmond 105

VCU 71, George Mason 47

OE: VCU 105, George Mason 67

St. Bonaventure 97, Davidson 85

OE: St. Bonaventure 129, Davidson 109

Rhode Island 85, Saint Louis 57
OE: Rhode Island 142, Saint Louis 60

UMass 74, La Salle 67
OE: UMass 97, La Salle 90

Dayton 66, Duquesne 58

OE: Dayton 88, Duquesne 78

Your pace, or mine? The fastest-paced teams in the conference, by average possessions per game:

1) UMass (75.7)
2) Davidson (75.5)
3) Duquesne (74.5)
4) VCU (72.9)

Most deliberate:
1) Rhode Island (67.0)
2) George Mason (67.2)
3) Saint Louis (68.9)
4) George Washington (69.1)
Analysis: Pace in the shadow of the Gateway Arch is still the same as back in the Rick Majerus days. Results are slow to come by, as the Billikens are plagued by turnovers (previously noted) and general ‘growing pains.’

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