The Fastest and Slowest Teams in the 2015 NCAA Tournament
The shot clock in college basketball is 35 seconds, but not every team seems to make the most of that allotment.
That means that there is a big discrepancy between the nation's fastest and slowest teams (Virginia Military Institute and American are the fastest and slowest, respectively, in case you were interested).
VMI averages 80.1 possessions per game, and American averages just 59.0 per game. No matchup will feature teams with such big pace discrepancies in the tournament, but some of the nation's fastest and slowest teams punched tickets to the NCAA Tournament.
Who are they?
The 5 Fastest Teams
1. Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas averages 72.8 possessions per game, which ranks 10th in the nation. That means they're faster than 97.5 percent of the teams in the country. They use the pace to score 78.5 points per game but actually are an efficient offense, too, ranking inside the top 89.6 percentile in the nation. Their Offensive Rating (110.4) ranks 39th in the nation, and their nERD, which identifies the expected point differential against an average opponent on a neutral floor, of 11.93 ranks 24th in the country.
2. BYU Cougars
BYU's nERD of 11.87 isn't far behind Arkansas'. In fact, they rank just behind the Razorbacks at 25th in the country. They actually boast a slight edge in possessions per game at 73.0, but when adjusted, their pace is just slower than Arkansas.
They're faster than 96.2 percent of schools in the country, and their Offensive Rating of 116.9 is seventh in the country. Based on our math, their offense is more potent than 98.5 percent of the nation, and they score 81.8 points per game, second-best in the country.
3. LSU Tigers
The second SEC school on the list, LSU, plays at a torrid pace. They play faster than 95.6 percent of schools, but they aren't quite as efficient as either Arkansas or BYU. LSU scores 73.7 points per game, 34th in the nation. Their Offensive Rating is just 103.3, though, and that's only 162nd in the nation. Their offense ranks in the 55.8th percentile.
Their defense is much better and ranks in the 87.9th percentile. The Tigers boast a Defensive Rating of 94.9, which ranks 45th. Because of their good-not-great efficiency, LSU owns a nERD of 9.38, which ranks them as the 43rd-best school in the country.
4. Iowa State Cyclones
Back to the uptempo, offensive-minded squads. Iowa State plays faster than 95.1 percent of schools, and their offensive successes justify it. Their offense ranks better than 95.4 percent of schools, and their 78.4 points per game ranks 11th in the country. Iowa State's Offensive Rating (112.2) is 23rd in the country. Their nERD (15.11) ranks them as the 13th-best overall school in the country, too.
5. North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels are the best team -- based on nERD -- to make the fastest teams list. Their nERD (16.46) ranks ninth in the country, and they play at a faster pace than 94.7 percent of schools. UNC Sees 71.9 possessions per game (16th in the country) and scores 77.9 points per game (14th). Their Offensive Rating isn't quite as nice, but at 111.4, they rank 28th. With a Defensive Rating of 97.8, they're a top-100 squad (93rd, precisely), and according to our math, they're better than 77.2 percent of schools in the country on defense.
The 5 Slowest Teams
1. Northern Iowa Panthers
There might be something to slowing down the pace, as four of the eight slowest schools, according to our math, are tournament-bound.
The second-slowest squad in the nation, Northern Iowa, will likely be a popular "sleeper" pick. Based on points per game, they might seem like a bad offense, scoring just 59.7 points per game (349th among 351 schools).
However, their Offensive Rating (112.0) ranks 25th in the country, and our math suggests they're better than 92.9 percent of schools. Their nERD (11.51) ranks 27th in the country, so Northern Iowa is not a bad pumpkin to hitch your mice to and hope they turn into a Cinderella.
2. Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia is the fourth-slowest team in the country, per our calculations, and they see just 60.2 possessions per game, 348th in the country. With a Defensive Rating of 86.1, they're second only to Kentucky (83.1) in the country.
They have an efficient offense, too, as their Offensive Rating (110.9) ranks 34th in the country. With an offense better than 90.9 percent of the country and a defense better than 99.8 percent, Virginia has a nERD of 18.39, sixth best in the nation.
3. Wisconsin Badgers
Despite having an elite offense, Wisconsin prefers to slow things down to the tune of just 60.8 possessions (346th in the country). In terms of points per game (71.6), they seem little more than solid on offense, ranking 55th, but their Offensive Rating of 120.3 is third-best in the nation. Their Defensive Rating of 93.6 actually ranks 29th, so they have elite ranks on both sides of the ball. It's no surprise, then, that their nERD of 20.07 is third in the country.
4. Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati also ranks inside the bottom eight in pace, but they surely aren't as well-rounded as the three other tournament-bound teams who are slower than they are. Their Defensive Rating of 92.0 is 14th in the nation, and their defense ranks in the 96th percentile.
On offense, though, they manage just 62.4 points per contest and don't have the efficiency that the other squads possess. Their Offensive Rating (103.8) ranks 144th, and they're in the 62nd percentile in offense, per our math. With a nERD of 8.76, they rank just 51st in the country, but their defense could cause problems for their opponents if their offense stays afloat.
5. Albany Great Danes
Albany is a feel-good story like few others, and after starting the year 2-6, the team locked up a ticket to the big dance on an emotional buzzer-beater by Peter Hooley. The Great Danes are 22-2 in their last 24. They have momentum, but they don't have tempo.
With an average of 63.0 possessions per game, Albany ranks 332nd in the country and are faster than just 7.7 percent of schools. They're steadily above average on both offense and defense, ranking in the 75.6th percentile and 70.9th, respectively. Their Defensive Rating (98.0) ranks 98th, and their Offensive Rating (106.6) ranks 85th. Overall, though, their nERD (1.46) suggests they're just the 146th best team in the nation.