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Patriot League Lacrosse Tournament Participant Profile: Army

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Every Division I tournament. Every team. College Crosse has it all on lockdown. Please send cookies and naptime. Today we're slashing to bits the Patriot League Tournament.

Teams that hover around .500 do stuff that kind of makes your mind explode. One minute, you think that they're in the apex of the corner, ready to punch the accelerator and go; the next minute, they're drifting away and you wonder if they're going to end up in the sand trap. The fact that Army head coach Joe Alberici has been able to control his team's momentum throughout the race this season is a testament to how good he is, but it also signals that he has his hands full on a game-in and game-out basis. Army has the potential to take the Patriot League championship but it also has the potential to make you wonder if they're in this thing just to tease you for dollar bills.

Anyway, here's the heat on Army.

Army Black Knights: Three-Seed

For a more complete, mind-bending picture, here's a .pdf of the complete report.

Record 7-6 (4-2) Clear % 82.87% (38)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 30.49 (27) Opp. Clear % 81.08% (14)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 25.60 (12) Faceoff % 54.08% (18)
Poss. Percentage 51.2% (16) Pace 68.53 (16)
Off. Poss./60 min. 35.11 (15)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 33.42 (37)
Save Percentage 51.3%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.27 (54) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 28.50% (28) Goal Differential +25
Opp. Effective Sht. % 29.08% (28) Shooting % 27.69% (39)
Def. Assist Rate 14.42 (14) Effective Sht. % 28.29% (41)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.11 (38) Assist Rate 15.47 (40)
Man-Down Conversion % 29.79% (23) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.08 (57)
Man-Down Reliance 0.12 (33) EMO Conversion % 51.43% (3)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.24 (19) EMO Reliance 0.13 (29)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.39 (5)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.32 (36)

Three pieces of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • The first thing that jumps out to you about Army is that they've been converting like Godzilla with their extra-man unit. The issue with that, though, is that only four teams play with a personnel imbalance in their favor less than the Black Knights. So, while Army has had success in the man-up, they really haven't had a lot of opportunities to roll that unit onto the field. It's not that Army relies a lot on their extra-man unit to generate scores for the Black Knights -- the team is hovering right around the national average in the metric -- but for a team that shoots, in the overall, at a pretty pedestrian rate, increased opportunities for Army to unleash its weapons with the personnel imbalance could substantially increase the offensive efficiency for a team that kind of needs it. (The Black Knights are only 27th-nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency.) What's moving in Army's favor relative to this is that Lehigh -- their first opponent in the Patriot League Tournament -- plays with some boneheadedness: The Mountain Hawks are 40th in the country in penalties per possession and 36th-nationally in man-down per defensive possession. If the Black Knights can take advantage of this, Army puts itself into a nice position for a victory on Friday. (As for a potential championship matchup against Colgate or Bucknell, these opportunities will be substantially deflated as neither team plays man-down all that much in their defensive possessions.)
  • Other than that, Army is pretty average throughout the majority of the major metrics. There's nothing here that shouts to you "Trouble!" in either the positive or negative. There are nice combinations occurring between some of the metrics, however: Army is limiting the number of shots opponents are taking per defensive possession and opponents are having a tough time linking up on tallies as evidenced by the Black Knights' relatively low defensive assist rate. You can see Army willing to get out on opposing offenses and clearing opportunities to cause havoc -- as illustrated in the caused turnovers per defensive possession and ride metrics -- and the end result is a defensive unit ranked 12th-nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. It's all fine, I suppose, but there are two things here that make you wonder just how good this team is from a defensive standpoint: Zach Palmieri only has a save percentage of 52.0 and opponents are shooting, on a raw basis, 28.50 percent. It's a little lukewarm when you examine it in totem, but the pieces do have some nice aspects. And that's exactly what 7-6 college lacrosse teams look like.
  • Garrett Thul and John Glesener are among the nation's better offensive weapons, but this Army offense -- on the whole -- isn't particularly a land mine. I think a little bit of the issue here is that the Black Knights rely so much on Thul and Glesener to generate offense: Thul has accounted for almost 29 percent of Army's tallies this season; Glesener has accounted for 23 percent. That's over half of the Black Knights originating from Glesener or Thul's crosse. If these guys get shut off -- and that's a tough task -- the Black Knights can struggle. It's all up there in black and white: Army has a problem with sharing the bean on the offensive end (40th-nationally in offensive assist rate); the team doesn't shoot particularly well in the overall (additionally, of their 20-plus point generators on the season, Thul and Conor Hayes are the only two shooting above 30 percent on the season (30.8 and 30.4 percent, respectively)); and, as a team, almost 49 percent of the teams goals have been unassisted on the season. With all this individual reliance and with a bit of a production vacuum behind Glesener and Thul, you start to understand why Army's offense is ranked only 27th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency.

For more on Army's opponent -- Lehigh -- check out the Mountain Hawks' profile here.