Checking in on the… MAACPosted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2009
Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The MAAC regular season winds up on Sunday. The conference tournament will begin the latter part of next week in Albany and there is no drama or speculation on the top two seeds, even with Siena visiting Niagara this evening.
We are taking the tempo free look at the MAAC. Only conference games are figured and the EM (efficiency margin) is the vital difference between offensive and defensive points per possession.
- Siena has the total package. The Saints play at the fastest pace and are the most efficient on both the offensive and defensive ends. Fran McCaffrey’s club also has the best turnover rate (17%) in the conference. You can say having the tournament in New York’s capital city gives Siena, located in nearby Loudonville, a significant advantage. Truthfully, they are a tough favorite and would be no matter the site.
- Iona is one of the better defensive teams in the conference. The Gaels are plagued by subpar shooting (46% effective field goal shooting) and a turnover rate of 23%. Add those factors and your offense sputters. The .93 offensive points per possession bears this out.
- Manhattan is in a similar situation as Iona but has been able to stay over .500. The Jaspers defend but their effective field goal percentage (lowest in conference at 44%) and turnover rate (20%) hinders their points per possession.
- Conference pace is 68 possessions on the average. The low sixties are a bit more deliberate. The high sixties hint that you have nights when the two teams walk it up the floor and other nights it’s a track meet. Last season the average pace was 69. Niagara led the way with 74 possessions per game and Fairfield was on the other end with 64 possessions. Fairfield is having another similar campaign pace wise. The Stags are tied with St. Peter’s as the most deliberate teams with 66 possessions per game.
- Having a strong EM bode well last season. Siena faced and defeated Rider in last year’s championship final. The EM’s of the respective teams…
- Siena +.10
- Rider +.13
- St.Peter’s already doubled their MAAC win total of a year ago. Credit improved defense as the Peacocks were a poor 1.04 defensive points per possession a year ago and are under1.00 this season.
- Turnover rate is important but not the only factor. Tempo free observers agree a 20% turnover rate is a cutoff. That number or higher means you are surrendering one fifth of your possessions to errors and careless (sometimes) loss of the ball. A figure under 20% is an acceptable goal. That sub 20% mark helps but doesn’t guarantee a winning record. Siena, Niagara and Rider are on the plus side of the won-loss ledger and are under 20%. Fairfield is also under and checks in at .500. Loyola though is the exception. Jimmy Patsos’ club has a 19% turnover rate but is under.500. Again turnover rate is important but other factors enter as well.