The Independence Classic invades not-quite-Philadelphia this weekend to provide lacrosse tripleheader excitement to the masses. The games face-off at noon on Saturday and ESPN3/WatchESPN is the only outlet on Earth -- extraterrestrial rights are held by a company pronounced "UMM [clicking sound]," but the name of that company is written in characters that regular humans cannot understand -- that will broadcast the slate. It's the marquee event of the weekend, and as such, some College Crosse-style profiles are necessary to get your face set for melting.
ST. JOHN'S RED STORM
Conference: Big East
Spirit Animal: Cobra
.pdf of Tempo-Free Profile: Here
Four Names to Know: Kieran McArdle (A); Kevin Cernuto (A); Dillon Ayers (LSM); Jeff Lowman (G)
Two Things From My Genius Brain to Your Face:
- You have to like the potential of the Red Storm's offense. While it hasn't been crushing skulls this season -- the team's overall adjusted offensive efficiency clocks in at 17th nationally, a good mark but not a spectacular one -- the faces generating offense -- notably McArdle, Cernuto, and Colin Keegan from the attack -- are strong and should continue to improve over the course of the season. Moreover, the underlying offensive metrics that build into St. John's overall offensive efficiency illustrate that the Red Storm have been rolling with an offensive unit that is among the top 20 or so in the nation: the team is shooting fairly well, its 28.78 raw shooting rate is currently 20th in the country; the unit is willing to share the bean, assisting on 60 percent of the Red Storm's tallies this season (18th best in Division I) and are generating around 19 assists per 100 offensive opportunities (19th nationally); and when the team actually moves the ball into the attack box -- St. John's is clearing at only 82.86 percent -- the Johnnies aren't spitting the ball away, firing off over a shot per offensive possession and only losing around 10 functional offensive opportunities via a turnover per 60 minutes of play (the eighth best mark in the nation). These are all really nice things happening in the offensive end, and it continues to make the Red Storm a dangerous out.
- Outside of what the offense has accomplished at this point in the year (and there's still a long way to go), St. John's has otherwise been decidedly average in the overall, often playing exactly to their competition. The Red Storm's results this season indicate that fact -- a two-goal victory against Holy Cross (which was arguably closer than the eventual outcome) opened the Johnnies' campaign; this was followed by two one-goal victories against Yale and Siena (both exhibiting hand-to-hand combat) -- but the metrics in their profile help focus everything: The team's adjusted efficiency margin (offensive efficiency over defensive efficiency) is a mere 0.10, a value that ranks right in the middle of the nation at 33rd. A big piece of that has to do with St. John's losing offensive opportunities due to a disastrous clearing game, but a defense that is only currently ranked 40th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency isn't helping matters. With time I think that the Johnnies will come around a bit more (I still have St. John's in my top 20), but until they do, the potential to burn themselves while playing with fire is clear.
For more on St. John's opponent this weekend -- Syracuse -- check out the Orange's profile here.