Big East Lacrosse Tournament Participant Profile: Notre Dame

Apr 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; St. Johns Red Storm long stick midfielder Dillon Ayers (5) defends against Notre Dame Fighting Irish midfield Steve Murphy (16) during the third quarter 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 Big East Tournament.

Don't tell anyone, but I've heard that the military is currently exploring ways to weaponize and deploy Notre Dame's defense. Important scientist-types are currently experimenting with the issue as we speak. America is great, isn't it?

Anyway, here's the heat on Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: One-Seed

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

Record 11-1 (6-0) Clear % 88.84% (9)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 28.49 (39) Opp. Clear % 87.11% (50)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 18.94 (1) Faceoff % 46.05% (44)
Poss. Percentage 50.14% (31) Pace 60.31 (56)
Off. Poss./60 min. 30.23 (51)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 30.07 (9)
Save Percentage 65.8%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.36 (15) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 18.45% (1) Goal Differential +32
Opp. Effective Sht. % 18.58% (1) Shooting % 25.63% (51)
Def. Assist Rate 11.14 (1) Effective Sht. % 25.89% (53)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.08 (8) Assist Rate 13.51 (51)
Man-Down Conversion % 10.71% (1) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.07 (60)
Man-Down Reliance 0.04 (1) EMO Conversion % 23.08% (53)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.20 (38) EMO Reliance 0.06 (60)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.47 (34)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.34 (44)

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

  • From College Crosse's previous profile of the Irish: Notre Dame is the best defensive team in the country. Period. (Disagree? No? Good. I didn't want to smack you in the teeth with a lead pipe.) With big, rangy guys like Stephen O'Hara, Matt Miller, and Kevin Randall, the Irish close defense is constructed like an iron curtain of pure menace. Then, of course, there's the nation's best keeper -- John Kemp -- in between the pipes to clean up any mess that may come his way. Notre Dame is among the nation's top ten (and, in many metrics, among the top five) in every significant defensive statistical category short of "The Offense Just Quit and Went Home Very Frustrated and Sad." It's a testament to the disciplined system that the Irish run and their almost cultish adherence to the method. St. John's isn't necessarily a bad offensive team -- they're pretty much hovering around the national average in many legacy metrics -- but it takes more than an average offensive team to crack Notre Dame's defense; it takes a merciless offensive that even zombie George Patton would have a hard time getting to punch through the scheme.
  • I'll admit it: The Notre Dame offense has improved over the last few weeks. It's still a volumized mess that can't seem to get a lot done either with the extra attacker or in even, six-on-six situations but things are better than the last profile this site published about the Irish on March 28, 2012 -- Raw shooting percentage is up about three percent; overall adjusted offensive efficiency is up around two goals per offensive 100 possessions, good for a 10 position ranking increase; offensive assist rate is up about three helpers per 100 offensive possessions; and shot accuracy relative to opponent saves per defensive possession has dropped pretty significantly. So, things are getting better for the Irish and Jim Marlatt and Sean Rogers are the two bus drivers to this offense. If Notre Dame can continue to get more production out of Westy Hopkins, Ryan Foley, and Max Pfiefer, the Irish become arguably the most dangerous team in Division I considering the fact that no team can beat the Irish's defense.
  • There really isn't much more to write about the Irish. It's just an exercise in vanity to pull apart the Irish defense; the reality is up there in black and white on the metric table and it only takes four seconds of watching that unit perform on the field to realize how much of a crushing force it is and how it drives Notre Dame to victories. I guess the only other thing to note is that the Irish aren't necessarily going to face another team in the Big East Tournament that provides a hard statistical challenge to their title hopes: St. John's doesn't exactly have the offense to roll the Irish under and Notre Dame, as of the last few weeks, has enough offense to crack the Johnnies' defense; Villanova provides offensive issues that can challenge Notre Dame's defense, but the Wildcats may not have enough defense -- especially between the pipes -- given the Irish's recent offensive momentum (especially in the context of what happened during the Syracuse-Notre Dame last Saturday); and Syracuse may not have enough offense to bull itself past the Irish's defense. This tournament is Notre Dame's to lose and if that actually happens, it's because something went horribly sideways.

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

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