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Patriot League Lacrosse Tournament Participant Profile: Bucknell

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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.

Want to know why Bucknell head coach Frank Fedorjaka buys blood pressure medication on wholesale and in bulk: The Bison started the year on a three-game losing streak by a total of four goals; the team then immediately ripped off an eight-game winning streak and started to look like the class of the Patriot League; and then Bucknell stumbled home, losing three of its last four including a two-overtime setback against Army at home.

So, yeah. It's been a buzz saw kind of ride this year for the Bison.

Anyway, here's the heat on Bucknell.

Bucknell Bison: Four-Seed

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

Record 9-6 (3-3) Clear % 82.67% (40)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 34.55 (12) Opp. Clear % 81.53% (17)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 25.59 (11) Faceoff % 43.84% (50)
Poss. Percentage 50.1 (32) Pace 65.74 (30)
Off. Poss./60 min. 32.94 (33)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 32.81 (34)
Save Percentage 56.9%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.35 (16) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 26.72% (20) Goal Differential +38
Opp. Effective Sht. % 27.40% (20) Shooting % 37.28% (1)
Def. Assist Rate 19.92 (46) Effective Sht. % 38.05% (1)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.08 (12) Assist Rate 20.84 (12)
Man-Down Conversion % 36.59% (38) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.11 (24)
Man-Down Reliance 0.11 (27) EMO Conversion % 38.18% (26)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.28 (6) EMO Reliance 0.12 (35)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.48 (39)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.26 (6)

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

  • BUCKNELL IS A WITCH! THEY'RE A SHAPE-SHIFTER! Last year, Bucknell made its move into the NCAA Tournament in large part due to its defensive performance on the season. (The Bison finished the year ranked third-nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency). This year, the defense is still there but Bucknell is crushing its opponents' souls with its offense. The Bison are currently rated 12th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and it's primarily due to this fact: No team this year has shot the bean better than the Bison (Bucknell is ranked first nationally in effective and raw shooting percentage). Of the six guys on the Bison's roster with at least 20 points on the season, two are shooting at or above 50 percent -- Chase Bailey (58.3 percent) and Todd Heritage (50 percent) -- with two more shooting above 30 percent -- David Dickson (36.8 percent) and Billy Eisenreich (30.4 percent). This is a deadly offense when given opportunity to operate.
  • A big reason that Bucknell is shooting so well in 2012 -- as opposed to, say, the majority of the country (why can't anyone shoot anymore?) -- is that the Bison share the ball about as well as anyone: Bucknell is currently sitting at 12th-nationally in offensive assist rate (assists per 100 possessions). The Bison are finding guys in preferential shooting positions and when a team shoots as well as Bucknell does, that's going to raise an offense's overall efficiency. It's also scarily dangerous for the opposition: The Bison don't need a lot of shots to get tallies on the scoreboard (only eight teams shoot the ball less per offensive possession than Bucknell); they're willing to be patient (as evidenced by their pace value) and get the right shot from the right guy on the right play. This is the kind of offense that makes opposing defensive coaches wonder if selling insurance would be a better career opportunity.
  • What could cripple Bucknell a little bit this weekend -- it has been a wart in most of their losses -- is that the Bison don't do a great job at dominating the possession game. Granted, Bucknell tends to maximize their offensive and defensive possessions, but they don't do a great job at maximizing the total number of offensive possessions that they play against defensive possessions. On the season, the Bison are ranked only 32nd-nationally in possessions per game margin, holding only a 50.1 possession percentage. Against a team like Colgate that dominates the possession margin game -- the Raiders are 13th in the country in the metric -- and have the tools to exploit this against Bucknell (the Bison only win draws at a 43.84 percent rate; Colgate draws at 57.60 percent; the Bison only clear at a 82.67 percent rate; the Raiders' ride is ranked sixth in the country at 79.24 percent), Bucknell could find itself in a hole that will be difficult to climb out of.

For more on Bucknell's opponent -- Colgate -- check out the Raiders' profile here.