2012 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Staring Contest: Maryland at Lehigh

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 30: Mark White #22 of the Maryland Terrapins hangs his head after losing to the Virginia Cavaliers 9-7 at M&T Bank Stadium on May 30, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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.

Ever wonder what a robot playing boccie against an intelligent alligator would look like? Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, here's the heat on Maryland at Lehigh.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks: Tournament Seven-Seed (Patriot, Automatic Qualifier)

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

LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 13-3 Clear % 86.36% (18)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 33.79 (14) Opp. Clear % 80.00% (6)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 22.81 (4) Faceoff % 48.93% (36)
Poss. Percentage 51.02% (15) Pace 61.25 (52)
Off. Poss./60 min. 31.25 (45)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 30.00 (8)
Save Percentage 58.91%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.33 (21) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 23.14% (4) Goal Differential +62
Opp. Effective Sht. % 23.95% (4) Shooting % 29.58% (26)
Def. Assist Rate 0.14 (10) Effective Sht. % 30.43% (24)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.11 (41) Assist Rate 0.17 (29)
Man-Down Conversion % 32.08% (27) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.09 (46)
Man-Down Reliance 0.16 (53) EMO Conversion % 53.33% (1)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.28 (3) EMO Reliance 0.14 (16)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.41 (10)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.33 (45)

Maryland Terrapins: Unseeded (ACC, At-Large)

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

MARYLAND TERRAPINS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 9-5 Clear % 88.38% (10)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 36.35 (4) Opp. Clear % 87.12% (51)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 24.79 (7) Faceoff % 49.02% (34)
Poss. Percentage 50.24% (27) Pace 59.86 (58)
Off. Poss./60 min. 30.07 (50)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 29.79 (7)
Save Percentage 53.78%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.30 (37) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 26.63% (16) Goal Differential +43
Opp. Effective Sht. % 27.28% (16) Shooting % 31.61% (9)
Def. Assist Rate 0.15 (17) Effective Sht. % 32.34% (9)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.12 (49) Assist Rate 0.21 (11)
Man-Down Conversion % 32.00% (26) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.09 (48)
Man-Down Reliance 0.15 (50) EMO Conversion % 43.24% (10)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.28 (6) EMO Reliance 0.10 (45)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.40 (7)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.33 (40)

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

  • I can say with reasonable certainty that this may be the slowest game of the weekend. Neither team plays a lot of possessions per 60 minutes of play and with gigantic implications on the line -- a trip to the second round, saleable results to recruits, the very fate of human existence hanging in the balance, etc. -- there really isn't any reason that either Maryland or Lehigh are suddenly going to look like the 2006 Virginia Cavaliers. This is just a match up that breeds patience, both in how these offenses are going to react to the opposing defenses and how these offenses operate anyway. That doesn't necessarily mean that this game will be boring; it's just that the game is going to have a pragmatic feel to it.
  • Both the Mountain Hawks and Terrapins do a nice job valuing the ball, but a major focus on Sunday could be which team (if not both) are able to generate turnovers in the defensive end. Maryland has done a lot of its work in causing takeaways outside of its ride, which is kind of unique in Division I these days. Lehigh has relied more on its ride to to generate turnovers, but its defensive scheme -- a web of pain involving hard and committed doubles -- does just as good a job at dislodging the ball from opponent crosses. Each of these teams are efficient in the offensive end (Maryland more so than Lehigh) and each roll with nicely efficient defenses (due in large part to their units' ability to end offensive opportunities with turnovers), and its a tension that is going to need resolution. I don't know whether this is going to be as important as Matt Poillon and Niko Amato standing strong in the net, turning away shots at a high rate, but it is in the conversation as the possession margins that each team plays with isn't all that divergent.
  • The talking point about Lehigh for most of the season has been its conversion rate with the extra-man. (Maryland has been getting this treatment as well, it seems.) Specials are obviously an important part of lacrosse, but I'm not sure it's going to factor strongly into the outcome of this game: Neither team is playing in a personnel imbalance all that much -- either in their favor or against -- and in a patient, plodding game, it doesn't feel like this is suddenly going to become a flag-fest. This actually favors Maryland a little more than Lehigh as the Mountain Hawks have been -- to a degree -- relying on their man-up opportunities to generate tallies (although the reliance isn't dramatically significant). If this game plays even, the Terps may be in a little better position in the overall, but counting out David DiMaria and Dante Fantoni to get it done is foolish given how well they run their two-man game. If the game plays out with one team seeing an advantage in man-up opportunities, it could absolutely change the tone of the contest (opponents have been relying on both Maryland and Lehigh to play man-down to actually score).
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