2014 Ivy League Lacrosse Tournament Preview

USA TODAY Sports

Harvard owns the pole position going into the Ivy League Tournament.

Everything that's worth knowing about the Ivy League Tournament.

Participants

2014 IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
SEED TEAM LEAGUE RECORD LEAGUE WINS LEAGUE LOSSES
1. Harvard 5-1 Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, Princeton, Yale Pennsylvania
2. Cornell 5-1 Yale, Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Princeton Harvard
3. Pennsylvania 4-2 Yale, Brown, Harvard, Dartmouth Princeton, Cornell
4. Yale 3-3 Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown Cornell, Pennsylvania, Harvard

Times, Dates of Matchups

Friday, May 2, 2014 (Semifinals -- at Harvard (Harvard Stadium)):

  • (3) Pennsylvania v. (2) Cornell: 5:00 PM (ET)
  • (4) Yale v. (1) Harvard: 8:00 PM (ET)

Sunday, May 4, 2014 (Championship -- at Harvard (Harvard Stadium)):

  • Semifinal I Winner v. Semifinal II Winner: 12:00 PM (ET)

Television/Internet

ESPN3 is the destination for the semifinal doubleheader in Cambridge. ESPNU will carry the league's championship game. All viewers are required to wear the Ivy League's mandated monocle and ascot combination in order to adequately enjoy the games.

League Tournament Spirit Animal

A talking penguin holding a martini.

Truncated Tempo-Free Profiles

2014 IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT TRUNCATED TEMPO-FREE PROFILES (AS OF APRIL 30, 2014)
METRIC HARVARD CORNELL PENNSYLVANIA YALE
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 34.39 (17) 37.16 (8) 21.05 (33) 32.83 (25)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 29.27 (24) 27.99 (18) 23.55 (2) 28.32 (20)
Possession Margin per 60 Minutes of Play +0.78 (29) +1.21 (23) -0.08 (40) +3.67 (10)
Pythagorean Win Expectation 62.23% (19) 70.65% (9) 70.20% (12) 61.26% (21)

Cornell and Pennsylvania are likely destined for the NCAA Tournament, but Yale and Harvard are capable of making a run through this thing and capturing the league's automatic invitation to The Big Barbeque. These are balanced teams -- in general -- that are equipped for a two-game push in a pressurized situation. The Ivy League holds strength in that it exists with a top tier of teams that can complete a hostile takeover with an emotionless smile.

Predictions

log5 PROBABILITIES: PROBABILITY OF WINNING THE IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT (AS OF APRIL 30, 2014)
RANK TEAM PROBABILITY
1. Cornell 30.25%
2. Pennsylvania 29.34%
3. Harvard 20.87%
4. Yale 19.54%

This feels accurate, even though the Crimson hold the top seed in the tournament. Every team has pretty decent odds in this thing, and it wouldn't be all that surprising if the Elis storm through Cambridge and bootstrap themselves into the NCAA Tournament. What's interesting about this probability table is that the team's with the greatest chances to win the tournament will play each other in the semifinal round, creating immediate clarity around Manifest Destiny.

Three Things

  • Pennsylvania-Cornell should look like an oil fire at a gasoline refinery: The Red tend to move, currently ranked 10th in possessions per 60 minutes of play at 69.46; the Quakers are a shade quicker than Cornell, currently ranked sixth in the same metric at 69.96. With an enhanced pace to the game, controlling turnovers could factor into the result as giveaways often become a residual consequence of beautiful, dirty speed. This is where Pennsylvania could get into some trouble against Cornell:

    TURNOVER PROFILE: CORNELL AND PENNSYLVANIA (AS OF APRIL 30, 2014)
    METRIC CORNELL PENNSYLVANIA
    Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 41.13 (14) 50.95 (53)
    Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities 45.09 (38) 49.41 (12)
    Turnover Margin +3.96 (23) -1.55 (42)
    Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 21.57 (19) 25.95 (55)
    Unforced Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities 20.88 (55) 30.17 (2)
    Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities 24.22 (25) 19.24 (53)
    Caused Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 19.56 (18) 25.00 (52)
  • One of the biggest stories of the tournament involves a team that didn't even make the field -- Princeton. The Tigers are hoping for an NCAA Tournament at-large invitation, but Princeton is powerless to control the circumstances that will impact whether the Tigers get a bid. Princeton is a solid team -- the Tigers rank 18th in Pythagorean win expectation -- but the team's profile isn't bullet proof compared to the profiles of Harvard and Yale, programs in a similar position to Princeton and able to take the field this weekend in competition:

    HYP: NCAA TOURNAMENT PROFILES (AS OF MAY 2, 2014)
    METRIC HARVARD YALE PRINCETON
    RPI Ranking 18 14 16
    Weighted RPI Strength of Schedule 8 14 12
    RPI Top 20 Wins Cornell (5), Yale (14), Princeton (16) Princeton (16) Hofstra (13), Pennsylvania (3)
    The Quakers and Red are likely booked for the NCAA Tournament, and the Ivy League's bid pool likely maxes out at three this year. And Princeton no longer has an opportunity to make a case for its NCAA candidacy on the field.
  • For whatever reason, Yale plays in games with lots of flags. What's interesting about the number of penalties in games involving the Bulldogs is that it's both the Elis and their opponents that are taking penalties, almost at the same rate:

    THERE WILL BE FLAGS (AS OF APRIL 30, 2014)
    METRIC YALE YALE'S OPPONENTS
    Penalties per 100 Opportunities 6.69 (55) 6.69 (16)
    Penalties Margin 0.00 (29) 0.00 (29)
    Extra-Man Postures per 100 Offensive Opportunities 12.18 (21) 13.18 (60)
    Extra-Man Postures Margin -0.99 (46) +0.99 (46)
    There's a skill to drawing penalties and there is also a unique skill set (read: anger) associated with creating penalties. The odd thing about Yale's games this season is that they have featured both at virtually the same high rate. I don't think I've seen something like this before, where a team goes in the box almost exactly as much as their opponents go in the box (and everyone is in the box a lot). You keep doing you, Elis.
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