Tempo-free MAAC: All the Graphs (Well 3)

Instead of a long preamble about how Fairfield is the best team in the league according to efficiency margin I want to do something different this week. Here are the conference play fortunes of the three teams at the top of the tempo-free standings presented in a graphical format. Might do this next week after BracketBusters for another set too since the numbers won’t change.

First up is Fairfield:

Both Fairfield's offense and defense have been moving in the right direction as MAAC play has continued.

Both Fairfield’s offense and defense have been moving in the right direction as MAAC play has continued.

Next up is league leader Niagara, who has seen its offense tail off recently, though much of that can be attributed to being without Antoine Mason for the past four games.

Niagara's offense is falling back towards its defense as conference play continues.

Niagara’s offense is falling back towards its defense as conference play continues.

And here is a great depiction of just how steady Loyola (MD) has been all season.

A calm separation constantly throughout the season for the Greyhounds.

A calm separation constantly throughout the season for the Greyhounds.

According to efficiency margin these three teams are the best in the MAAC. I wouldn’t argue against any of them being a favorite to win the title in Springfield (assuming Niagara gets healthy). There’s one big weekend left.

Here are the tempo-free MAAC standings through 16 conference games:

  1. Fairfield: +0.07
  2. Loyola (MD): +0.07
  3. Niagara: +0.07
  4. Canisius: +0.06
  5. Iona: +0.06
  6. Manhattan: +0.04
  7. Rider: +0.02
  8. Marist: -0.10
  9. St. Peter’s: -0.14
  10. Siena: -0.16

The separation between first and seventh in the standings is negligible. This is about wide open as things get – well unless you’re the Pac-12.

Best Offenses:

  1. Iona: 1.10 points scored per possession
  2. Canisius: 1.06
  3. Niagara: 1.06

Worst Offenses:

  1. St. Peter’s: 0.89
  2. Siena: 0.91
  3. Marist: 0.96

Best Defenses:

  1. Fairfield: 0.91 points allowed per possession
  2. Manhattan: 0.93
  3. Rider: 0.97

Worst Defenses:

  1. Siena: 1.07
  2. Marist: 1.06
  3. Iona: 1.05

The parity across the league has created a number of close games. As such the luck rankings are much more interesting than somewhere like the NEC. Especially the unlucky ones.

Most Unlucky:

  1. Fairfield: 2.3 wins below expected
  2. Manhattan: 2.0
  3. Iona: 1.3

I don’t think there’s really anything to explain how particularly unlucky the Stags were early in the season. There’s nothing I can pinpoint in their games that made me particularly worried they’d keep losing close games. On the other hand, Iona certainly worries me. The past few weeks have shown Tim Cluess’ team finding all sorts of ways to lose close games. He compared it to Groundhog Day after losing by two to Fairfield. Iona has clearly underperformed relatively to its tempo-free standings.

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