Binghamton lineup efficiencies through 11 games

Name Binghamton’s most productive offensive lineup this season. Reflect on the games you have seen the Bearcats play, and take a second.

I would surmise you guessed the group of Yosef Yacob, Marlon Beck, Jordan Reed, Magnus Richards and Nick Madray. I expected that, too.

You have seen those five take the floor for nearly twice as many possessions as any other quintet thus far, a disparity that would have been even greater if Yacob’s groin had not incapacitated him for Monday’s game at Buffalo.

But even though that lineup has produced more points per possession (1.02) than the average Binghamton lineup (0.92), it has not been as efficient as one other set of five that has taken the floor together for more than 20 possessions this season.

With Reed at the three, a legitimate America East four in Richards and a non-traditional center in Madray, that group at least approaches the asymptote of a standard mid-major lineup.

But Binghamton has produced points more efficiently when fielding a smaller lineup, with Reed shifting to the four and Rayner Moquete replacing him at the three. The group of Yacob, Beck, Moquete, Reed and Madray, which initially flourished together in the 19-point second-half comeback against Cornell, has scored 80 points in 66.675 possessions (1.20 PPP) through the first 11 games of 2013-14. That’s an impressive scoring rate, especially when you consider Louisville tops Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency ratings with 119.4 points per 100 possessions (of course, “adjusted” is the key word in that sentence, but it’s impressive, nonetheless.).

How do they do it, with Madray as the only player taller than 6-foot-4 (if you believe that Reed is actually 6-foot-4)?

This group has the potential to force opponents to shift out of their comfort zone, assuming the opponent has a more traditional ideal lineup. Madray lures the center towards the perimeter, which affords Reed even more of an advantage on the offensive glass (this lineup grabbed two more rebounds in 48 fewer possessions than the group featuring Richards instead of Moquete.). If a power forward marks Reed in an attempt to hinder his path to the backboard, the sophomore would have an advantage with the ball in his hands.

If the opponent plays zone, Binghamton has two very reliable 3-point shooters in Beck and Madray, an improved marksman in Reed and a pair of capable shooters in Yacob and Moquete who can all score from the perimeter. By extending the zone, the shooters also afford Reed—who, according to hoop-math.com, has taken 47.6 percent of his 126 field goal attempts at the rim—an extra inch of space to attack.

Binghamton’s least efficient offensive lineup has produced 15 points in 22.375 possessions, which would equate to slightly more than 45 points per game. Interestingly, though, it is not all too different than the team’s most efficient squad—just substitute Alex Ogundadegbe for Moquete.

That change pushes Reed to the three and Madray to the four, which generally all but eliminates the aforementioned mismatch.

But having Madray and Ogundadegbe on the floor together has helped defensively, and Binghamton’s most efficient defensive group has been its “big” lineup of Beck—wait for the rest—Moquete, Reed, Madray and Ogundadegbe. That quintet has allowed just 17 points and forced seven turnovers in 29.9 defensive possessions (0.57 PPP and 23.4 TO Rate), equating to almost a full half of play. Only four other Bearcat lineups have taken the floor for more defensive possessions.

Unfortunately for Binghamton, that group has not had as much success on the offensive end, scoring just 0.72 points per possession. Nonetheless, no other lineup has outscored its opponent by a margin greater than this quintet’s 15.5 points per 100 possessions. Next? Yacob, Beck, Moquete, Reed and Madray, who have outscored the opposition by 8.7 points per 100 possessions.

As for the greatest margin in favor of Binghamton’s opponent? That would be 60.7 points per 100 possessions, produced by Yacob, Beck, Reed, Richards and Ogundadegbe through 28.275 possessions.

It should be noted that only two of Binghamton’s lineups have played at least a full game’s worth of possessions, as 11 games provide only a small sample size. But even lineups that have played close to half of a game together can tip us to certain trends.


Just how important is Nick Madray to Binghamton’s offense?

Year two of the Tommy Dempsey era at Binghamton has featured a more potent offense than year one, thanks in large part to the freshman class bolstering sophomore star Jordan Reed.

But freshmen tend to need time to adjust to the pace and style of the college game, and we’ve seen each of the four scholarship frosh struggle at times in this regard. Guards Yosef Yacob and Marlon Beck have had their bouts with turnovers, and Magnus Richards has battled foul trouble and, early in the season, a lack of aggression.

