ACC Lacrosse Tournament Participant Profile: Duke

Apr 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Duke Blue Devils midfielder Jake Tripucka (7) brings the ball up field against the Syracuse Orange at the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Every Division I tournament. Every team. College Crosse has it all on lockdown. Please send cookies and naptime. Today we're slashing to bits the ACC Tournament.

I wrote it on Monday and, because I have a crippling addiction for of laziness, it probably bears repeating:

The Blue Devils are the weirdest 11-3 team in the history of history. Actually, that isn't fair: Duke is always the weirdest 11-3 team in the history of history every single season. Just when you think that John Danowski won't be able to get his charges heading on an exponential upward trend, the Devils, of course, take a hammer to your brain and make you regret ever doubting Duke's panache for doing exactly what it shouldn't do.

Anyway, here's the heat on Duke.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS: ONE-SEED

For a more complete, mind-bending picture, here's a .pdf of the complete report.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 11-3 (2-1) Clear % 83.60% (26)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 36.00 (7) Opp. Clear % 87.13% (52)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 26.93 (21) Faceoff % 56.93% (10)
Poss. Percentage 50.97% (18) Pace 66.43 (27)
Off. Poss./60 min. 33.86 (24)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 32.57 (32)
Save Percentage 52.5%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.30 (37) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 27.47% (23) Goal Differential +39
Opp. Effective Sht. % 28.46% (24) Shooting % 30.48% (21)
Def. Assist Rate 15.35 (23) Effective Sht. % 31.13% (23)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.13 (50) Assist Rate 17.51 (26)
Man-Down Conversion % 47.37% (51) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.11 (25)
Man-Down Reliance 0.22 (60) EMO Conversion % 21.15% (57)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.24 (40) EMO Reliance 0.07 (57)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.47 (29)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.36 (53)

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

  • As well as Duke plays when it is in deathblow mode -- which is an angry, violent engagement -- there is one huge issue with the Devils that make you wonder if they're actually going to make a run at Memorial Monday: Boneheaded penalties. There are very few teams that actually play man-down more per defensive possession than the Devils (only 11 nationally) and there are even fewer teams that commit more infractions (only seven). What's scary for Duke is that teams are relying on these personnel imbalances to actually generate tallies against that Blue Devils defense: Of the 61 Division I teams, only one -- Holy Cross -- sees their opponents utilize the personnel imbalance more to put the bean in the bucket. While Dan Wigrizer has been playing well as of late, you're asking a lot -- we're talking asking for a Cadillac with an espresso machine installed into the console -- of him to make stops in situations that simply aren't conducive to success. Maryland's man-up unit hasn't lit the world on fire this season, but the Terrapins' offensive specials are stronger than Syracuse's, and the Orange's man-up unit kept Syracuse in the game against the Blue Devils at MetLife Stadium. This could be, again, a Godzilla-like issue for Duke in the ACC Tournament.
  • Facing Duke is kind of like staring down a Gatling gun: You're going to fall, but that barber shop behind you may also get riddled with bullets. There's a nifty interplay here with a couple of metrics: Duke's offense is mercilessly efficient (seventh in the country) but they fire as many shots at and around the cage as anyone (seventh nationally in shots per offensive possession) and convert pretty well in the overall (23rd out of 61). That's really a function of the Blue Devils offense: There's a lot of one-on-one action from the midfield and the attack and while that doesn't create a notable amount of bean sharing (the team's offensive assist rate is pretty average at 17.51 (26th in the country), it still gets the job done. It's an odd mix of volume and efficiency, which shouldn't make a lot of sense on Earth but, hey, 11-3, babycakes.
  • To dovetail that last point, Duke hasn't been relying on man-up situations to get it's goals. In fact, there are only four teams that use the personnel imbalance less than the Devils to get on the board. When a team can get you primarily through the six-on-six or through unsettled situations, that's when you know a defense could be in the danger zone. The Terrapins' defensive unit has been strong this season -- among the nation's 10-best in terms of efficiency -- but they may have their work cut out for them today at Klockner Stadium. Of course, this could all wash out like the first Duke-Maryland meeting of the season (a 10-7 victory for the Terps) and then you could ignore all 800 of these words.

For more on Duke's opponent -- Maryland -- check out the Terrapins' profile here.

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