Tempo-Free MAAC: The Conference Restart

Another full weekend of MAAC play is in the books and now we have four games to evaluate potential contenders. After Quinnipiac’s convincing victory over Iona at home on Monday night it appears we have another challenger to add. Here’s how efficiency margin sees the league at the moment.

Efficiency Margin Standings (Points Scored Per Possession – Points Allowed Per Possession):

  1. Manhattan: +0.20
  2. Canisius: +0.12
  3. Iona: +0.11
  4. Quinnipiac: +0.07
  5. Siena: +0.03
  6. Rider: +0.02
  7. Marist: +0.01
  8. Monmouth: -0.10
  9. Niagara: -0.12
  10. Saint Peter’s: -0.14
  11. Fairfield: -0.21

Even before Siena took out Rider at home things didn’t look good for the Broncs. They were playing a lot of close games at home and when forced to go on the road Kevin Baggett’s team was exposed a little bit. Another team that struggled on the road? Iona. The Gaels’ tough loss at QU dropped them from first to third. Despite the win the Bobcats look like the best of the second tier rather than a true contender at the moment, but thanks to the MAAC’s true round-robin format we’ll know for sure by the end of the season.

Top Offenses:

  1. Quinnipiac: 1.21 points per possession
  2. Iona: 1.21
  3. Canisius: 1.18
  4. Rider: 1.08

Worst Offenses:

  1. Fairfield: 0.92 points per possession
  2. Saint Peter’s: 0.94
  3. Monmouth: 1.00
  4. Marist: 1.03

If you were to just look at field goal percentage the Bobcats wouldn’t look like the MAAC’s best offense, but right now they’re absolutely dominating the boards. Coming into the game against the Gaels QU was rebounding 42% of their misses. Then they grabbed 51% against Iona. A lack of turnovers and offensive rebounds is generating many extra possessions and making the QU offense look especially dangerous. Marist’s offense might be a little underrated here. The Red Foxes have scored more than a point per possession in three of their four conference games. On the other hand, Fairfield’s offense has been terrible since their opener against Quinnipiac. The Stags haven’t scored more than 0.89 points per possession since (and that was against Iona).

Top Defenses:

  1. Manhattan: 0.85 points per possession
  2. Siena: 1.01
  3. Marist: 1.02
  4. Canisius: 1.06

Worst Defenses:

  1. Niagara: 1.16 points per possession
  2. Quinnipiac: 1.14
  3. Fairfield: 1.13
  4. Monmouth: 1.10

In case you’re wondering where Iona is on the worst defenses, they’d be next. It’s surprising that QU’s defense is so bad. The reason is though that the Bobcats just don’t force empty possessions. The 7.5% defensive turnover rate is impossible to have over a full season though, so I expect that the Bobcats will get a little better here as the season progresses. Obviously what sets Manhattan apart from the rest of the league is the way the Jaspers guard. No team has scored more than 0.87 points per possession against Manhattan during a MAAC game. This might be partly a factor of the teams Manhattan has played thus far (at Marist, Monmouth, at Saint Peter’s, Fairfield), but even when the Jaspers play QU, Iona and Canisius they have the ability to shut them down to their athletic personnel, depth and system. That defense is why Manhattan was a MAAC contender last season without George Beamon and why the Jaspers are now the team to beat in the league.

Luckiest Teams:

  1. Rider: 0.81 wins above expected
  2. Manhattan: 0.32
  3. Quinnipiac: 0.30
  4. Niagara: 0.10

Unluckiest Teams:

  1. Saint Peter’s: 0.67 wins below expected
  2. Siena: 0.37
  3. Fairfield: 0.35
  4. Canisius: 0.10

There’s nothing particularly egregious here. Unless a team is more than a win above or below expected the league is playing to form. This is basically showing that Saint Peter’s shouldn’t be winless and Rider is the most overrated of the 3-1 teams. Expect both of those situations to be rectified relatively soon. The Broncs have the tough upstate New York weekend coming. SPU’s next two games are pretty difficult (at Fairfield and home for Quinnipiac).

There’s lots to look forward to in league play!