2012 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Staring Contest: Colgate at Massachusetts

It's the 2012 NCAA Tournament! Take out the nice napkins and make sure that your kid doesn't have crap all over his face. College Crosse has this all under control, so feel safe, friends. If you missed anything -- and you really shouldn't because you're only hurting yourself if you do -- click this fancy highlighted text to get all caught up.

I'm not going to lie: I am fully prepared for Peter Baum and Will Manny to end human existence with each going off for ten points, shaking hands after the final buzzer, and being beamed up to their alien spacecraft where their people will take them back to Planet ScoreKillAnnihilate, allowing them to be honored for their ambassadorship in embarrassing foreign goalies.

Anyway, here's the heat on Colgate at Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Minutemen: Tournament Six-Seed (THUNDERDOME!, Automatic Qualifier)

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

MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMEN
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 15-0 Clear % 87.50% (12)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 40.88 (1) Opp. Clear % 81.30% (13)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 24.81 (8) Faceoff % 59.00% (6)
Poss. Percentage 53.89% (3) Pace 59.98 (56)
Off. Poss./60 min. 32.36 (34)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 27.63 (1)
Save Percentage 61.65%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.40 (2) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 22.52% (3) Goal Differential +94
Opp. Effective Sht. % 23.36% (3) Shooting % 34.57% (4)
Def. Assist Rate 11.81 (2) Effective Sht. % 35.57% (2)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.19 (61) Assist Rate 26.54 (1)
Man-Down Conversion % 23.08% (5) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.15 (4)
Man-Down Reliance 0.18 (55) EMO Conversion % 23.08% (5)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.28 (5) EMO Reliance 0.15 (13)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.40 (6)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.35 (50)

Colgate Raiders: Unseeded (Patriot, At-Large)

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

COLGATE RAIDERS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 13-3 Clear % 89.49% (5)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 36.80 (3) Opp. Clear % 79.77% (5)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 26.88 (17) Faceoff % 55.27% (13)
Poss. Percentage 51.58% (13) Pace 72.95 (6)
Off. Poss./60 min. 37.50 (3)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 35.44 (49)
Save Percentage 45.26%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.23 (61) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 31.97% (51) Goal Differential +61
Opp. Effective Sht. % 32.68% (50) Shooting % 32.05% (7)
Def. Assist Rate 12.68 (5) Effective Sht. % 32.77% (8)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.07 (5) Assist Rate 20.30 (15)
Man-Down Conversion % 40.00% (43) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.10 (41)
Man-Down Reliance 0.10 (23) EMO Conversion % 50.00% (2)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.28 (4) EMO Reliance 0.13 (23)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.39 (4)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.31 (30)

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

  • Outside of Denver-North Carolina, there isn't a game on the docket this weekend that is going to feature two offensive units as good as Raiders-Minutemen. Saturday afternoon will see nine guys competing against each other that are currently ranked in the top-200 in Total Offensive Value. This makes me want to set off a smoke bomb in excitement like those European soccer fans/criminals. There's just so much value in these offenses: The two teams are in the top-three in adjusted offensive efficiency; they each shoot the ball incredibly well; each team does a nice job sharing the ball, which just makes watching the offense run its stuff a thing of beauty; and they're willing to rifle balls all over the yard every time they generate an offensive possession. It's just flat-out offensive pornography -- certified by the American government as legal -- and the only thing that may take a little shine off the diamond is the somewhat latent contrast in styles: Colgate has, this season, desired to push tempo; only five teams play fewer possessions per 60 minutes of play than Massachusetts. If this thing turns into a rip-roaring 1970's- and 1980's-type game with old school Aerosmith blaring at Garber Field (you know, the good kind of Aerosmith; not the crappy kind that gets used in Armageddon and makes your ears bleed), then this just might be the game of the weekend.
  • Now, after that Declaration of Offense and Independence from the Constraints of Tyrannical Never Shooting the Ball-ing, there is a bit of an issue here: Massachusetts' Tim McCormack holds a 61.7 save percentage; Colgate's Jared Madison is only at 44 percent on the season. If Madison can somehow keep pace with McCormack on Saturday, this sets up well for a back and forth kind of game. (Especially is Colgate can find a way to throw the possession margin in their favor.) Colgate's ability to limit assisted scoring opportunities and generate caused turnovers is going to factor heavily into both Madison's need to make stops and the type of stops he's going to need to make. McCormack, while soaring between the pipes, is going to be exposed to the kind of efficient offense that he has seen, arguably, only once this season (against Hartford) -- the Minutemen's strength of schedule with respect to opposing offenses faced is ranked only 39th nationally. I'm not saying that McCormack has built his resume on smoke and mirrors, but he's going to be looking at an offense that he hasn't really needed to deal with much this season.
  • Neither of these teams have permitted many assisted goals this season on the defensive end; both are doing well sharing the ball in the offensive end. With this kind of tension, I think there are two areas where each team could gain some ground: (1) Colgate exploiting its man-up opportunities; and (2) Massachusetts exploiting some of the Raiders' aggressiveness. No team this year has played in man-down situations more than Massachusetts and opponents are relying heavily (the sixth-most in the country) on such situations to make the scoreboard blink in their favor against the Minutemen. While Colgate hasn't relied heavily on these situations to generate tallies, the Raiders are clicking at a 50 percent rate on the man-up this year; against a goalie stopping more than 60 percent of the shots he's asked to turn away, Colgate is going to need to take advantage of these opportunities. On the other side of this, the Raiders aren't afraid to turn teams over, doing an especially nice job on their ride. With the kind of offensive weapons that Massachusetts has, Manny and Associates, Ltd. are going to need to continue to value the ball and take their shots against some of this aggressiveness (even if they have a proclivity to keep the game under control and not unnecessarily accelerate play). I'm not sure whether Colgate will continue to press on Saturday in order to try and insulate Madison, but if they do Massachusetts is going to need to deal with the issue and try to create some unsettled and preferential scoring opportunities.
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