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Big East Lacrosse Tournament Preview: Notre Dame-Syracuse

Get your face ready for Irish-Orange.


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 Big East Tournament.

Syracuse used a second half surge to erase Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium last weekend, earning a 10-4 victory and possibly cementing the Orange as a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament. The rematch at Villanova in the Big East Tournament isn't likely to follow the same script from a few days ago -- the Irish were uncharacteristically loose with the ball at the Meadowlands and Syracuse may not explode on a staunch Notre Dame defense in a truncated period of time -- but that narrative is subordinated behind another more lusty storyline: The league's two strongest programs looking to bash each other in the skull one last time before departing for the ACC next season.

The Orange were the reason that the lacrosse side of the Big East came to fruition; Notre Dame could be the team that leaves this iteration of the conference as its final champion.


Log5: Notre Dame (53.52%); Syracuse (46.48%)


Big East Tournament: Notre Dame (3) vs. Syracuse (2)
Pace 64.79 (42) 66.79 (29)
Opportunities Margin +0.23 (32) +0.71 (28)
Possession Ratio 50.18% (33) 50.53% (28)
Functional Offensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 30.24 (38) 31.98 (22)
Functional Offensive Opportunities Ratio 93.01% (25) 94.76% (6)
Functional Defensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 29.78 (26) 30.64 (33)
Functional Defensive Opportunities Ratio 92.25% (33) 92.72% (43)
Lost Functional Offensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 12.50 (35) 10.47 (3)
Lost Functional Offensive Opportunities Ratio 41.35% (38) 32.74% (6)
Lost Functional Defensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 13.72 (13) 12.52 (31)
Lost Functional Defensive Opportunities Ratio 46.06% (11) 40.88% (31)
Lost Functional Opportunities Margin +1.21 (16) +2.05 (7)
Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio 4.70% (34) 8.13% (7)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 31.46 (21) 35.37 (11)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 22.57 (2) 26.56 (15)
Adjusted Efficiency Margin +8.89 (7) +8.81 (9)
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.16 (18) 1.10 (32)
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 27.36% (33) 32.32% (8)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 0.90 (2) 0.99 (12)
Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 27.27% (22) 28.20% (35)
Offensive Assist Ratio 55.15% (40) 62.94% (11)
Offensive Assist Rate 17.48 (30) 22.43 (6)
Defensive Assist Ratio 61.90% (48) 50.00% (8)
Defensive Assist Rate 15.26 (18) 13.92 (6)
Extra-Man Postures per 100 Offensive Opportunities 8.86 (51) 9.22 (46)
Extra-Man Posture Reliance 6.62% (62) 8.82% (53)
Extra-Man Posture Conversion Rate 23.68% (57) 34.09% (33)
Man-Down Postures per 100 Defensive Opportunities 8.45 (6) 11.35 (42)
Man-Down Posture Reliance 8.57% (9) 17.69% (60)
Man-Down Posture Conversion Rate 25.00% (8) 43.40% (59)
Penalties per 100 Opportunities (Team) 4.56 (8) 5.72 (36)
Penalties per 100 Opportunities (Opponent) 4.44 (57) 4.87 (48)
Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities (Team) 16.90 (61) 20.99 (36)
Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities (Opponent) 20.51 (21) 15.30 (4)
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Team) 45.45 (32) 36.27 (4)
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Opponent) 50.23 (11) 45.18 (32)
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Team) 24.94 (48) 20.96 (16)
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Opponent) 33.33 (1) 24.20 (22)
Team "Run-of-Play Work Rate" (Non-Faceoff Groundballs per 100 Total Opportunities) 23.98 (53) 25.85 (44)
Opponent "Run-of-Play Work Rate" (Non-Faceoff Groundballs per 100 Total Opportunities) 26.43 (24) 22.14 (1)
"Run-of-Play Work Rate" Margin -2.46 (44) +3.71 (10)
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 27.23 (59) 27.19 (61)
Saves per 100 Offensive Opportunities 32.40 (24) 31.45 (14)
Team Save Percentage 52.49% (33) 49.42% (50)
Opponent Save Percentage 50.55% (21) 46.88% (8)


Two pieces of incredibly important information about each team from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • The Irish defense is such a tough nut to crack. Notre Dame is so disciplined, so well coached, that they force the opposition to beat them; Gerry Byrne's defense just doesn't beat itself. The Irish rarely put themselves in difficult situations where the opposition is in a preferred scoring posture, and even when they are, Notre Dame recovers as well as any team in the country. The team's performance against Syracuse was a blip in Notre Dame's overall defensive performance this season, and I think that the Irish will recover well: Notre Dame is yielding more assisted tallies this season than in 2012 (in other words, the Irish are giving up more preferable scoring opportunities than a season ago), and that reared its head against the Orange (Syracuse generated an assist on almost 28 percent of their possessions), but with the athletes that the Irish have on the defensive side of the ball -- Stephen O'Hara, Matt Miller, Brian Buglione, et al. -- Notre Dame should come more correct at Villanova on Wednesday. There's just so much readied terror and pain wrapped in that Irish defense that if it plays to its potential, it erases much of the offensive concerns that Notre Dame is dealing with (especially when John Kemp is on his game, backstopping the entire thing). Now, Notre Dame still has questions as to how well the Irish will value the ball -- Notre Dame treated the bean as if it were an orb of nuclear waste against the Orange on Saturday and haven't been air-tight with their ball management this season (notably spitting the bit in the attack box) -- but this much is clear: The Irish require some volume to score, and against and Orange team that does a strong job at limiting giveaways, Notre Dame is going to need to keep pace in maximizing offensive opportunities in order to give its defense a fighting chance.
  • Syracuse can probably survive against Notre Dame if it struggles in the possession margin game -- the Orange look competitive in that metric profile based on how Syracuse goes about its business, even if the Irish have an arguable advantage at the faceoff dot -- but the Orange's posture changes dramatically if they are given some extra opportunities: As noted, the Irish's defense is a pain in the ass, and Syracuse may need some volume to generate tallies against it (even if the Orange hasn't heavily relied on volume to make the scoreboard blink this season). How Syracuse approaches its offense when given opportunities, however, may dictate the outcome of the game: If the Orange can create a thousand-points-of-light offense -- sharing the ball as they have been all season (building this with JoJo Marasco and Kevin Rice); leveraging usage responsibility throughout the offense (six players -- Marasco (55), Rice (46), Luke Cometti (82), Derek Maltz (69), Henry Schoonmaker (44), and Scott Loy (40) -- have taken at least 40 shots for the Orange this year accounting for about 64 percent of the team's attempts); generating offense and attempts from different areas of the field and from different modes of attack; never turning over the ball so that fluidity is maintained; getting opportunities in transition; etc. -- Syracuse can cause the Irish defense to react to discomforting situations. The Orange have the offensive capabilities to surmount Notre Dame's defensive unit, it's just a matter of creating preferable opportunities against a team that is disciplined against it happening. Basically, if Syracuse can rip a sweet saxophone improvisation, their chances for victory improve dramatically.