Monday, May 29, 2017

MAAC Monday: Advanced stat wrapup, Part II

The second installment of a three-part MAAC Monday offseason wrapup continues a summarization of this past Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season from an advanced stat lens. While the first piece of our review focused on tempo and efficiency, this edition will delve further into the Four Factors of college basketball games: Effective field goal percentage, free throw rate, offensive rebound rate, and turnover rate. The final segment of this series will take a closer look at sharing the ball, via assist rates and assist-to-turnover ratios, as well as percentage of shots for and against each of the MAAC's eleven programs. For all three parts of this subject, only the 20-game regular conference season was taken into account; and as always, any and all statistics reflected within MAAC Monday were gleaned from the individual stat pages or final game notes of each school.

Effective field goal percentages, from highest to lowest:
1) Iona (.548)
2) Saint Peter's (.537)
3) Canisius (.525)
4) Monmouth (.514)
5) Fairfield (.511)
6) Rider (.509)
7) Siena (.505)
8) Marist (.499)
9) Niagara (.478)
10) Quinnipiac (.473)
11) Manhattan (.459)

Analysis: The concept behind effective field goal percentage is to reward and encourage three-point shooting. To calculate each team's clip, each three-pointer made by a team counts as an extra half-field goal. In other words, if a team shoots 5-for-10 from the field and makes two three-pointers in that span, its effective field goal percentage is 60 percent, with the two threes counting as, in essence, a sixth field goal. Of the top four teams in this category, three were proficient from long range last season; as Iona (42 percent), Monmouth (39), and Canisius (37) all relied on the deep ball to win a majority of their contests. However, Saint Peter's did as well. The Peacocks shot an astounding 41 percent from beyond the arc in MAAC games last season, not something normally seen from a John Dunne team; but with four players possessing percentages of 40 percent or better from distance, including a staggering 56 percent clip from Cavon Baker and 48 percent from fellow reserve Sam Idowu, the efficient and fundamentally sound brand in Jersey City was able to parlay its added marksmanship into a Postseason Tournament championship.

Defensive effective field goal percentages, from lowest to highest:
1) Monmouth (.464)
2) Saint Peter's (.471)
3) Fairfield (.486)
4) Rider (.494)
5) Siena (.496)
6) Niagara (.506)
7) Marist (.513)
8) Iona (.5132)
9) Quinnipiac (.522)
10) Manhattan (.536)
11) Canisius (.554)

Analysis: Canisius' run-and-gun stylings came back to hurt them on the defensive end, as they allowed MAAC opponents to shoot 49 percent against them. Oddly enough, the Golden Griffins ranked sixth in the league in three-point field goal percentage defense, so their downfall was more a byproduct of giving up smart shots inside the paint. In the case of Manhattan, though, the opposite rings true. The Jaspers conceded a league-high 42 percent from behind the line, something Steve Masiello will be adamant about correcting this season with a senior-laden roster returning to Riverdale in a year where the former back-to-back champions will be projected toward the top of the conference as they look to win a third title in five seasons.

Free throw rates, from highest to lowest:
1) Marist (41.4 percent)
2) Monmouth (40.9)
3) Manhattan (40.0)
4) Rider (37.8)
5) Siena (37.1)
6) Quinnipiac (34.0)
7) Iona (32.8)
8) Niagara (31.5)
9) Canisius (30.1)
10) Saint Peter's (30.0)
11) Fairfield (26.1)

Analysis: The casual MAAC fan would certainly not expect Marist to lead the conference in getting to the foul line, but the tendency to do just that kept the Red Foxes from seeing their season spiral out of control. Khallid Hart and Brian Parker proved indispensable in their ability to draw fouls, accounting for 53.6 percent of Marist's free throw attempts in league games.

Offensive rebound rates, from highest to lowest:
1) Quinnipiac (35.4 percent)
2) Siena (32.8)
3) Canisius (32.6)
4) Manhattan (31.8)
5) Rider (31.1)
6) Niagara (29.0)
7) Monmouth (28.3)
8) Iona (26.2)
9) Saint Peter's (25.2)
10) Fairfield (23.0)
11) Marist (21.6)

Analysis: As the Led Zeppelin classic "Ten Years Gone" begins, "then, as it was; then again, it will be." The usual suspects at the top of the chart reprised their spots once again, with Quinnipiac, Siena and Canisius using their size advantage to crash the glass, while Manhattan cleaned up a majority of their missed shots to extend possessions. The surprising outlier here is Fairfield. Although the Stags had one of the MAAC's leading rebounders in Amadou Sidibe, as well as Curtis Cobb and Jonathan Kasibabu each averaging nearly five boards per game, Sydney Johnson's team was unable to convert on the offensive glass when it mattered most. Fortunately for Fairfield, a positive assist-to-turnover ratio was able to overcome the gap more often than not.

Turnover rates, from lowest to highest:
1) Monmouth (16.6 percent)
2) Iona (16.77)
3) Canisius (16.78)
4) Saint Peter's (17.0)
5) Marist (17.4)
6) Fairfield (17.5)
7) Quinnipiac (17.8)
8) Niagara (18.1)
9) Rider (19.6)
10) Manhattan (20.0)
11) Siena (20.4)

Defensive turnover rates, from highest to lowest:
1) Canisius (22.0 percent)
2) Saint Peter's (21.1)
3) Manhattan (19.8)
4) Monmouth (19.3)
5) Rider (18.1)
6) Iona (17.3)
7) Siena (17.1)
8) Fairfield (16.4)
9) Niagara (16.1)
10) Quinnipiac (15.9)
11) Marist (15.2)

Analysis: For the most part, each team lived up to their expectations in terms of handling the basketball and causing takeaways on the defensive end. The big difference is Canisius' conference leading plus-5.22 percent margin in turnover rates. One thing Reggie Witherspoon did not get enough credit for was his ability to turn the Griffs into a ball-hawking nightmare of a defensive unit, something that was masked by the high point totals given up. Looking further into the statistics and box scores, Canisius averaged seven steals per game, second only to Saint Peter's. What distinguishes them from the Peacocks is this: Whereas Saint Peter's defense was driven primarily by senior guards Trevis Wyche and Chazz Patterson, the latter of whom was recognized as the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Canisius' exploits were more of a team-centric focus. Seven Griffs averaged at least one theft per contest in MAAC play, led by freshman Isaiah Reese, who recorded 31 steals in the conference season. Now entering his sophomore year and a candidate to break out after Kassius Robertson and Kiefer Douse are no longer overshadowing him, Reese will be a weapon to watch on the perimeter this season in what will be an intriguing campaign in Buffalo.

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