Syracuse men’s basketball: can the Orange switch the tempo in one off-season?

Mar 29, 2023 - 2:00 PM
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As Syracuse Orange head Adrian Autry continues his work on the recruiting trail, we continue to watch who he targets to get an idea of how Autry wants to play.

If Autry is set on returning to the “Old Syracuse” style, he’s going to need to build a roster that can defend on the perimeter and get out in transition. An aggressive defense might lead to more points against, but it should also jump-start the offense.

Looking at these adjusted tempo numbers from along with Syracuse’s points per game, you can see that the Orange have been able to score despite the slower pace. And it’s been a slower pace for nearly a decade, as the Orange have been outside the top 100 in the country in the category since 2014-15.

You can also see how the college game has changed. Syracuse’s adjusted tempo in 2009-10 was 68.7 which ranked 59th in the nation. In 2019-20, the Orange’s adjusted tempo was 68.3 which was 179th in the country.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s find to play a slow, grinding style if you’re efficient on both ends of the floor. If you’ve got a young team without a lot of proven scoring, then you might want to generate more opportunities to compensate for some inefficiency.

This year’s Final Four teams don’t play at a fast tempo, but all four rank in the top 25 in either offensive or defensive efficiency on KenPom (UConn is top 15 in both). It might be tough for the Orange to reach that level of efficiency next season, so as Autry builds for the future, playing faster might make Syracuse more competitive.

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