Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tempo Thursday: January 26, 2017

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

For the record, Dayton is holding the top spot one-third of the way through conference play. Knocking on the door are VCU, Richmond, Rhode Island, La Salle and St. Bonaventure in what is considered a wide-open affair. Dayton lost at UMass. Davidson lost to Fordham at home and defeated VCU, who also lost to Fordham. VCU righted the ship, romping over La Salle. Saint Louis defeated George Mason on the road, who then defeated Richmond at home. All numbers are reflected through January 24, 2017, and are courtesy of KenPom:

1) VCU (+19, 5-2)
2) Rhode Island (+17, 4-2)
3) Dayton (+15, 6-1)
4) St. Bonaventure (+6, 5-2)
5) Richmond (+3, 5-2)
6) Davidson (+3, 3-4)
7) La Salle (+2, 5-2)
8) George Mason (-2, 3-3)
9) UMass (-4, 2-5)
10) Saint Joseph’s (-6, 2-5)
11) Fordham (-8, 3-4)
12) Duquesne (-10, 2-6)
13) George Washington (-12, 2-4)
14) Saint Louis (-24, 1-6)

Offensive efficiency leaders:
1) Rhode Island (117)
2) VCU (111)
3) La Salle (111)
4) St. Bonaventure (108)
5) Richmond (105)

Several teams are still putting up gaudy efficiency numbers. Expect the leaders’ numbers to decrease a bit as conference play wears on. Per KenPom, the conference average efficiency is 102.  

Defensive efficiency leaders:
1) Dayton (86)
2) VCU (92)
3) UMass (99)
4) Saint Joseph’s (99)
5) Rhode Island (100)

Dayton’s lone setback, a 67-55 loss at UMass, saw the Flyers post a tidy 85 defensive efficiency; good enough to win many games, but not good enough when your offense puts up a 70 offensive efficiency as Archie Miller’s club did in this road loss at the Mullins Center.

Fastest pace:
1) UMass (75 possessions per game)
2) George Mason (72)
3) Duquesne (72)
4) Richmond (71)
5) Dayton (70)

You play at the pace you choose. For several years, UMass, under Derek Kellogg has pushed the ball, as has Duquesne with Jim Ferry. Mildly surprising is Chris Mooney’s Richmond team. A Princeton product and advocate of the Princeton offense, Mooney’s Spiders have opened it up pace-wise thus far.

Most deliberate:
1) Saint Louis (64 possessions per game)
2) George Washington (66)
3) Fordham (67)
4) La Salle (68)
5) St. Bonaventure (68)

La Salle and St. Bonaventure are on the cusp of a rapid tempo. Travis Ford of Saint Louis would probably like to speed it up, but he has no choice than to grind it out given the situation he is in.

Turnover rates:
1) Rhode Island (15 percent)
2) Davidson (16)
3) St. Bonaventure (18)
4) Richmond (18)
5) Dayton (18)
6) George Mason (19)
7) Saint Louis (19)
8) Saint Joseph’s (19)
9) Fordham (20)
10) VCU (20)
11) La Salle (20)
12) UMass (20)
13) Duquesne (21)
14) George Washington (23)

Just under half the league is at the 20 percent cutoff for turnover rate. Again, looking at KenPom numbers, the league average is 19 percent. St. Bonaventure is near the top. As noted previously, it wasn’t too long ago that the Bonnies were turnover prone, regularly checking in at the 21-25 percent neighborhood. Interestingly, VCU, one of the best at forcing turnovers, is guilty of committing more than their share on the offensive end.

The leaders in defensive turnover rate:
1) Fordham (24 percent)
2) Dayton (23)
3) VCU (22)
4) St. Bonaventure (21)
5) Rhode Island (20)

These five are the only teams forcing opponents into a 20 percent or higher turnover rate. The Rams are at the top. Not VCU this time, but Fordham, to little surprise as Jeff Neubauer has Fordham forcing turnovers on the defensive end. They have been at it all season. What holds their defense back is a 53 percent effective field goal percentage allowed on that end.   

Games to watch:
Friday, January 27: Dayton at VCU
If one of the players on the floor can’t get up for this one, they need their pulse checked.

Saturday, January 28: St. Bonaventure at Rhode Island
A tough road assignment for Mark Schmidt & Co., one they need if season-long contention is to be realized.
Davidson at Fordham
Bob McKillop’s group lost at home to Fordham. This is one they could use to stay in the hunt.

Wednesday, February 1: Rhode Island at Richmond
The Rams take to the road for a tough test. Not among the tempo leaders, Dan Hurley’s team does not exactly walk it up the floor, playing at a 69-possession pace.   

All-Atlantic 10 (courtesy of KenPom)
Charles Cooke, Dayton
Marquise Moore, George Mason
T.J. Cline, Richmond
Jack Gibbs, Davidson
Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure

Home teams have now won 28 of 48 conference meetings. As of last week, the home record was 19-17. In the space of seven days, the home squads went 9-3. Week to week, we have to see how this plays out. It is evident coaches are imploring their teams to defend the home turf while stealing a few away from home.  

KenPom Top 5 in offensive rating (at least 24 percent of team’s possessions used):
1) Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure (123)
2) Jack Gibbs, Davidson (114)
3) Charles Cooke, Dayton (107)
4) T.J. Cline, Richmond (104)
5) Tyler Cavanaugh, George Washington (103)

Game of note, maybe not the game of the week, but close:
Tuesday, January 24: St. Bonaventure 67, Saint Joseph’s 63
The Bonnies won their third straight, defeating the Hawks at Reilly Center. St. Joe’s led by 13 with 6:33 to play, and appeared in the driver’s seat, only for the Bonnies to close on a 21-4 run as the Hawks did not score another field goal.
Offensive efficiency: St. Bona 103, St. Joe’s 97 (65-possession game).
Key factor: Bonaventure’s 55 percent eFG mark offset the 31-21 St. Joe’s advantage in offensive rebound percentage.

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