NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Quarterfinals: (7) Duke v. (2) Notre Dame

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Everything you need to know about the Blue Devils and Irish ahead of their quarterfinals bout at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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: Sunday, 2:30 P.M.
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Broadcast: ESPNU
Game "Fun Factor" Rank: 4th (4.0078)
log5 Victory Probabilities: Notre Dame -- 54.77%; Duke -- 45.23%
First Round: (2) Notre Dame d. Detroit (9-7); (7) Duke d. Loyola (12-11 (OT))

From Right In Front Of Your Face

(2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Big East, At-Large

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 11-4 Clearing Rate 89.29% (11)
Adj. Off. Eff. 30.54 (24) Riding Rate 12.75% (42)
Adj. Def. Eff. 23.02 (2) Faceoff % 51.86% (23)
Adj. Eff. Margin 7.51 (11) Pace 64.29 (43)
Pyth. Win Exp. 70.59% (8) Off. Opps./60 Min. 31.98 (43)
Opps. Margin -0.33 (33) Def. Opps./60 Min. 32.31 (24)
Opps. Ratio 49.74% (33)
DEFENSIVE STATS OFFENSIVE STATS
Save % 53.82% (25) Sht. % 26.71% (35)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 28.72 (56) Opnt. Save % 51.79% (24)
Shts/Def. Opp. 0.92 (3) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 32.72 (26)
Opnt. Sht. % 26.83% (21) Shts/Off. Opp. 1.14 (22)
Def. Assist Rate 15.48 (20) Off. Assist Rate 16.26 (37)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 7.74 (5) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 8.64 (53)
EMD Conversion % 26.3% (10) EMO Conversion % 21.43% (61)
EMD Reliance 8.26% (6) EMO Reliance 6.08% (63)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 49.69 (12) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 46.50 (40)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 32.79 (1) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 26.34 (53)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 16.90 (61) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 20.16 (17)

Key

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

  • It's not all about turnovers for Notre Dame against Duke, but it is a potentially interesting storyline going into the Irish's date with the Blue Devils. Notre Dame has seemingly had a bit of an issue with playing loose with the ball over all season long, a characteristic that almost sunk the Irish against Detroit last weekend at Arlotta Stadium. (It should be noted, however, that the Titans are one of the strongest takeaway teams in the nation.) Had Notre Dame not accelerated the pace of play late in the game with its ride -- forcing Detroit into a handful of turnovers -- the Irish may not be in the situation they're in, prepping a bus for the short trip to the quarterfinals this coming weekend. Against Duke, a team that sees its opposition commit giveaways all over the field, Notre Dame's focus on valuing the ball -- especially in limiting unforced turnovers -- carries with its four important residues. First, the Irish are staring at a situation where they may be playing in a possession deficit due to Brendan Fowler's man-work at the dot. The combination of playing in an offensive opportunity imbalance while forfeiting those offensive possessions could create a difficult situation for the Irish to compete and thrive. Next, Notre Dame isn't flush with marksmen and need some volume to score (despite the fact that there are some true offensive talents on the roster). Lost opportunities via turnovers exacerbate those issues. Third, turnovers feed into Duke's unique ability to go in transition, exposing Notre Dame's defense to unsettled situations. The Devils are tough to stop when they can get imbalanced offensive postures in transition. Finally, Notre Dame is at its best when it dictates pace. If the team is committing turnovers, the Irish lose a little bit of control in that facet of play. In totem, it's a question of balancing advantage; when turnovers occur -- especially with respect to the circumstances that the Irish are facing -- that balance shifts in difficult ways for Notre Dame.

Duke Blue Devils: ACC, At-Large

DUKE BLUE DEVILS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 13-5 Clearing Rate 87.66% (20)
Adj. Off. Eff. 38.11 (6) Riding Rate 14.33% (28)
Adj. Def. Eff. 30.56 (27) Faceoff % 62.53% (3)
Adj. Eff. Margin 7.55 (10) Pace 68.33 (21)
Pyth. Win Exp. 66.47% (14) Off. Opps./60 Min. 37.12 (6)
Opps. Margin 5.91 (3) Def. Opps./60 Min. 31.21 (15)
Opps. Ratio 54.32% (3)
DEFENSIVE STATS OFFENSIVE STATS
Save % 50.14% (48) Sht. % 32.43% (8)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 31.86 (39) Opnt. Save % 48.14% (11)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.10 (34) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 34.67 (37)
Opnt. Sht. % 28.87% (39) Shts/Off. Opp. 1.15 (19)
Def. Assist Rate 16.99 (33) Off. Assist Rate 21.73 (9)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 13.98 (60) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 8.48 (55)
EMD Conversion % 36.71% (41) EMO Conversion % 36.84% (22)
EMD Reliance 16.20% (20) EMO Reliance 8.37% (58)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 51.33 (8) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 38.54 (9)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 27.08 (6) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 24.40 (43)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 24.25 (19) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 14.14 (1)

Key

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

  • This is total "What if?" territory; I don't know how much bearing it's going to have on the outcome of this particular game. However, personnel imbalance scenarios and how teams perform in those situations are interesting. In this Duke-Notre Dame game, the circumstances are especially odd: Duke is a rambunctious team, committing penalties at a high rate, playing in man-down postures a lot, and allowing opponents to convert at a fairly high rate in those circumstances (in fact, around 16 percent of the goals that Duke has yielded this season have come with the personnel imbalance in the opposition's favor); Notre Dame rarely plays in man-up situations as the Irish draw penalties at a low rate (not that it matters much as the team's extra-man conversion rate is among the lowest in the country (not surprisingly, Notre Dame hasn't relied heavily on man-up situations to score)). But . . . could this be a factor at Lucas Oil Stadium? It's not like Kyle Turri has established himself (at least this year) as a nationally-elite ball stopper; in exposed situations, the Irish have the weapons -- Sean Rogers, Matt Kavanagh, etc. -- to pick apart a defense put in a tough spot to excel. In the teams' meeting earlier this season (which was, admittedly, eons ago with both teams having a full season of play behind them at this point), the Irish went 0-2 in extra-man situations (but the Irish didn't need those postures to score because they were busy hammering the Devils in every other aspect of play). It's just . . . these are valuable opportunities for the opposition; how long can Duke continue to give its opponents these circumstances and survive (regardless of the opposition's profile with respect to generating and converting in the postures)? In games that Duke has either lost or the final margin of victory was three goals or less, opponents are a combined 22-of-43 (51.16 percent) against the Devils when Duke is in a man-down posture. (In the losses, opponents are eight-of-16; in the "close wins" opponents are 14-of-27.) Against Notre Dame -- which makes a living playing tight games (partly because of the Irish's pace and their approaches on the offensive and defensive ends of the field) -- will the Devils put themselves in a position where the scoring margin could get uncomfortable due to man-down goals impacting the blinking lights on the scoreboard? The answer to that partly depends on what the Irish can accomplish and partly on whether Duke provides the opportunities.
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