Playing Their Way: On American’s Slow Pace

Posted by Ray Curren on December 29th, 2014

American sophomore Charlie Jones was wide open when he got the ball in the right corner in the first half last Tuesday night at Stony Brook, the Eagles’ final non-conference game before beginning defense of their Patriot League title on Wednesday at Bucknell. Of course, “open” can be surprisingly subjective in the college basketball world. And although Jones has started 10 of 12 games this season, made more than 50 percent of his field goal attempts, and didn’t appear to have any immediate impediment to a 15-footer, he faked and kicked the ball back out. After all, there were still 25 seconds left on the shot clock, and by the high standards Mike Brennan and American have set, Jones wasn’t nearly open enough.

Mike Brennan

Mike Brennan, in His Second Year, Already Has a PL Title

Love it or hate it – and opponents usually fall into the latter category – slow and steady won the Patriot League race last season, with the coda coming in a 56-possession masterpiece, a 55-36 Patriot Tournament final win over Boston University in which American only attempted 34 field goals (but made 19). Making the title even more remarkable, American had been picked ninth in the preseason poll with a first-year leader who had no previous head coaching experience.

Even though Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Tony Wroblicky graduated in May, American (7-5) is not going to fool the conference this season, picked by the league coaches to repeat the feat. With another year to implement his Princeton offense, Brennan has responded in kind by playing even slower. The Eagles are dead last (351st) nationally in adjusted tempo, more than a possession better (or worse?) than Wyoming at 350th. They opened the season with a plodding 40-37 near-upset of Temple, and their last two games — a win over Mount St. Mary’s and last week’s loss to Stony Brook — were two of the five slowest games in Division I this season.

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Bracket Prep: American University

Posted by Bennet Hayes on March 13th, 2014

As we move through Championship Week, we’ll continue to bring you short reviews of each of the automatic qualifiers to help you fill out your bracket next week. There’s a brief respite in the auto-bid collection coming before the weekend, but one more automatic berth was earned on Wednesday night. Here’s what you need to know about the most recent bid winner.


American Seized The Patriot League Title In Emphatic Fashion Wednesday Night. Get Your Dancing Shoes Ready, Eagles!

American Seized The Patriot League Title In Emphatic Fashion Wednesday Night. Get Your Dancing Shoes Ready, Eagles!

  • Patriot League Champion (20-12, 16-5)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #135/#100/#125
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +3.9
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #14-#15

Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

  1. American’s victory over Boston University in the Patriot League title game should count as a mild upset, but some might argue that the league’s best team will now be playing in the NCAA Tournament. The Terriers won the regular season title by two games and have a sterling RPI figure of 82, but American is a full 35 slots ahead of BU in Ken Pom’s efficiency ratings. Either would have been one of the better Patriot League representatives in recent years, but in holding BU to just 36 points, it was American and their shutdown defense (49th nationally in defensive efficiency) that carried the day in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »
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