Nick Madray, the fourth and most heralded of the bunch, has displayed the soft shooting touch and NBA range that made him appealing to Syracuse and a handful of other major conference schools. His penchant for picking up a pair of fouls early in games, however, has hampered Binghamton on several occasions.

The latest instance occurred in the Bearcats’ most recent game, an 87-57 loss at Buffalo. With two fouls in the first few minutes, Madray went to the bench and Binghamton had trouble putting points on the board.

“You just have to keep coaching him hard in practice and trying to get him to not foul. It’s not easy,” Dempsey said after the Buffalo game. “[Madray's] a step behind a lot of plays. He’s making some silly fouls at times. We’re playing a lot of minutes without him, a lot of crucial minutes. Sometimes by the time we can get him back on the floor we’ve dug ourselves a significant hole.”

Binghamton has played 471 possessions with Madray on the floor—calculated via Ken Pomeroy’s equation for possessions—and 281 without him. Taking Binghamton’s average of 68.6 possessions per game, the Bearcats have played the equivalent of about 6.9 games with their 6-foot-9 stretch-four and 4.1 games without him. That’s significant, especially after you consider the splits in Binghamton’s efficiency.

Madray affords Binghamton mismatches, as he generally draws either a smaller forward whom he can shoot over or the opponents’ big man whom he can drive by, depending on which lineup Dempsey has in the game. The results show.

With Madray in the game, Binghamton has scored 1.014 points per possession, or 0.092 more points than their season average of 0.922. Without him, however, the Bearcats have scored 0.779 points per possession, .143 points below their season average.

There are, of course, other factors in play, such as the other four Bearcats in the lineup, the opponents’ lineup, who replaces Madray, etc. I’m currently working on calculating efficiencies for each lineup that Dempsey has sent to the hardwood this season, so I’ll have some more answers soon, hopefully. For now, though, it’s easy to conclude that Madray’s presence on the court is vital to Binghamton’s offensive success.


Pipe Dream America East basketball season preview

We produced a 16-page America East season preview at Pipe Dream, and I wanted to aggregate all the stories in one post. Big shout out to Erik Bacharach and Ashley Purdy, my two assistant editors.

Enjoy.

Binghamton features

Madray, BU’s most hyped recruit, ready to prove himself

Reed excited to have deeper surrounding cast

Mansell returns from knee injury, set to lead BU

Beck asked to play with senior mindset

Binghamton commentary

Bearcats don’t need perfection. They need growth.

America East features

Great Danes search for leadership after graduations of Iati and Black

Pikiell, SBU approach post-Brenton era with confidence

Nwakamma looks to lead key returners over hump

Shedding interim tag, Aki Thomas ready to build off promising 2012-13 season

UMass Lowell faces long road to Division I success

With five returning starters and established identity, Vermont eyes championship

New Hampshire looks to Konan, Pelcher for scoring and leadership

America East commentary

Don’t swallow AE coaches’ crap about Maine


America East hoops coaches speak out against transfer rules

On Jan. 28, 2012, then-junior guard Logan Aronhalt scored nine of Albany’s last 14 points to fend off a pesky Hartford team on the road. The Great Danes’ co-captain finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, exceeding his season averages of 14.6 and 4.7, respectively.

But four months later, head coach Will Brown would never again be able to rely on Aronhalt to lead his team. The junior, who had taken a medical redshirt as a true freshman, completed his degree in human biology in May 2012 and chose to exhaust his collegiate eligibility at Maryland in 2012-13 via NCAA bylaw 14.1.9.1, aka the one-time transfer exception.

Under this rule, student-athletes who graduate but have a year of eligibility remaining can transfer and play immediately as long as they enroll in a master’s program not offered by their previous school.

Continue reading here.


America East tourney change the right move

Traditionalist America East basketball fans erupted in outrage Thursday after the conference announced the formatting change to its postseason tournament, a move that grants higher seeds home court advantage in the 2015 and 2016 quarterfinals and semifinals.

