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2012 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Staring Contest: Canisius at Loyola

It's the 2012 NCAA Tournament! Take out the nice napkins and make sure that your kid doesn't have crap all over his face. College Crosse has this all under control, so feel safe, friends. If you missed anything -- and you really shouldn't because you're only hurting yourself if you do -- click this fancy highlighted text to get all caught up.

Pray for Canisius. Also, send body bags.

Anyway, here's the heat on Canisius at Loyola.

Loyola Greyhounds: Tournament One-Seed (ECAC, Automatic Qualifier)

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

Record 14-1 Clear % 91.56% (1)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 34.68 (11) Opp. Clear % 82.86% (23)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 24.59 (6) Faceoff % 52.27% (22)
Poss. Percentage 53.25% (5) Pace 67.30 (19)
Off. Poss./60 min. 35.84 (9)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 31.46 (21)
Save Percentage 52.87%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.27 (54) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 25.05% (8) Goal Differential +71
Opp. Effective Sht. % 25.64% (8) Shooting % 30.49% (20)
Def. Assist Rate 0.14 (12) Effective Sht. % 31.18% (21)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.09 (21) Assist Rate 0.21 (12)
Man-Down Conversion % 36.36% (34) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.07 (59)
Man-Down Reliance 0.14 (47) EMO Conversion % 50.00% (2)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.30 (1) EMO Reliance 0.11 (40)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.35 (1)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.33 (42)

Canisius Party Crashers: Unseeded (MAAC, Automatic Qualifier)

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

Record 6-7 Clear % 84.45% (27)
Adj. Off. Efficiency 26.16 (49) Opp. Clear % 84.90% (36)
Adj. Def. Efficiency 33.41 (49) Faceoff % 48.54% (39)
Poss. Percentage 49.08% (41) Pace 66.62 (24)
Off. Poss./60 min. 32.69 (31)
DEFENSIVE STATS Def. Poss./60 min. 33.92 (42)
Save Percentage 47.14%
Saves/Def. Poss. 0.30 (39) OFFENSIVE STATS
Opp. Sht. %. 31.69% (48) Goal Differential -32
Opp. Effective Sht. % 32.48% (49) Shooting % 31.18% (14)
Def. Assist Rate 0.20 (43) Effective Sht. % 32.17% (10)
Man-Down/Def. Poss. 0.10 (31) Assist Rate 0.17 (27)
Man-Down Conversion % 37.78% (36) EMO per Off. Poss. 0.15 (3)
Man-Down Reliance 0.11 (31) EMO Conversion % 34.92% (31)
C/T per Def. Poss. 0.20 (39) EMO Reliance 0.19 (6)
Turnovers/Off. Poss. 0.55 (53)
Opp. Saves/Off. Poss. 0.28 (9)

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

  • The fact that Canisius is in the NCAA Tournament is proof that the crazy brain worms have overtaken college lacrosse in 2012. The world, however, has a weird way of righting itself sometimes, and it's just not that the Griffins will need to travel to top-seeded Loyola on Saturday; it's that Loyola is arguably the worst possible opponent that Canisius could have drawn based on the way they play. No team in the country generates more turnovers per defensive possession than the Greyhounds -- thanks to guys like Scott Ratliff, Dylan Grimm, and Joe Fletcher committing sanctioned assualt and burglary -- and there are only eight teams that commit more turnovers per offensive possession than Canisius. Simon Giourmetakis is a gifted offensive talent, but if he and the rest of the Griffins continue to play loose against an aggressive Loyola defense they're going to drown in pain. This is the biggest reason that Canisius' adjusted offensive efficiency is pretty terrible and against a defense that thrives on such opponent attributes, Loyola should really hammer the Griffins into the ground.
  • Dovetailing that last point, even if Canisius somehow manages to limit turnovers and try and maximize their offensive opportunities, there is something else that they'll need to deal with: How many actual offensive opportunities will the Griffins have compared to Loyola? The Greyhounds have dominated possession percentage all season and are currently playing about four more offensive possessions per 60 minutes of play compared to their opponents. (Canisius, contrastingly, is playing about one fewer offensive possession per 60 minutes of play than their opponents.) As Canisius is likely to need to volumize its offense against Loyola's super-efficient defense -- nobody is shooting particularly well against the Greyhounds this season and a big reason for that is that Loyola is strongly limiting assisted goal-scoring opportunities -- this possession gap may prove fatal. (As if there were actually one reason that Canisius will likely lose to Loyola.) In short, because Canisius can't stop anyone on the defensive end (save their second-half effort against Siena last weekend) and as they aren't going to have enough offensive opportunities to try and mitigate those defensive inefficiencies, this smells like the Greyhounds are going to exponentially run from the Griffins. Also, Loyola is really good at lacrosse and Canisius isn't particularly good at the game. That fact is also important.
  • The Griffins strongly rely on extra-man opportunities to make the scoreboard blink. In fact, only five teams in the country rely on the personnel imbalance to score more than Canisius. While the Griffins have had lots of opportunities this season to make this happen -- only two teams play offensive possessions with the extra attacker more than Canisius -- they're going to struggle to play in these scenarios a lot on Saturday. Loyola is in the top-third in the country in limiting man-down situations and even better at not taking penalties. With the Greyhounds' unwillingness to play man-down and Canisius' reliance on those situations to score, you can really feel the tension. (They should get a divorce or something, right?) This really has the feel of a first-rate ass beating, if you want to be perfectly honest.