Everything that's worth knowing about the Northeast Conference Tournament.
|SEED||TEAM||LEAGUE RECORD||LEAGUE WINS||LEAGUE LOSSES|
|1.||St. Joseph's||6-0||Wagner, Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's, Bryant, Sacred Heart, Hobart||None|
|2.||Bryant||5-1||Hobart, Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris, Wagner||St. Joseph's|
|3.||Sacred Heart||4-2||Robert Morris, Hobart, Wagner, Mount St. Mary's||Bryant, St. Joseph's|
|4.||Hobart||3-3||Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's, Wagner||Bryant, Sacred Heart, St. Joseph's|
Times, Dates of Matchups
Thursday, May 1, 2014 (Semifinals -- at St. Joseph's (Sweeney Field)):
- (4) Hobart v. (1) St. Joseph's: 4:00 PM (ET)
- (3) Sacred Heart v. (2) Bryant: 7:30 PM (ET)
Saturday, May 3, 2014 (Championship -- at St. Joseph's (Sweeney Field)):
- Semifinal I Winner v. Semifinal II Winner: 1:00 PM (ET)
NEC Front Row -- the Northeast Conference's propaganda machine -- will stream -- for free! -- all three tournament games.
League Tournament Spirit Animal
Is a possessed and grumpy Teddy Ruxpin a spirit animal? Yes? Then that.
Truncated Tempo-Free Profiles
|METRIC||ST. JOSEPH'S||BRYANT||SACRED HEART||HOBART|
|Adjusted Offensive Efficiency||34.26 (20)||30.01 (39)||31.82 (29)||28.29 (52)|
|Adjusted Defensive Efficiency||29.54 (27)||28.24 (19)||36.12 (59)||30.99 (34)|
|Possession Margin per 60 Minutes of Play||+1.71 (20)||+6.63 (2)||-4.28 (55)||-3.58 (53)|
|Pythagorean Win Expectation||61.29% (20)||54.68% (28)||40.29% (52)||42.97% (43)|
Bryant and St. Joseph's are the strength of the tournament, and it's interesting to note just how competitive those two teams are relative to the rest of the country: The Hawks and the Bulldogs can play. This isn't a league comprised of one legitimate team; there is some strength at the top of the Northeast Conference that is capable of throwing hands with some of Division I's better teams. The relative ability of St. Joseph's and Bryant is a major reason why the Northeast Conference -- as a whole -- finished above the MAAC this season in terms of league strength. It was a good season for the conference for the simple reason that the Hawks bootstrapped themselves into the same tier as the Bulldogs.
In 22 years of college lacrosse, St. Joseph's has one tournament championship in its trophy case: The 2000 MAAC Tournament title (the inaugural MAAC Tournament). That's it, and the Hawks weren't even invited to the 12-team NCAA Tournament that season (the team's profile wasn't strong enough for at-large inclusion in 2000 and the MAAC didn't receive an automatic bid to the Big Barbeque until 2002). This is a major moment for St. Joseph's: Two wins on their home field and the Hawks will experience a May adventure for the first time. There are no guarantees, though, for the Hawks: Bryant is more than capable of earning its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament despite the fact that St. Joseph's enters the NEC Tournament as the team to beat.
- Bryant ranks 19th in adjusted defensive efficiency -- against a schedule currently ranked 58th in opposing offenses faced -- but it's not the simple recognition of the Bulldogs' defensive efficiency that's impressive; rather, it's the underlying metrics that create Bryant's defensive efficiency that marks the Bulldogs' defense as one of the strongest in the nation:
BRYANT'S DEFENSIVE LOOK (AS OF APRIL 30, 2014) METRIC VALUE NATIONAL RANK Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.25 7 Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 53.24% 1 Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 21.19% 2 Raw Defensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 39.80% 3 Defensive Assist Rate 12.45 4 Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 39.96 6 Team Save Percentage 60.20% 3 Strength of Schedule: Opposing Offenses Faced 29.12 58
- The loss of Alex Love -- Love has only played three games for the Statesmen this year, sidelined due to an abdominal muscle issue -- has impacted Hobart's offensive output this season. The Statesmen have struggled to efficiently score goals this season, and a big part of that is attributable to the hole that Love left in Hobart's attack. The most glaring indication of this void is this fact: Despite only logging time in three games this year, Love ranks eighth among Hobart players in total points (10) and is sixth in goals scored (nine). The loss of Love opened an opportunity for Matt Opsahl to contribute on attack (and he has done fairly well in close with Cam Stone and Jake McHenry), but Hobart's offense lost some bite without Love's ability to finish. A comparison of the team's offensive profile between 2013 and 2014 illustrates -- to a degree -- what the injury to Love has meant to the Statesmen (obviously there are other factors here, including some transition through Hobart's midfield):
HOBART'S TRUNCATED OFFENSIVE PROFILE (AS OF APRIL 30, 2014) METRIC 2013 VALUE (NT'L RANK) 2014 VALUE (NT'L RANK) Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 29.61 (34) 28.29 (52) Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.05 (40) 1.02 (56) Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 27.81% (28) 27.88% (36) Offensive Assist Rate 14.32 (50) 13.05 (57) Opponent Saves per 100 Offensive Opportunities 32.16 (22) 32.27 (23) Opponent Save Percentage 52.36% (27) 53.04% (39)
- Sacred Heart-Bryant may feature one of the most lopsided possession wars of this conference tournament season:
SACRED HEART-BRYANT: A POSSESSION BLOODBATH(AS OF APRIL 30, 2014) METRIC SACRED HEART (NT'L RANK) BRYANT (NT'L RANK) Possession Margin per 60 Minutes of Play -4.28 (55) +6.63 (2) Faceoff Percentage 43.14% (50) 69.48% (1) Clearing Percentage 88.45% (18) 86.52% (35) Riding Rate 8.63% (63) 13.65% (36) Percentage of Offensive Opportunities from Faceoff Wins 36.07% (38) 42.38% (10) Percentage of Offensive Opportunities from Clearing Postures 58.78% (18) 50.00% (56) Percentage of Offensive Opportunities from Opponent Failed Clears 5.15% (61) 7.62% (36) Percentage of Defensive Opportunities from Faceoff Losses 41.68% (13) 22.93% (67) Percentage of Defensive Opportunities from Opponent Clearing Postures 52.36% (48) 68.78% (1) Percentage of Defensive Opportunities from Failed Clears 5.95% (59) 8.30% (26)