Your pace or mine? One of the keys in a game between teams of differing tempos is the battle of pace. Who can get the opposition into their tempo?
You are an uptempo team facing a slow to moderate paced team. Naturally, you want to get them into your tempo. Conversely, a slower-paced group will want to get the faster-paced opponent to put on the brakes a bit.
To date, these are the possessions per game of ACC teams in conference play.
Florida State 72
NC State 72
North Carolina 72
Wake Forest 72
Boston College 72
Virginia Tech 70
Georgia Tech 70
Notre Dame 68
A pace of 70 or more possessions is labeled “NASCAR” for the uptempo nature of teams playing at that tempo. Mid-to-high sixties is moderate. Under 65 is “walk it up the floor” pace. It’s somewhat of a surprise that Boston College is at a higher rate, which gets back to doing what you are comfortable with pace wise. Also, as noted, opponents that push the ball can impose their will and force you into a higher rate.
Syracuse’s 66-possession average is not a surprise. Attacking that 2-3 of Jim Boeheim & Co. eats time off each possession. Notre Dame may not be running “burn” of a few years back. Whatever offensive changes there are in South Bend, Mike Brey is not one to push it up the floor at full throttle.
Is anyone really surprised at Virginia being the most deliberate in conference?
The numbers are courtesy of kenpom.com. Currently the average tempo in the ACC is 69 possessions per outing. That checks in at 17th among the fifteen conferences. Ten possessions separating the leaders from Virginia may not seem like much. The difference though, is quite significant over the course of a forty-minute game.