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 NEC Tournament.
I'll turn it over to Chuck Mangione to describe the NEC Tournament:
Anyway, here's the heat on the NEC.
Robert Morris Robert Morrises: One-Seed
Bryant Bulldogs: Two-Seed
Quinnipiac Bobcats: Three-Seed
Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers: Four-Seed
Four pieces of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:
- Robert Morris is currently ranked sixth (!!!) in the "Fun Factor" -- basically, a formula that determines the watchability of a lacrosse team -- and there's a simple reason for it: The Colonials' offense is something akin to a pot of gold lying next to a naked lady reading Oscar Wilde. Robert Morris plays as many possessions as anyone in the land (they're currently playing about 75 possessions per 60 minutes of play); the offense is no-pants crazy efficient due to the fact that they can the bean at a 35.55 percent rate; and they share the stone more than any other team in 2012. If the Colonials could actually clear the ball at a decent clip (the team is only connecting on about 79.77 percent of their attempts, which is ninth-worst nationally), this team would be committing even more violence. Plus, Jake Hayes and Kiel Matisz are improvising explosive devices, eminently dangerous when deployed to the field.
- What has sustained Bryant this year -- other than an underappreciated defense and Jameson Love stopping just north of 60 percent of the shots he's been asked to turn away -- has been Kevin Massa's work at the dot. Massa is winning 62.8 percent of his attempts which has really helped the Bulldogs amass a plus-4.90 possession margin on the season. (That value is second nationally, trailing only North Carolina.) This has allowed Bryant to control the fatigue that is inherent in playing extra defensive possessions against offensive possessions and also allow a somewhat inefficient offense to get extra opportunities at the cage. (Bryant's raw shooting percentage and adjusted offensive efficiency only sits around the national average.) If Massa can continue to do man-work at the stripe and Love manages to resolve the metric ton of shots coming in his direction (only 11 teams yield more shots per defensive possession than the Bulldogs), Bryant has a nice shot at taking home hardware that is the equivalent to a Certificate of Attendance.
- Quinnipiac has one big thing going for them against Robert Morris tonight: The Bobcats' ride has been as effective as any this season, creating fails at a rate that ranks fifth in the country. The associated caused turnover rate for the Bobcats -- coming in at 12th nationally -- ties to that strongly. As Robert Morris has had a tough time actually getting the ball out of their own end this year, if the Bobcats can capitalize on these opportunities they have a chance to hang around with the Colonials. Otherwise, it's going to be a long trip home to Hamden from Pittsburgh.
- With respect to Mount St. Mary's, there's just one item of context here that I want to provide: The team's man-down conversion rate is horrifying (opponents are converting at a 48.39 percent clip against the Mountaineers in such situations), but there is a mitigating factor here -- The Mount rarely plays in personnel imbalances while in the defensive end. Only eight teams play fewer defensive possessions while man-down and opponents aren't really relying on those scenarios to generate tallies (the reliance rate is actually toward the top-third of the country). Where the Mountaineers are struggling this season is in even defensive situations, largely attributable to Chris Klaiber having a hell of a time actually stopping shots (he only holds a 46.1 save percentage). This is not a good thing.