Sure, it’s painful when a team loses, especially a team like Iona, which came into the season with such high expectations, but it’s also not the end of the world. Two close losses have brought Iona back to the pack in terms of the season standings, but the Gaels are heads and shoulders above every MAAC team when you take a look at the tempo-free standings.
1. Iona (7-2) — +0.234
2. Manhattan (7-2) — +0.129
3. Loyola (MD) (7-2) — +0.077
4. Fairfield (5-3) — +0.064
5. Rider (4-5) — -0.011
6. Niagara (4-5) — -0.026
7. Siena (4-5) — -0.080
8. St. Peter’s (3-6) — -0.091
9. Marist (2-6) — -0.126
10. Canisius (1-7) — -0.176
Iona isn’t quite doubling the per possession efficiency of its nearest competitor still, but its got a healthy margin over Manhattan. Siena was behind St. Peter’s for a long time, but the Saints’ recent surge has pushed them back into seven place, but they’re not at the same level as Rider or Niagara according to tempo-free metrics.
Best Offense: Iona at 1.186 points per possession
Best Defense: Manhattan at 0.879 points allowed per possession
Worst Offense: Canisius at 0.906 points per posssession
Worst Defense: Marist at 1.107 points allowed per possession
Fastest: Rider at 71.8 possessions per game
Slowest: Loyola (MD) at 64.8 possessions per game
Luckiest: Siena at 1.5 wins above expected
Unluckiest: Iona at 1.3 wins below expected
Each of the top four teams scores over a point per possession, but also allows under a point per possession on defense. Rider and Niagara both score over a point per possession, but their defense hasn’t been good enough to compete with the upper tier in the conference. It’s also interesting that Iona isn’t playing faster. The Gaels are at just 68.8 possessions per game in conference play. That’s the fourth fastest pace in the conference. I’d assume that with so much talent and Scott Machado at point guard the Gaels would want to run, run, run. We’ll see they pick up the tempo and look for more fast break opportunities as conference play continues or if teams will continue to consciously attempt to take that outlet away.