NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Lehigh at (5) North Carolina

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Everything you need to know about the Mountain Hawks and Tar Heels 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, 12:00 P.M.
Location: Fetzer Field, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Broadcast: ESPN2
Game "Fun Factor" Rank: 3rd (5.2514)
log5 Victory Probabilities: North Carolina -- 51.88%; Lehigh -- 48.12%

From Right In Front Of Your Face

(5) North Carolina Tar Heels: ACC, At-Large

NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 12-3 Clearing Rate 88.69% (15)
Adj. Off. Eff. 39.64 (2) Riding Rate 13.23% (37)
Adj. Def. Eff. 26.84 (17) Faceoff % 50.75% (25)
Adj. Eff. Margin 12.80 (2) Pace 70.55 (9)
Pyth. Win Exp. 77.00% (2) Off. Opps./60 Min. 34.88 (17)
Opps. Margin -0.79 (39) Def. Opps./60 Min. 35.67 (52)
Opps. Ratio 49.44% (39)
DEFENSIVE STATS OFFENSIVE STATS
Save % 55.49% (15) Sht. % 33.00% (7)
Saves/Def. Opp. 34.63 (27) Opnt. Save % 48.05% (12)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.04 (19) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 35.04 (39)
Opnt. Sht. % 26.79% (19) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.15 (21)
Def. Assist Rate 15.19 (14) Off. Assist Rate 21.21 (10)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 8.89 (12) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 9.47 (43)
EMD Conversion % 39.58% (48) EMO Conversion % 42.00% (8)
EMD Reliance 12.67% (43) EMO Reliance 10.50% (45)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 43.52 (37) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 36.17 (4)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 22.22 (38) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 19.32 (8)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 21.30 (33) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 16.86 (7)

Key

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

  • North Carolina's improvement defensively from 2012 to 2013 has driven a lot of the team's success this season. To wit:

    NORTH CAROLINA DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT: 2012-2013
    METRIC 2012 VALUE (RANK) 2013 VALUE (RANK)
    Possessions per 60 Minutes Margin 5.76 (1) -0.79 (39)
    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 31.37 (36) 26.84 (17)
    Adjusted Efficiency Margin 3.01 (22) 12.80 (2)
    Defensive Assist Rate 22.18 (57) 15.19 (14)
    Defensive Shooting Rate 30.22% (40) 26.79% (19)
    Man-Down Postures per 100 Defensive Opportunities 13.53 (56) 8.89 (12)
    Man-Down Posture Reliance 17.86% (56) 12.67% (43)
    Penalties per 100 Total Possessions 6.88 (55) 4.68 (11)
    Team Save Percentage 55.49% 51.16%
    So, the 2013 Carolina defense is playing with more responsibility and pressure this season compared to 2012 as the Tar Heels aren't establishing possession margin as well as they did a season ago, yet: (1) North Carolina is about five goals stauncher over a 100-opportunity basis (about three goals per 60 minutes of play); (2) The increased defensive performance creates a 10-goal margin between Carolina's output and their opponent's output over a 100-opportunity basis (about seven goals better than the competition on a 60-minute basis); the team has decreased its ball watching drastically; the team isn't committing an excessive level of penalties and is not exposing its defense to man-down postures; and the overall level at which the defense has performed combined with Kieran Burke's work between the pipes has drastically dropped the accuracy rate of opponent's shots and has raised the team's save percentage. The growth of the Tar Heels from 2012 to 2013 isn't necessarily a story tied to Marcus Holman's contributions on attack or the role that other offensive players (like Chad Tutton) have taken; rather, it's about what Carolina's defense has accomplished in a year that makes the Heels one of the favorites in the national tournament.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks: Patriot, Automatic Qualifier

LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS
BIG STATS PACE STATS
Record 12-4 Clearing Rate 83.89% (48)
Adj. Off. Eff. 35.24 (11) Riding Rate 16.01% (16)
Adj. Def. Eff. 24.45 (8) Faceoff % 50.57% (27)
Adj. Eff. Margin 10.79 (3) Pace 63.75 (46)
Pyth. Win Exp. 75.64% (3) Off. Opps./60 Min. 32.44 (38)
Opps. Margin 1.13 (24) Def. Opps./60 Min. 31.31 (17)
Opps. Ratio 50.88% (24)
DEFENSIVE STATS OFFENSIVE STATS
Save % 60.07% (5) Sht. % 30.84% (16)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 35.73 (22) Opnt. Save % 46.36% (7)
Shts/Def. Opp. 0.98 (9) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 35.73 (22)
Opnt. Sht. % 46.36% (7) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.11 (32)
Def. Assist Rate 15.37 (18) Off. Assist Rate 22.54 (4)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 12.38 (49) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 10.40 (33)
EMD Conversion % 32.26% (26) EMO Conversion % 40.74% (11)
EMD Reliance 16.81% (57) EMO Reliance 12.43% (27)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 49.30 (13) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 45.86 (34)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 22.95 (34) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 19.85 (11)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 26.35 (13) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 26.01 (48)

Key

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

  • Lehigh's at its best when it builds its success from the defensive end of the field. This statement should not make your eyes do that googly Muppet thing. Where a lot of people sleep on the Mountain Hawks, though, is with respect to the capability of the offense: While only ranked 20th nationally in goals per game, Lehigh only plays around 64 possessions per 60 minutes of play; yanking out the pace-included noise in the per-game metric, the Mountain Hawks are actually just outside the top 10 in the country in terms of the rate at which it scores goals. This is the ultimate value that Lehigh sees: A defense that doesn't yield many tallies complemented with an offense that efficiently scores goals in an atmosphere where the Mountain Hawks deflate tempo and make it difficult for opponents to build big leads or otherwise come back from the cushions that Lehigh creates. Much was made about the impact the Lao-Gosney twins' departure would have on the Mountain Hawks' offense in 2013, but Lehigh is arguably a stronger offensive team this season than a year ago: The team is about a goal better over a 100-opportunity basis than in 2012; Lehigh is shooting 1.24 percent better in 2013 than 2012; the Mountain Hawks are sharing the ball better this year, getting about six more assists on a 100-opportunity basis than in 2012; the team is relying less on extra-man opportunities to generate tallies despite the fact that Lehigh is actually playing in more extra-man postures than a season ago (importantly, the team's extra-man conversion rate is down but the team's overall offensive efficiency is up); and the team is doing a better job of indentifying shot opportunities rather than spraying balls at the cage (the team's shot per offensive opportunity rate has dropped from the seventh highest mark in the country to just the 32nd highest mark). How has this happened? Dante Fantoni and David DiMaria returned to anchor the attack (one of the best duos in the country) and the Mountain Hawks are getting (1) valuable contributions from Patrick Corbett akin to what he produced last season and (2) increased contributions from Dan Taylor, Brian Hess, and Kyle Stiefel. Lehigh hasn't necessarily reinvented itself this season on the offensive end, but it has improved in notable ways. The defense is still the anchor, but the Mountain Hawks are even more dangerous offensively this year than a season ago.
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