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 America East Tournament.
As I mentioned previously, I'm an idiot and thought that the America East Tournament started on Thursday instead of today. I'm a bum.
Anyway, here's the heat on the America East, all squished together due to complete and total incompetency. (Nobody alert the blogging authorities. I need to keep this no-pay job for various important reasons (read: the chicks).)
Stony Brook Seawolves: One-Seed
UMBC Retrievers: Two-Seed
Albany Great Danes: Three-Seed
Hartford Hawks: Four-Seed
Three pieces of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:
- Hartford is a bit of a hidden offensive gem, rolling with one of the most destructive units in the country. While the Hawks' defense has been a treacherous fool for the team in terms of getting victories -- you know, the entire purpose of the game -- the Hartford offense hasn't missed a beat all season. I detailed a bit of Hartford's offensive unity in a previous piece, but this fact still remains: Until the Hawks' defense -- including keeper Scott Bement who only holds a 49.3 save percentage -- starts making stops (or at least stops letting opposing offenses dice them up), Hartford is going to struggle. What really exacerbates the issue is that Hartford has, on the season, played in a possession deficit, seeing about one more defensive possession per 60 minutes of play than offensive possessions. The Hawks' defense needs insulation, not exposition, and if the Hawks continue to struggle at the dot -- Hartford is only winning about 46 percent of its draws as a team -- there isn't going to be much more road to travel for the club. Of course, this is the America East, in which breathing and everyone wearing the same uniform can get you wins. So, keep on keepin' on, Hawks.
- Outside of Hartford, there is one team with a positive adjusted efficiency margin on the year -- Stony Brook. And the Seawolves aren't exactly a crushing force of dominance that only a multi-national treaty can stop. The offense, much like Hartford, is the heart of Stony Brook's victory formula, although unlike the Hawks the Seawolves get a bit better production from their defense. Where Stony Brook sees struggles is that it just can't give its offense enough opportunities to try and roll opponents under. On the year, Stony Brook is playing about four fewer offensive possessions against defensive possessions per 60 minutes of play, which puts the Seawolves in the bottom three in the country in the possessions per game margin metric. So, while the offense is pretty good, they just don't get all that many opportunities to can the bean. (And when they do can the bean, it tends to be in a personnel imbalance, which is another story for another day.) If Stony Brook can improve just a little bit at the dot (only one team in the country is drawing worse than the Seawolves this year), that possession margin can move in the right direction, taking the pressure off of a somewhat dicey defense and allowing Stony Brook to promote their offensive wishes.
- Here's why Albany is going to be in every America East game that they play: They have on their roster Joe Resetarits and approximately every Thompson ever born in the greater New York State area. Here's why Albany lost seven consecutive games to start the season and traded wins and losses in the America East: They are allergic to defense. Entering the season, Albany looked like a sexy pick to win the league. (Oh, la la!) Then, it all came into focus -- There just isn't a capability to stop opposing offenses. The goalie situation is bordering on a tire fire, opponents are tearing them apart with assisted goals, teams don't need many shots per possession because they're canning the bean at such an efficient rate, and the team is having all kinds of trouble generating turnovers. To compound all of these issues, Albany -- like seemingly every other team in the America East Tournament -- is playing at a possession margin deficit, seeing about four more defensive possessions per 60 minutes of play than offensive possessions. Again, though, this is the America East, where logic and reason dies a death of cruel inconsistency; the Great Danes, despite their flaws, are as flawed as their opponents and, therefore, fully capable of earning an NCAA Tournament auto-bid.
- UMBC is a team and probably wouldn't exist if they weren't in an extra-man opportunity, like, all the damn time. The Retrievers rely on the personnel imbalance more than 89 percent of the country and play with the extra attacker more than 93 percent of all of Division I. Without these opportunities, in which UMBC converts about 41 percent of the time, the Retrievers would likely be on Planet Sunshine, enjoying May and wondering when their ship will return for the 2013 season. And yet, because the America East hates your brain and wants to assault it with anger, the Retrievers enter the postseason tournament in the second position, poised to make you cringe at your television during the NCAA Tournament.