The new format has its drawbacks, and I can understand why traditionalists like Sam Perkins of One-Bid Wonders prefer the current tournament setup, where all eight — eventually nine  — teams convene in one spot and everyone, as former Binghamton player Mahmoud Jabbi tweeted, has a “puncher’s chance.”

With the quarterfinals taking place at four different sites, the tournament might just feel like an extension of conference play. We won’t get that tournament feel of every team’s fanbase staying in the same hotels and eating at the same restaurants, discussing the prospects of the next round over dinner.

To continue reading, click here.


John Schurman (’14) verbally commits to Binghamton

With the in-season signing period about two months away, Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey received his third verbal commitment from the class of 2014.

Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop tweeted on Thursday evening that John Schurman of Fayetteville-Manlius High School (Manlius, N.Y.) had given his verbal to Dempsey and the Binghamton men’s basketball team, joining Bobby Ahearn and Justin McFadden in next year’s class.

Schurman, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard and two-time All-CNY selection, drew interest from several Patriot League schools, but he ultimately chose Binghamton over Cornell of the Ivy League.

Continue reading here


Analyzing Binghamton’s non-conference schedule

After weeks of anticipation, the Binghamton athletics department released the Bearcats’ non-conference schedule today. The slate is devoid of cakewalks, but Binghamton should have a decent shot of eclipsing last season’s win total in non-conference play alone.

In my breakdown of the 13 games, I’ll use a simple 1-10 scale for the Bearcats’ chances to win the game, in my opinion. One means no shot. Ten means they can’t lose.

Nov. 8 vs. Loyola Md.: 5

When the Bearcats and Greyhounds met in last season’s opener, Jimmy Patsos’ squad routed Binghamton 71-45. Things have changed since then, though, with Patsos taking the Siena job and several key players graduating.

In last year’s matchup, the Greyhounds held a 35-19 (11-3 offensive) advantage on the glass, but their frontcourt took a significant hit with the graduations of Erik Etherly, Anthony Winbush and Julius Brooks. Jordan Latham will now headline Loyola’s frontline. He’s a bruiser, but the Greyhounds’ frontcourt undoubtedly lacks the punch from last year.

With Dylon Cormier back, Loyola returns its top scorer. But first-year coach G.G. Smith was not lucky enough to inherit Etherly and Bobby Olson, who poured in a combined 28.4 points per game last year.

Nov. 10 @ Brown: 5

In a tightly contested game at the Events Center last year, Brown edged Binghamton 58-49. The Bears return four of their top five scorers, and will be at home this season. But they lost Matt Sullivan to graduation, and Binghamton will have two key players who did not suit up for the prequel: Jordan Reed (suspended) and Rob Mansell (injured).

We’re yet to see how Reed and Mansell will play together, but if all goes as planned, they’ll help the Bearcats score more than 49 points in the rematch.

Nov. 13 @ Cornell: 6

In a true test of character, Binghamton battled back from a 22-point second half deficit but ultimately fell, 79-77, to Cornell last year. Eitan Chemerinski and Johnathan Gray, neither of whom remain with the program, carried the Big Red with a combined 35 points, but All-Ivy selection Shonn Miller returns.

The Bearcats lured a mediocre-shooting Cornell squad into 31 threes, and nearly emerged victorious as Jordan Reed and Rayner Moquete led the second-half surge.

This year, Cornell returns just four of its 10 rotation players, losing its top-two scorers behind Miller.

Nov. 16 vs. Navy: 4

Navy had a young core in 2012-13, and though the Midshipmen won just eight games, almost every player from last year’s squad returns with at least a full season of Division I basketball under their belts. Like Binghamton, Navy was not a prolific scoring team, but still managed to rout the Bearcats 75-52 in November.

Navy preferred a slow pace last season, and Binghamton began to experiment with a faster pace in January and February. Assuming Tommy Dempsey continues to build Binghamton toward the mold of his Rider squads, expect the Bearcats to push the pace in this one to keep the Midshipmen off balance and out of their comfort zone.

More than the game itself, I’m looking forward to hearing some of Navy’s players announced on the Events Center PA system. Thurgood Wynn. Worth Smith. Donya Jackson. Tilman Dunbar, the rising sophomore who really carried the Midshipmen against Binghamton last year.

