NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Yale at (8) Penn State

Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

Everything you need to know about the Bulldogs and Nittany Lions ahead of their first round game.

It's the 2013 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.

From 10,000 Feet

Date and Time: Saturday, 2:30 P.M.
Location: Penn State Lacrosse Field, University Park, Pennsylvania
Broadcast: ESPNU
Game "Fun Factor" Rank: 5th (3.4633)
log5 Victory Probabilities: Yale -- 48.24%; Penn State -- 51.76%

From Right In Front Of Your Face

(8) Penn State Nittany Lions: THUNDERDOME!, At-Large

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 12-4 Clearing Rate 90.09% (7)
Adj. Off. Eff. 31.03 (23) Riding Rate 14.38% (29)
Adj. Def. Eff. 24.23 (6) Faceoff % 56.01% (12)
Adj. Eff. Margin 6.80 (13) Pace 65.62 (38)
Pyth. Win Exp. 68.28% (11) Off. Opps./60 Min. 35.26 (15)
Opps. Margin 4.90 (5) Def. Opps./60 Min. 30.36 (10)
Opps. Ratio 53.74% (5)
DEFENSIVE STATS OFFENSIVE STATS
Save % 61.11% (2) Sht. % 29.95% (19)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 38.24 (15) Opnt. Save % 51.14% (22)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.12 (36) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 31.51 (16)
Opnt. Sht. % 21.79% (3) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.01 (52)
Def. Assist Rate 12.88 (4) Off. Assist Rate 14.26 (51)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 9.41 (15) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 8.63 (54)
EMD Conversion % 34.78% (36) EMO Conversion % 32.65% (40)
EMD Reliance 13.45% (46) EMO Reliance 9.36% (50)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 42.94 (43) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 37.85 (7)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 19.63 (52) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 17.78 (3)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 23.31 (23) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 20.07 (19)

Key

One piece of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • In many ways Penn State is a mirror image of Yale: Each team dominates possession (both in opportunity generation and possession time) and the teams' efficiencies are in virtual lockstep. In games like this, whether one team plays above its head in a particular aspect of play is often the difference between victory and defeat. For the Nittany Lions, that difference may hinge upon Penn State's offense playing with fervor against a stout Yale defense: The stronger that Jack Forster, Shane Sturgis, T.J. Sanders, Tommy LaCrosse, and Nick Dolik come to play, the more the game moves toward the Nittany Lions than the Elis. There are three things that stick out about the Nittany Lions' offensive profile that may build the foundation for a nuclear-powered offensive show for Penn State. First, the Nittany Lions haven't generated a lot of assisted tallies this season; against a Yale defense that is strong with assets -- The Michaels (McCormack and Quinn), Peter Johnson, and Jimmy Craft are as good a foursome as any in the country -- can Penn State win its matchups and beat Eric Natale? Next, Penn State, given Yale's proclivity for playing in man-down postures, may get a notable number of possessions with the personnel imbalance in their favor; will the Nittany Lions take advantage of these situations -- postures that expose Natale and lessen the impact of Yale's overall defensive ability -- and actually convert at a decent rate? Finally, the Bulldogs have done a pretty decent job this season at getting the ball on the ground and corralling loose balls; will Penn State maintain its nationally-relevant rate at not turning the ball over (both through unforced and forced means)? Every possession matters in an opportunity-deflated environment; lost offensive opportunities via a turnover are extra icky in these kinds of situations.

Yale Bulldogs: Ivy, Automatic Qualifier

YALE BULLDOGS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 11-4 Clearing Rate 87.45% (23)
Adj. Off. Eff. 31.98 (19) Riding Rate 15.41% (24)
Adj. Def. Eff. 25.54 (12) Faceoff % 60.68% (5)
Adj. Eff. Margin 6.43 (15) Pace 63.02 (52)
Pyth. Win Exp. 66.74% (15) Off. Opps./60 Min. 33.83 (28)
Opps. Margin 4.64 (6) Def. Opps./60 Min. 29.19 (3)
Opps. Ratio 53.68% (6)
DEFENSIVE STATS OFFENSIVE STATS
Save % 52.92% (31) Sht. % 26.30% (43)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 30.91 (45) Opnt. Save % 51.84% (25)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.01 (17) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 33.14 (30)
Opnt. Sht. % 27.13% (22) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.17 (15)
Def. Assist Rate 15.68 (23) Off. Assist Rate 19.80 (17)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 13.41 (55) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 13.92 (9)
EMD Conversion % 30.51% (21) EMO Conversion % 35.21% (29)
EMD Reliance 14.88% (50) EMO Reliance 15.92% (9)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 54.77 (3) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 44.12 (25)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 25.91 (12) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 23.14 (31)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 28.86 (5) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 20.98 (26)

Key

One piece of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • Faceoff play means more to Yale than it does to Penn State, and the battle between Dylan Levings and Danny Henneghan is going to be huge for the Elis. The Bulldogs generate about 38 percent of their offensive opportunities via a faceoff win; Penn State gets about 34 percent of its opportunities with the bean through a victory on the whistle. This weekend, when offensive opportunities will be at a premium given the strength of each team's defense and the expected tempo of the game (slow to average (but bending toward slow)), whichever team is able to get an advantage at the dot may dictate the momentum of the game. The Bulldogs are going to need these extra offensive possessions generated on the whistle for three reasons: (1) Yale's defense is strong but is slightly less efficient than the unit that Penn State is rolling with (in a game featuring a deflated number of possessions, even a goal or two difference over a 100-opportunity basis can have significant consequences); and (2) Yale's offense is as efficient as what the Lions' have, but the Elis are a bit more turnover prone than Penn State; and (3) The Bulldogs don't clear as well as Penn State does, and the potential loss of functional possessions could hurt Yale in the long run if they don't see Levings dominate at the dot. Levings isn't necessarily the reason that Yale may win or lose on Saturday (let's be clear -- what teams do when they actually have the ball or are defending it carries the most significant correlation to team success or failure), but it is a factor that builds into the Elis' ceiling this weekend. Opportunities matter most when there aren't a lot of opportunities out there, and given the matchup and atmosphere of this game, if Levings can't get extra possessions through faceoff wins (1) more pressure is put on the Bulldogs' offense to score efficiently (something that the Bulldogs have done fairly well this season and displayed most prominently in Ivy League Tournament (especially against Princeton)) and (2) additional reliance is put on the Elis' defense to maintain its composure and performance.
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