By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

Dayton and VCU are starting to separate from the pack. Archie Miller’s Flyers completed a sweep with a big win at Rhode Island. VCU survived a scare at George Washington. In quiet fashion, George Mason has moved up and is a team to watch. One-quarter of the season remains. For teams hoping to make a move, the clock is ticking. All efficiency numbers are for conference games only through February 15, and courtesy of KenPom:

1) Dayton (+17, 11-2)

2) VCU (+15, 11-2)

3) Rhode Island (+12, 8-4)

4) Richmond (+3, 9-4)

5) St. Bonaventure (+5, 7-5)

6) George Mason (+3, 8-5)

7) Davidson (+1, 5-7)
8) La Salle (0, 7-5)

9) UMass (-4, 3-9)

10) George Washington (-5, 5-7)

11) Saint Joseph’s (-9, 3-10)

12) Fordham (-10, 4-8)
13) Duquesne (-14, 2-10)

14) Saint Louis (-16, 4-9)

With only two losses in double digits, Davidson; despite a sub-.500 conference ledger, has been competitive in coming up short on occasion, an explanation for a positive efficiency margin and losing conference ledger.

Pace setters:

1) UMass (73 possessions per game)

2) Richmond (73)

3) Duquesne (71)

4) George Mason (70)

5) Rhode Island (70)

Interestingly, these are the only teams playing at the 70-or-more possession pace. Traditionally, when you think Richmond, you think of the Princeton offense. No argument here, as the pace employed by Chris Mooney is working fine.

Most deliberate:

1) Saint Louis (64 possessions per game)

2) George Washington (66)

3) Fordham (67)

4) St. Bonaventure (69)

5) Dayton (69)

The slower pace is working for Travis Ford and the Billikens of late. Saint Louis has won three of their last five, two of four in A-10 play. Dayton, given their defense, is a nightmare for foes. The Flyers do not afford many possessions to get back if you are trailing.

Offensive efficiency leaders:

1) VCU (111)

2) Rhode Island (109)

3) Dayton (109)

4) George Mason (107)
5) La Salle (107)

In the offensive oriented A-10, ten of the fourteen teams are at 100 or better in offensive efficiency.

Turnover rate leaders:

1) Rhode Island (16 percent)

2) Davidson (17)

3) Richmond (17)

4) St. Bonaventure (18)

5) Saint Joseph’s (18)

Among the top five, St. Joe’s is the only team under .500. In total only three teams (La Salle, UMass and Duquesne) are above 20 percent. Part of an efficient offense is not wasting away possessions via turnovers, which is what A-10 teams, for the most part, do not do.

Defensive turnover rate leaders:

1) Fordham (23 percent)

2) St. Bonaventure (22)

3) VCU (21)

4) Dayton (20)

5) Rhode Island (19)

Fordham still holds the top spot, but the Rams of VCU still force turnovers. Of note is the fact that only four teams are forcing opponents into a rate of 20 percent or more. Fordham’s defensive efficiency is 106 due to a 54 percent effective field goal defense, one of the poorest in the league.

A closer look at George Mason: The Patriots, winners of four straight and five of their last six, show an offensive efficiency of 107 against a 104 on the defensive side of the ball. Dave Paulsen is not big on the three-point shot. George Mason is scoring 25 percent from long distance while 53 percent of the points are inside the arc, much closer to the basket. The offensive rebounding percentage is 31 percent. Their opposition checks in at 27 percent, giving the Patriots a plus-four in that category and affording opportunities inside. Marquise Moore, their marquee player, uses 27 percent of the team’s possessions. Moore leads Mason in scoring at 17.5 points per game, and is sixth in the conference in that category.

Game of Note: Dayton 75, Rhode Island 74

The Flyers overcame a six-point halftime deficit to score a huge road win and sweep the two games from the Rams. The efficiencies, Dayton’s 110 and Rhode Island’s 109 were aided by low turnover rates: Dayton at 15 percent, Rhode Island 16 percent. Dayton also enjoyed a plus-five in offensive rebound percentage, a key factor on a night where their overall defense on this night was subpar. Regardless, they accomplished enough overall to secure a big victory.

KenPom’s All-A-10 Team

T.J. Cline, Richmond

Marquise Moore, George Mason

Charles Cooke, Dayton

Jack Gibbs, Davidson

Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure

Games of note:

Friday, February 17: VCU at Richmond

A lot more on the line than just city bragging rights.

Saturday, February 18: Rhode Island at George Mason

The acid test for the Patriots. This would be a great one for Dave Paulsen’s group to get to continue that momentum.

Saint Louis at Fordham

Granted, neither team is a threat to contend, but this is one to watch. It is a good test for the Billikens, who are playing better of late. How well can they handle the conference leaders in defensive turnover rate on their home floor at Rose Hill Gym?


Average efficiency: 104

Tempo: 69 possessions per game

Turnover rate: 19 percent

Home court: 50-37 (.575)

Offensive rebound rate: 28 percent

VCU leads the A-10 with a 35 percent offensive rebound rate. They also pace the conference in free throw rate, at 38 percent. As noted previously, the ability to rebound draws fouls, as second chance points are close and defenders are not in ideal position or stance to contest the shot.

Three-point field goal percentage: 35

The individual leaders beyond the arc:

Kyle Davis, Dayton (58 percent)

Javontae Hawkins, Fordham (49)

Jaire Grayer, George Mason (46)

Jeff Dowtin, Rhode Island (46)

Charles Cooke, Dayton (46)

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