BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 29: Cornell Big Red fans look on before game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2010 NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Semifinal Championship game on May 29, 2010 at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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 Ivy League Tournament.
Well, this piece should piss off everyone from Providence to Princeton: The Ivy League Tournament is getting the truncated team profile treatment. The Ivy League doesn't deserve this. (I know.) The reality of the situation, though, is that 4,000 words about each of the conference's postseason participants just isn't going to happen today. My head is appropriatley hung and I will sit in a penalty box for two minutes and feel shame.
Anyway, here's the heat on the Ivy League.
Princeton Tigers: One-Seed
La Universidad Corntes: Two-Seed
Yale Bulldogs: Three-Seed
Brown Bears: Four-Seed
Four pieces of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:
- One of the great revelations from 2012 is that Princeton -- yes, that Princeton -- has been an offensive dynamo this year. Tom Schreiber has been a Panzer tank all season, serving as the hub to the Tigers' offense (which is currently ranked sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency). While Schreiber's contributions this season have been of the nature involving hot saws and piles of flapjacks -- the guy manages to produce despite having the constant attention of the opposing defense -- it's just not the Tom Schreiber Show with Special Guests: Only four teams generate tallies more through the helper and, as a team, this is one of the most accurate units in the country. The really scary part of this offense is that it doesn't rely at all on extra-man situations to generate tallies. The Tigers come at you in waves -- Schreiber, Capretta, Froccaro, etc. -- and if they happen to not get the job done, well, there's Chad Wiedmaier, John Cunningham, and Tyler Fiorito (who has been a horse throughout Ivy play) sitting on the other end of the field to end dreams with soul-crushing force.
- Andrew West and A.J. Fiore haven't exactly had the strongest seasons for Cornell this year (each are only saving about half of the shots that they're asked to turn away (Fiore in limited minutes)), but this is, generally, a pretty good defensive Red team. They hang around the top-third of the country in all relevant defensive metrics, but the unit has done a pretty nice job at pulling its own weight this year. Where Cornell is dangerous, as in previous season, is when they possess the bean. On the year, the Big Red are playing about 3.5 more offensive possessions against defensive possessions per 60 minutes of play than their opponents. This has allowed Cornell to generate about 1.3 extra goals per game against the opposition, creating a 2.3 goal spread on the scoreboard on a 100-possession basis. The stronger the play they get out of Doug Tesoriero at the dot, the stronger the opportunities that the Red has at cushioning a lead or clawing back into a game given the relative efficiencies between each end of Cornell's field. This isn't an elite shooting team, nor does it share the ball at an especially notable rate, so increased and maximized possessions -- often through individual effort -- are a key for the Big Red if they look to move through the Ivy League Tournament in 2012.
- I'm not exactly sure how Yale has gone on a seven-game unbeaten streak and yet, here we are. The Bulldogs aren't a team that does anything especially well with the exception of limiting shots and assisted scoring opportunities in the defensive end. This is a key for Yale as they really need to insulate their keeper(s) as they aren't getting a heck of a lot of ball stopping between the pipes (which is what is really killing the team's overall defensive shooting percentage). As a result (and which has been the Elis storyline all season), Yale will lean heavily on Dylan Levings to dominate the dot and tip the possession game to the Bulldogs' favor (Yale is plus-five in possession margin). If Yale can accomplish this against Cornell, two things happen: (1) The Elis can insulate their defense; and (2) The Bulldogs' offense -- which has relied on volume all season -- can get all the possession opportunities it needs to make the scoreboard twinkle. This is a dangerous Yale team when all the pieces fall into place, but if they don't, the Bulldogs could be staring at a difficult situation.
- Brown is in the Ivy League postseason for one reason: The Bears' level of pants crapping was less than Harvard's. There's nothing wrong with that; it doesn't matter how you reach the destination, it's just that you actually get there that's important. Unfortunately, Bruno is staring at an end-of-days scenario today against Princeton: The last time that these two teams met, the Tigers weren't interested in screwing around and clobbered the Bears, 13-2. The problem between now and that March 31st game is that the Tigers are actually better right now than they were a month ago. There really isn't much use in peeling apart Brown this year from an analytical standpoint because one fact is ultimately controlling: To advance to the Ivy final, the Bears are going to have to play well above their heads (or Princeton is going to have to have extended instances of brain fart). Brown does excel in an area that Princeton wants to exploit -- limiting and promoting assists -- but Bruno's 12th-ranked defense is going to have its work cut out for it against the Tigers. Then, of course, is the fact that Brown has really struggled this season at putting the ball in the back of the net (a fact that has to have Princeton licking it's chops). All I can say, I guess, is good luck and godspeed.