BY JEREMY HOECK
Returning home from a 3-game road trip, the University of South Dakota men’s basketball team will host a pair of Summit League games this week against two drastically different styles.
(This is where the stat nerd in me will really come out).
Among the contrasting styles you could find in the conference, Omaha (which visits Vermillion on Thursday) and Western Illinois on Saturday are close to as polar opposites as it comes.
According to KenPom.com, which breaks down a team’s true offensive and defensive efficiency, Omaha ranks among the best in Division I in adjusted tempo and Western Illinois ranks among the bottom tier.
Adjusted tempo, as described by KenPom, is “an estimate of the tempo (possessions per 40 minutes) a team would have against the team that wants to play at an average D-I tempo.”
Omaha ranks fifth at 74 possessions per game, while Western Illinois ranks 327th. The Coyote men, for reference sank, rank No. 132 at 67.6 possessions.
In short, what that means is that Omaha runs and runs and runs. They push the pace, score quickly and give you plenty of chances to score.
The Mavericks (15-11, 4-6) lead the league — barely — in scoring, at 79.8 points per game, but because of its fast-paced tempo, gives up the most points in the league (73.9).
Western Illinois (9-16, 3-7), meanwhile, has been famously patient on offense under head coach Jim Molinari. In the first meeting, the Coyotes were done in by a 12-point first half deficit.
It’ll be interesting to see how USD fares against those styles at its home court, which has been rather beneficial for the Coyotes — they started with three league wins at the DakotaDome, then dropped a pair of tight battles to North Dakota State and South Dakota State.