Nov. 23 vs. Radford: 4

Speaking of great names, Radford has one of its own: Ya Ya Anderson, who inefficiently averaged 8.8 points per game last year. Anderson ranked third on the team in scoring, as Javonte Green and R.J. Price led the squad with a combined 28.2 points per game.

The Highlanders allowed 68.1 points per game, though the fast pace at which they played belied their solid defensive effort. In Mike Jones’ second season at the helm, Radford ranked No. 197 in Kenpom’s adjusted defensive efficiency—far from great, but not bad.

One particular Radford strength that could doom the Bearcats: forcing turnovers. Nearly 22 percent of the Highlanders’ defensive possessions ended in a turnover last year, and Binghamton will play two freshmen at the point as well as Rayner Moquete, who isn’t quick enough with the ball in his hands to consistently dribble out of traps.

Radford won 13 games last year and returns most of its core, so this one won’t be easy for Binghamton. But it’s possible.

Nov. 26 @ St. Peter’s: 6

St. Peter’s lost quite a few key players from last year’s nine-win squad, a team that lost to Binghamton at the Events Center. In that game, Jordan Reed made his home debut and finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds.

The Peacocks are a contender to finish last in a down MAAC this year, so a Binghamton road win is definitely not out of the question, though it could be an ugly, low-scoring affair.

Dec. 1 vs. Colgate: 4

Maine transfer Murphy Burnatowski torched Binghamton for 23 points in 24 minutes to lead Colgate to a 74-47 rout of the Bearcats last December. He will return for 2013-14 along with Pat Moore and Luke Roh, but the Raiders lost a few key players and are not unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination.

Dec. 4 @ Mount St. Mary’s: 3

Despite a mass exodus of players—most notably 2012-13 NEC Rookie of the Year Shivaughn Wiggins—Mount St. Mary’s returns four of its top five scorers from a team that won 18 games a year ago. Binghamton nearly beat the Mountaineers at home last year, but Jordan Reed’s shot at the buzzer was blocked as the Mount held on for a 71-70 win.

The Bearcats struggled with the Mountaineers’ pressure, committing 21 turnovers. Binghamton’s inability to hold on to the ball ultimately proved to be the difference in the game, and handling the pressure will likely be key once again.

Dec. 7 @ Syracuse: 1

There really isn’t much to say about this one. Props to Dempsey for giving his guys another shot at a top team, though. The Bearcats didn’t roll over without a fight in Ann Arbor last year, and Mansell told Lynn Worthy to expect the same at the Carrier Dome.

Dec. 14 @ Monmouth: 6

Monmouth won’t be the same team that beat Binghamton 77-65 at the Events Center last December, as King Rice lost several players to graduation and the transfer wire. Andrew Nicholas is the only returning top-6 scorer from last year’s squad.

Like Mount St. Mary’s, Monmouth applied pressure for 94 feet almost the entire game, which led to 20 Binghamton turnovers—nine of which were charged to Jimmy Gray.

The Hawks move to the MAAC this year, and they don’t have the pieces to contend for a spot in the middle of the pack. Binghamton has a shot here, even on the road.

Dec. 23 @ Buffalo: 3

An underachieving team in 2012-13, Buffalo looks to return to relevancy under Bobby Hurley, who accepted the vacant job this spring. Hurleys tend to win, and the Bulls have the pieces to improve in the former Duke guard’s rookie year at the collegiate level.

Javon McCrea dominated on both ends last year, with 18 points, 7.9 rebounds, two assists, 1.3 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. He’s just one of several upperclassmen set to lead this squad.

Buffalo shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone this year, and stealing a win on the road won’t be easy for Binghamton.

Dec. 28 vs. Bryant: 3

When these two teams squared off last December, Bryant’s Dyami Starks scored 25 points in the first half and the Bulldogs torched the Bearcats with 12 3-pointers on 23 attempts. Binghamton, on the other hand, couldn’t buy a bucket against a rather mediocre defense and fell by 22 points.

Starks as well as Alex Francis return for Bryant, which should once again be a contender in the NEC.

Dec. 31 @ Saint Joseph’s: 2

Saint Joe’s lost two significant players in Carl Jones and C.J. Aiken, but they return every other key player. The Hawks are athletic and versatile. On the road, they’ll pose a daunting challenge that will likely be too large to overcome.


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