College scoring on historic low pace
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
Get used to horrific halftime scores, like “Miami 19, Maryland 14.”
Scoring is down across all of Division-I men’s college basketball; teams are on pace to score fewer points than any season since 1952, said Ken Pomeroy, a college basketball statistician who runs kenpom.com. According to the NCAA, teams are scoring 68.13 points per game, which is down from 68.73 this time last year, Pomeroy said.
That 68.13 number is expected to drop throughout conference play, likely dipping below last season’s 68.01 end-of-the-season average. Teams scored 63.3 points per game in 1952 and have averaged at least 68.00 points in every season since then except one. (These statistics include points scored against non-Division-I opponents, per NCAA calculations.)
Sluggish offenses have contributed to scores so shocking they’ve remained seared in fans’ minds, like the ‘Canes-Terps score from Sunday night. Some more gems: Arkansas 21, Vanderbilt 11 (half) and Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36 (final).
Coaches aren’t sure what’s causing the drop-off in scoring or these eyesores. Could it be the exodus of players to the NBA draft, leaving rosters of inexperienced underclassmen and less developed offenses?
“No question,” said former Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio, who now broadcast games for ESPN. “If the guys who were underclassmen at North Carolina were there — Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall — trust me, they’re scoring more points. Vanderbilt scored 33 points against Marist earlier this season. They scored 33 points on Saturday. Trust me, if they had John Jenkins back, they’d be scoring more points.
“Those players leaving for the NBA, those better players, that’s hurt point productivity across the entire nation.”
But that can’t be the only explanation. Gaudio volunteers another reason: the pace of play. The fastest teams, according to kenpom.com, are DePaul, UAB and Florida A&M. “They’re all nondescript teams, and I don’t mean to offend anyone,” Gaudio said. He recalls his days as an assistant at Xavier in the late ’80s — 116-113 final scores and lots of possession. Now, Gaudio sees teams slowing down the game, taking a shot then send five guys back on defense, taking away fast break opportunities. Less easy baskets, … [For more on Men's basketball scoring on historic low pace, click here.]