Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pace of Play: First Two Rounds

Time to put the old cliche that "games slow down in the NCAA tournament" to the test.

Regular season avg pace of play for all NCAA teams: 66.7
Avg pace of play through NCAA tourney first round: 66.3

So, the games actually slowed down a hair in the first round. HOWEVER...

1. Only five of the Sweet 16 played a pace faster than 66.7 during the season.
2. Not only were 11 of the remaining 16 teams slower than average, but 5 of the 16 were in the slowest 20% of all teams (UCLA, Pitt, SIU, Georgetown, Butler).

Is this small slowdown a result of the tourney setup or merely a result of the types of teams that are in the tourney? Do teams that play slow tend to be better teams or at least advance farther in the NCAA tournament? If we averaged the pace of play of tourney teams, would 66.3 actually be an INCREASE in pace of play for this cohort?

I am sure there are answers out there. Please share. Or maybe I'll find time to run some numbers tomorrow.