Thursday, January 4, 2018

Atlantic 10 Tempo Thursday: January 4, 2018

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

Those breaking down numbers to identify trends frequently like to utilize small sample sizes. In our latest Tempo Thursday, we have the smallest of samples, one game in Atlantic 10 Conference play. It’s a start, yet needless to say, there will be a number of shifts and changes as the season progresses. As always, all statistics reflected in Tempo Thursday are courtesy of KenPom:

Records and Efficiency Margins
1) La Salle (1-0, +31)
2) St. Bonaventure (1-0, +29)
3) Rhode Island (1-0, +26)
4) VCU (1-0, +20)
5) Richmond (1-0, +17)
6) Duquesne (1-0, +13)
7) George Washington (1-0, +9)
8) Saint Joseph's (0-1, -9)
9) Dayton (0-1, -13)
10) Davidson (0-1, -17)
11) Fordham (0-1, -20)
12) George Mason (0-1, -26)
13) UMass (0-1, -29)
14) Saint Louis (0-1, -31)

Offensive Efficiency Leaders
1) St. Bonaventure (140)
2) VCU (116)
3) Rhode Island (114)
4) La Salle (113)
5) UMass (111)

Although on the short side of a 98-78 decision at St. Bonaventure, UMass rang up a healthy offensive efficiency. Defense for the Minutemen, however, was another issue.

Defensive Efficiency Leaders
1) La Salle (82)
2) Rhode Island (88)
3) Richmond (91)
4) George Washington (93)
5) Duquesne (95)

Richmond’s opener provided a surprise and much-needed boost following a dreadful non-conference performance. A 69-58 victory over visiting Davidson was largely due to defense. The Spiders did not turn the Wildcats over, but the difference was rooted in a defense contesting shots and forcing Davidson into a poor shooting performance, making just 43 percent of their two-point field goals and only eight of their 27 three-point attempts. Give Chris Mooney’s defense the credit.

Fastest Pace
1) Saint Louis (73 possessions per game)
2) La Salle (73)
3) Rhode Island (73)
4) George Mason (73)
5) St. Bonaventure (70)
6) UMass (70)

In their meeting in the City of Brotherly Love, Saint Louis wound up being forced into the faster pace set by La Salle. Back in November, when the Billikens upset Virginia Tech at Madison Square Garden, head coach Travis Ford said not getting in a track meet with the Hokies was a priority. He likely felt the same about La Salle, but the Explorers imposed their will. 

Slowest Tempo
1) Richmond (64 possessions per game)
2) Davidson (64)
3) Dayton (65)
4) Duquesne (65)
5) VCU (66)
6) Fordham (66)

As noted last time out, Duquesne is enjoying early success by applying the brakes as far as pace is concerned. Coach Keith Dambrot’s Dukes built a good 9-4 non-league record, with their conference opener being a 70-62 triumph over Dayton. It was a Duquesne home game against a Dayton team trying to find its way, yet it must be pointed out how Dambrot’s team established their pace, imposing their will on the game tempo, resulting in a good conference start for a program struggling for quite some time.   

KenPom's All A-10 Team
Jared Terrell, Rhode Island
Peyton Aldridge, Davidson
B.J. Johnson, La Salle
Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure
Justin Tillman, VCU

A-10 Trends
- Through the first weekend of conference play there were no close games, which are defined by KenPom as games decided by four points or less, or any game that requires overtime.

- Average efficiency in A-10 play was 104, while the average tempo stood at a nice 69-possession pace. As the weeks wear on, pace normally slows a bit as teams adjust defensively and have a tendency to get conservative on offense, especially in close games.

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