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Hear the Thunder? CAA Lacrosse Tournament Starts Tonight

Let's just get this right out of the way:

It's the THUNDERDOME! Tournament, boys and girls! The nastiest of the old dirty nasty in 2011. There are only three things that would make this year's CAA playoffs more exciting:

  1. Finding out that all participating teams are actually motorcycle gangs and that all games will be replaced with "angry-offs." Best infuriated spitters move on to the championship.
  2. Four teams. One field. One game. Team with the least bloodied roster at the conclusion of the seven-hour match gets the conference trophy -- a big dish containing the heads of all the losing coaches.
  3. Raise the stakes. The team that wins the THUNDERDOME! Tournament not only moves on to the NCAA's but also gets to stone their vanquished opponents on their campus quad. (Note: pillories must be provided by the winning school.)

Hofstra, Penn State, Massachusetts, and Delaware are your four combatants in this year's prize fight. Here's how they measure up:

Hofstra 59.79 57 31.97 12 23.09 6 8.88 8
Penn State 57.97 60 28.86 22 26.11 19 2.75 25
UMass 67.26 29 29.61 20 26.63 27 2.98 24
Delaware 69.72 21 25.42 47 26.31 21 -0.89 35

PACE = Number of possessions per 60 minutes.
AOE = Adjusted offensive efficiency (goals for per 100 offensive possessions).
ADE = Adjusted defensive efficiency (goals against per 100 defensive possessions).
AEM = Adjusted efficiency margin (AOE less ADE).

Hofstra looks like the biggest, baddest mother in the ring. Holding the tournament's one-seed should certainly help their destructive pursuits. Massachusetts-Penn State has all the makings of a close one. The team that can keep their eyeballs in their eyeball sockets the longest probably has the best chance to prevail in that one.

Outside of each team's character, there are some big guns that will be wielding nasty sticks:

Eric Smith Delaware 7.06 89
Grant Kaleikau Delaware 6.11 130
Jay Card Hofstra 8.93 29
Jamie Lincoln Hofstra 7.84 64
Stephen Bentz Hofstra 7.63 71
Ian Braddish Hofstra 6.54 107
Will Manny UMass 8.97 26
Art Kell UMass 7.88 61
Anthony Biscardi UMass 6.13 129
Ryan Hantverk UMass 5.25 166
Shane Sturgis Penn State 8.73 33
Matthew Mackrides Penn State 7.67 70

T.O.V. = Total Offensive Value (individual points per 100 offensive possessions).
Rank = National T.O.V. rank.

There will be blood, son, and the shedding of it starts in just a few hours. The only question is, who are you taking?