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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

By Ray Floriani

The Fordham Rams open their Atlantic Ten schedule hosting Temple at the Izod Center tonight. Fordham will play four conference games at the East Rutherford, N.J. based facility and the matchup with the Owls is the opener.
A year ago the Rams were being mentioned for several reasons. Such as a star player exiting and a coaching change in December. Currently, Fordham is in the conversation thanks to an impressive win over St. John’s last month. It was the Red Storm’s most recent loss to date. Moving along, a few numbers to consider:

                          Pace                Offensive Efficiency     Defensive Efficiency
Temple                  67                              102                                   89
Fordham               67                              100                                  102

Both teams are respectable on offense. The defensive side shows a marked contrast. Tom Pecora’s Rams are doing at best, a marginal  job on that end.  A further look shows opposition eFG percentage at 47% and an opposing TO rate of 15%.  Simply, the Rams are a bit too generous to teams shooting from the field while not exerting ball pressure to create turnovers. Forcing mistakes is not solely predicated on full court pressing, turnovers can also be a product of sound half court D.
The Owls’ outstanding defensive efficiency is produced by limiting teams to a 43% eFG mark. The ball pressure is respectable as Fran Dunphy’s club forces a 20% TO rate. Offensively, Temple’s 18% TO rate stands out.  They value the ball and rarely beat themselves, even on a possession to possession basis.
The two teams do a good job of limiting opposition to one shot. Temple’s opposition has a 27% offensive rebound percentage while Fordham checks in at a healthy 28%.

Final Note. Neither team appears to be forcing the pace as the average pace (possessions per game) is identical. Temple just has to come in and execute.  Play their game, the one that made them the class of the conference. Fordham shouldn’t be considered lightly. There is a new mindset on Rose Hill and this is a Ram team that came from twenty points down in the second half to pull out that win over St. John’s.

The Atlantic Ten Conference season is upon us.
-Ray Floriani- 

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