Tempo-free MAAC: The consistent contender

There’s one team in the MAAC that has been fairly consistent this season. It’s not Iona. It’s not Manhattan. It’s Loyola (MD). The Greyhounds have played at about the same level all season as they’ve compiled a 10-2 record to tie the Gaels atop the conference standings. Jimmy Patsos has his team limiting the ups and down and thus limiting the ways they can lose games. Their variance is half of anyone else in the league. (Just don’t ask how the Niagara game happened.)

Is that consistency enough for me to take Loyola (MD) over Iona and Manhattan during the regular season? Probably not. I think the Gaels still have the most talented team by far. Even when they have down games Iona is usually able to pull out victories. What’s most interesting though is that Iona’s inconsistency isn’t related to one side of the ball. The offense struggled at Fairfield and at Siena. The defense struggled against Manhattan and Canisius. One of each cost Iona a win it should’ve otherwise had.

Manhattan’s defense is inconsistent (high variance). I could’ve guessed that without running the numbers. The pressing, trapping style that Steve Masiello’s squad uses is one that necessitates a highly variable range of results. It’s the reason that a team picked eighth in the league is currently third, so I don’t think anyone is complaining.

But the team in the MAAC with the highest variance? Those Rider Broncs. Tommy Dempsey has struggled to find any consistency from his team this season. Rider is 7-6 in conference play after being picked to compete for the title. The Broncs though can’t get into a rhythm. They’ve suffered big losses in conference play to each of the three top contenders, but they’ve also beaten the Jaspers by 11 in Riverdale. If you can figure out Rider you’re smarter than I am.

The thing about the MAAC is that the entire conference is pretty high variance. Outside of Loyola (MD) and Canisius – which is consistently bad – every MAAC team has a chance to win. That’s why after the Manhattan-Iona game both Tim Cluess and Masiello said that those few days in Springfield, MA were going to decide everything. They should be an unpredictable thrill.

Tempo-free Standings:

1. Iona (11-2) — +0.234
2. Manhattan (10-3) — +0.134
3. Loyola (MD) (11-2) — +0.124
4. Fairfield (8-4) — +0.086
5. Rider (7-6) — +0.025
6. Niagara (4-9) — -0.060
7. Siena (5-8) — -0.071
8. St. Peter’s (4-9) — -0.140
9. Marist (3-9) — -0.147
10. Canisius (1-12) —  -0.191

Superlatives:

Best Offense: Iona at 1.19 points per possession
Best Defense: Manhattan at 0.92 points allowed per possession
Worst Offense: St. Peter’s at 0.90 points per possession
Worst Defense: Canisius at 1.13 points allowed per possession
Luckiest: St. Peter’s at 1.9 wins above expected
Unluckiest:  Iona at 1 win below expected

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