Tempo-free NEC: Postponements and Close Losses

The postponements following winter storm Nemo are really messing with the tempo-free numbers. NEC teams already play an unbalanced schedule, but now they’ve also played a varying number of games. As such, the predictive value of these rankings is getting a little hazy.

What isn’t surprising are the top two teams. Robert Morris and LIU Brooklyn have risen to the top after 14 games. Isn’t this where we expected to be?

Fun fact: If you throw out LIU’s two games that were played with less personnel because of the suspensions, the Blackbirds actually have an efficiency margin of 0.12 in their past 12 games. Not only would that be the best in the conference, it would be almost right in line with the mark they were at when LIU won its first league title in 2011.

On the other side of things are the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers. Glenn Braica’s team is fighting for a spot in the NEC tournament due to its struggles in close games. The Terriers are 1-4 in NEC games decided by fewer than four points. At 6-8 SFC is facing a huge week when they host Wagner at home on Thursday night and travel to Mount St. Mary’s. The good news for Braica? His team gets three of their final four games at home. The bad news? One is against surging Quinnipiac.

Tom Moore’s team has won four straight and six of its last seven games. The Bobcats are now 8-5 and while the defense still isn’t great, it has been passable in the past two games. It’ll be interesting to see how that team continues to come together down the stretch.

Tempo-free Standings:

  1. Robert Morris: +0.09
  2. LIU Brooklyn: +0.09
  3. Bryant: +0.07
  4. St. Francis Brooklyn: +0.05
  5. Wagner: +0.05
  6. Quinnipiac: +0.04
  7. Sacred Heart: +0.01
  8. Mount St. Mary’s: +0.01
  9. Central Connecticut: -0.01
  10. Monmouth: -0.08
  11. St. Francis (PA): -0.14
  12. Fairleigh Dickinson: -0.16

I really missed on Monmouth this season, but I feel more and more right about my CCSU preseason prediction every day. Also, I made a bet with Jaden Daly of A Daly Dose of Hoops before the season taking Robert Morris against the field for first place in the regular season and I still feel reasonably good about it.

Best Offenses:

  1. Bryant: 1.14 points scored per possession
  2. LIU: 1.13
  3. Quinnipiac: 1.09
  4. Robert Morris: 1.09

Worst Offenses:

  1. St. Francis (PA): 0.93
  2. Fairleigh Dickinson: 0.94
  3. Monmouth: 0.96
  4. Central Connecticut: 1.04

You have to score to keep up in this league. The defense continues to go away as the season continues. As you’ll see in a moment.

Best Defenses:

  1. St. Francis Brooklyn: 0.99 points allowed per possession
  2. Robert Morris: 1.00
  3. Wagner: 1.00
  4. Sacred Heart: 1.03

Worst Defenses:

  1. Fairleigh Dickinson: 1.10
  2. Bryant: 1.07
  3. St. Francis (PA): 1.07
  4. Quinnipiac: 1.06

I was stunned to see SHU at fourth in the defensive rankings. This is a team that didn’t seem to know what a zone defense was during non-conference play and now they’re the fourth best defensive team in the NEC? I think that tells you about all you need to know about that.

Every team besides two, Monmouth and St. Francis Brooklyn, are within what I consider “normal” luck boundaries of about a game either way in the standings. Because of their record in close games, SFC is under its expected pace by 2.8 games and Monmouth is ahead of its by 1.1 games.

3 Responses to Tempo-free NEC: Postponements and Close Losses

  1. regular guy February 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    as far as SFC is concerned when you two point guards can not shoot a foul shot you can not expect to win any close games. Bracia has not found a consistent rotation even this late in the season, 8 or 9 players still rotated in and out. SFC barely gets any fast break easy baskets during a game, everything is a tortured half court set up offense or a quick three pointer. When everything breaks right SFC is tough otherwise they can lose to St. francis (PA) or twice to Monmouth. Unless SFC lands a bigtime transfer what you see is what you get.

    • Dan From Staten Island February 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Do you think that sometimes the Terriers’ momentum is disrupted by the frequent player rotation? Heard a roundtable discussion earlier in the season among some of the more high-profile coaches in the college game and it seemed like the consensus was that it’s awfully tough to coach a rotation beyond eight players. On-court chemistry is such a fragile thing and team depth can sometimes appear to be both a plus and a minus. In a lot of these games, it appeared that the Terriers were in complete control and on their way to a win, when, all of a sudden, there’s a complete melt-down. Thoughts?

      • regular guy February 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

        when you are on your way to a win, it is the point guards who must carry you there. The SFC point guards can not shot a foul shot or make an outside shot. True both get some assists and make steals but you have to make some shots. Bracia is making substitutions 3 minutes into the game and Douglas is not in the mix. if you watch any of their games notice if they make even one fast break layup. The reason their percentages from the field are so low is becaue they get no easy hoops. If Bracia is going to play 8 or 9 players he should be pressing the entire game and duble teaming at mid court to create so easy buckets. You can’t just set up every possession and sometimes shot the 3 only 10 seconds into the possession. The players appear to be adequate defense players, put them to the test, press the whole game.