Big City Classic Participant Profile: St. John's

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The Big City Classic is ready to almost / kind of / probably not take over New York City this Sunday as six schools descend upon MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for a massive tripleheader starting at 1:00 P.M. ESPN3 will have the broadcast of the opener and ESPNU will have the last two games of the day. As I need the pageviews and you need the skinny on the participants, College Crosse is going to profile each of this weekend's combatants.

This isn't St. John's first rodeo in the Big City Classic, but unlike last year when I was mildly apoplectic about the Red Storm's inclusion in the field, I'm a little less incensed with their participation in 2012. St. John's has been a nice little story this season -- a novella, if you will, with a hopefully happy ending that involves a lady running in the rain to a man covered in a trench coat and fedora (or something totally different than that) -- and at 5-3 on the year, it's good for the Johnnies to get a little national attention. The problem, of course, is that I'm like everyone else that lives in New York City: if you're going to bring a big event to an area that actually requires me to cross the dreaded Hudson River, I want it to be magical.

I still want Notre Dame-Hofstra in this game. Even though defensive lacrosse that slaps you about the face isn't exactly my first love, I'd even take Notre Dame-Penn State if you can't give me "Huge name-local power." Notre Dame-St. John's is still a game you can miss -- admittedly, you won't do it as openly as Rutgers-St. John's from last season -- but it's at least justifiable given the price mark on tickets.

Anyway, here's the heat on St. John's.

ST. JOHN'S RED STORM (BIG EAST)

As I mentioned, St. John's isn't all that bad this year. The Johnnies are a pretty good team in a pretty good conference. Given Notre Dame's effort against Rutgers this past weekend, there's a chance -- even if it is an itty bitty one -- that the Red Storm shock the Irish.

Here's an abbreviated chart of St. John's production this season. For a more complete, mind-bending picture, here's a .pdf of the complete report.

ST. JOHN'S RED STORM
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 5-3 (1-1) Clear % 82.91% (30)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 28.80 (32) Opp. Clear % 89.12% (56)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 30.18 (37) Faceoff % 54.64% (16)
Poss. Percentage 51.60% (15) Pace 66.38 (32)
Off. Poss./60 min. 34.25 (21)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 32.13 (21)
Save Percentage 55.5%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.37 (7) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 25.93% (13) Goal Differential +3
Opp. Effective Sht. % 26.49% (13) Shooting % 30.30% (23)
Def. Assist Rate 17.12 (37) Effective Sht. % 31.38% (21)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.12 (44) Assist Rate 17.88 (23)
Man-Down Conversion % 32.26% (27) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.13 (10)
Man-Down Reliance 0.13 (36) EMO Conversion % 47.22% (10)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.18 (7) EMO Reliance 0.21 (6)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.45 (17)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.28 (16)

Three pieces of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • St. John's is one of the nation's leaders in possession percentage -- which is super important for very important reasons -- and it's mostly attributable to Jordan Rothman dominating at the dot this season (he's winning draws at over a 55 percent clip). The Johnnies don't clear the ball at a particularly terrific rate -- It's for the Proletariat! -- nor do they drive their ride all that much. So, if Notre Dame expects to close the possession gap on Monday, they're going to really need to focus on staying even at the dot (which the Irish haven't done exceptionally well this season, only seizing about 46 percent of their attempts). A good day from Nick Ossello or Liam O'Connor (that name should come with a pint of Guinness) could spell doom for the local outfit from Queens.
  • The Red Storm's offensive profile is one that is showing heavy reliance on extra-man opportunities to generate tallies (this is indicated through the extra-man opportunity reliance rate). (Connectedly, the team's extra-man opportunity rate (offensive possessions played with a personnel imbalance) is in the top-ten nationally). While this isn't necessarily a bad thing -- especially considering the fact that St. John's is converting at a ridiculously high rate while playing with an extra attacker -- it could be an issue for the Red Storm offense on Sunday: Notre Dame rarely plays man-down situations (the Irish are 10th nationally in man-down rate). Kieran McArdle and Kevin Cernuto -- who are two of the nation's most efficient sophomore offensive players -- are going to need to have a big day in six-on-six scenarios to try and mitigate these circumstances.
  • Yielding shots on the defensive end and letting Jeff Lowman clean up the mess has worked out alright for St. John's this season, but it may be a bit of an issue against the Irish. Only five teams yield more shots per defensive possession than the Red Storm, and with only 18 teams taking more shots per offensive possession than Notre Dame, Lowman could be under fire in the net. Luckily, the Irish shoot as if they are having a seizure, connecting on only 22.71 percent of their attempts this season. If Lowman is asked to make a ton of stops on Sunday and has trouble seeing the ball -- or, rather, the multitude of never-ending balls screaming at him and wildly around the cage -- the Johnnies could be in a bit of trouble.

For more on St. John's opponent -- Notre Dame -- check out the Irish's profile here.

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