Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tempo Thursday: February 18, 2016

Atlantic 10 will converge on Barclays Center in three weeks for annual conference tournament. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

BY RAY FLORIANI

Bronx, NY - Fordham spread the wealth in defeating UMass, 76-66, at Rose Hill on Wednesday. The Rams put five players in double figures. The time was appropriate to have a little more discussion  on ‘usage.’

After going over the results on Basketball State and a great deal of testing, (using the old scrap paper and pencil) we came up with a formula that is easy, and if not matching perfectly, very close to the numbers on the site:

Usage = FGA + TO + (.44 * FTA)

Applying this to the Fordham double-figure scorers and their usage, the results were exactly the same as the box score printout from Basketball State. 

Points Usage
Joseph Chartouny 16 16.40
Jon Severe 13 7.76
Chris Sengfelder 11 13.88
Nemanja Zarkovic 11 5.88
Ryan Rhoomes 10 14.60

Totals 61 58.68

Zarkovic canned three treys, explaining his double-figure point production and the least usage among the Ram double-digit scorers. Fordham was able to get 61 (80 percent) of their 76 points out of these five players. Conversely, their usage was a little over 50 percent, a very sound display of efficient offense.
A-10 records and efficiency margin, with the numbers courtesy of Basketball State. Saint Joseph’s victory over Dayton last night put the race in a three-way tie. The field is approaching the home stretch in what should be an exciting finish. Interestingly enough, VCU visits Dayton the final day of the regular season. Don’t be surprised if that game has a major bearing on how this campaign plays out.

Record EM
VCU 11-2 15
Dayton 11-2 13
Saint Joseph’s 11-2 12
Rhode Island 6-7 9
George Washington  8-5 8
St. Bonaventure 9-4 7
Richmond 6-7 6
Fordham 4-9 5
Davidson 7-6 3
Duquesne 5-8 3
UMass 4-9 -4
George Mason 3-10 -8
Saint Louis 4-9 -11
La Salle 2-11 -17

Offensive efficiency leaders: 
Richmond 111
Davidson 110
VCU 108
George Washington 108
St. Bonaventure 107

Richmond and Davidson have had their struggles, but not due to the offense however. A closer look on defense (which is noted later) is the root of the problems. 

Pace:
Duquesne 75.1
UMASS 74.0
Davidson 73.0
VCU 72.2

Of the 14 Atlantic 10 teams, seven come in at 70 or more possessions. As the season has progressed and we are getting near conference ‘crunch time,’ that is a slight dropoff from a few weeks earlier.

Usage: 
Jack Gibbs, Davidson 34.52
Jordan Price, La Salle 30.93
Trey Davis, UMass 29.96
Terry Allen, Richmond 28.09
T.J. Cline, Richmond 28.05

Only major change is T.J. Cline of Richmond, a junior forward, breaking into the top five.

Expect the unexpected: In the Atlantic 10, yes. St. Bonaventure traveled into the City of Brotherly Love on Wednesday, riding a five-game win streak, to face a La Salle team with one conference victory. Final: La Salle 71, St. Bonaventure 64. The Explorers were guilty of a 26 percent turnover rate, but shooting made up for the sins of the miscues. La Salle posted a 108 efficiency, highlighted by a 58.5 percent eFG percentage. Eleven of their twenty-two attempts from three found the bottom of the net. The Bonnies picked a poor time for a very subpar 91 efficiency that contributed to the defeat.  

On the subject of turnovers, every Atlantic 10 team is under the cutoff of 20% percent. The best at caring for the ball are:
TO rate
Davidson 13.4
Saint Joseph’s 13.7
Richmond 14.4

Care for the ball, efficient offense, Richmond’s woes continue as previously noted, due to a defense allowing a 105 defensive efficiency. Only Davidson (107) and La Salle (111) show lower marks. 

Rhode Island has a respectable offense. Dan Hurley’s club defends with a tidy 95 defensive efficiency. What is the problem? Sometimes the numbers do not tell all. A little help from Lady Luck could be used. Five of the Rams’ seven A-10 defeats have been by five points or less.  Offensive inconsistency is evident. Consecutive losses to Saint Joseph’s and UMass saw their offensive efficiency fail to get out of the seventies. They followed that up with wins over La Salle and George Mason, where the efficiency was over 120. Next came setbacks to Dayton and VCU, with respective efficiencies of 98 and 90. During that stretch, the only team to ring up the century mark efficiency-wise, against the Rams, was 117. Keeping teams under 100 efficiency gives your team a legitimate chance to win. If  your offense is like the stock market, that’s another story.

Most deliberate:
Rhode Island 66.7
La Salle 67.7
George Mason 68.6

Interestingly, none of these teams is over .500. This is not an indictment on a moderate to slower tempo. Just a reminder pace plays just one part in the total composition of a team.

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