The Myth of Tempo

Analysts (and some coaches) talk about tempo all the time. We’ve got to speed them up … or slow them down. It would take someone a lot smarter than me to determine whether dictating tempo really has a significant impact on Ws and Ls. But I do find it interesting that our 4 slowest games of the year are:

UT Arlington

Those are 4 of our best wins. In fact, other than @ Tennessee, those may be our 4 best wins.

Probably no point here other than that I think there is a disconnect sometimes between what we think is important and what is actually important.

The tempo or trying to speed people up has cost the hogs games this season. Layups and dunks easy points to the opponent. Florida, Miss ST and Kentucky. You can’t give up points and speed teams up that can out quick you! At times half court defense when they decide to play defense is the best option. The other big issue giving up fouls that lead to points. The free throw line is where you we get beat. Look at how many free throw Kentucky had opposed to what we shot! Stop the fouling 40 feet from the basket. This team has talent but they have to put it together and play as a team.

Tempo is not necessarily getting 80 shots a game. It can be just getting the opponents to play faster than they would prefer. I think in the case of UH and VU we were able to get them to play faster than they would like, particularly late in the game at Vandy. A&M kept it slow and we won anyway. The Ags average 65 possessions per game; we had 67 possessions. Vandy averages 66. Houston averages 65.

But in the process of speeding people up beyond their comfort zone (which worked very well Tuesday night), you will give up some layups. It happens. Bama got a few. Bama also got frazzled by our pressure. Mission accomplished. When we fail is when the pressure is not that intense, like at OSU.

UTA actually is not a slowdown team; they average 71 possessions (so do we). We got 69 possessions against them, so it wasn’t really a slow game. We didn’t shoot very well, so we didn’t score a lot of points, but the tempo was close to what both teams would prefer. Looking at the box score. there were a lot of offensive rebounds on both sides, which reduces the number of possessions.