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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Quarterfinals: Yale v. (1) Syracuse

Everything you need to know about the Orange and Bulldogs ahead of their quarterfinals bout at Byrd Stadium.


It's the 2013 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.

From 10,000 Feet

Date and Time: Saturday, 3:00 P.M.
Location: Byrd Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Broadcast: ESPN2
Game "Fun Factor" Rank: 3rd (4.0602)
log5 Victory Probabilities: Syracuse -- 56.49%; Yale -- 43.51%
First Round: Syracuse d. Bryant (12-7); Yale d. (8) Penn State (10-7)

From Right In Front Of Your Face

(1) Syracuse Orange: Big East, Automatic Qualifier

Record 14-3 Clearing Rate 91.83% (3)
Adj. Off. Eff. 35.62 (9) Riding Rate 12.42% (46)
Adj. Def. Eff. 25.71 (13) Faceoff % 43.38% (53)
Adj. Eff. Margin 9.90 (4) Pace 66.30 (33)
Pyth. Win Exp. 73.31% (4) Off. Opps./60 Min. 33.27 (33)
Opps. Margin 0.23 (29) Def. Opps./60 Min. 33.04 (33)
Opps. Ratio 50.18% (18)
Save % 50.83% (41) Sht. % 32.28% (9)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 27.21 (60) Opnt. Save % 48.22% (12)
Shts/Def. Opp. 0.97 (9) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 33.33 (31)
Opnt. Sht. % 27.04% (23) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.11 (31)
Def. Assist Rate 13.25 (5) Off. Assist Rate 22.28 (6)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 10.60 (33) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 9.30 (46)
EMD Conversion % 41.67% (56) EMO Conversion % 37.74% (18)
EMD Reliance 16.78% (58) EMO Reliance 9.80% (50)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 45.76 (27) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 36.32 (5)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 25.09 (18) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 20.53 (17)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 20.67 (40) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 15.79 (5)


One piece of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • A Syracuse fan emailed me on Monday morning basically saying that the Orange's side of the bracket had opened up with Yale beating Penn State last weekend, allowing for a preferable trip to Championship Weekend for John Desko's program. I broke him the bad news in the most polite way possible: He was likely suffering from serious head trauma and should seek immediate medical attention. Penn State and Yale both offer difficult circumstances for Syracuse, but the Elis -- based on their comparative balance at both ends of the field -- is probably the more difficult draw for the Orange in the quarterfinals. The Orange are facing a situation where it will need to deal with four important things: (1) Syracuse is, more likely than not, going to play at a noted possession deficit against the Bulldogs thanks to Dylan Levings' prodigious work at the dot; (2) The Orange aren't guaranteed the opportunity to significantly close the possession deficit it will play with due to the fact that Yale does a decent job at maximizing offensive opportunities (limiting unforced or forced giveaways); (3) Yale's somewhat pragmatic pace -- not in the basement of the country but among the bottom third -- is going to be a factor for the Orange from a mental and physical fatigue standpoint; and (4) The Elis' field defense -- featuring The Michaels (McCormack and Quinn), Peter Johnson, and Jimmy Craft -- is uniquely situated to attack Syracuse's multi-faceted offense, causing turnovers and doing a nice job at monitoring off-ball movement to limit overexposure to Eric Natale. The Orange's offense is going to need to come correct and operate efficiently -- in shot selection, valuing the ball (which it has done all season long (save the nightmarish game against Villanova)), and picking corners on Natale -- but the volition of the game is likely contingent on how well the Syracuse defense performs: That unit is going to get a workout all day long; how well (1) Dominic Lamolinara is able to turn away shots -- the Elis aren't afraid to test the strength of the opposition's crease play -- and (2) the field defense keeps tabs on Yale's attack (Brandon Mangan is one of the most dangerous offensive players remaining in the tournament and Conrad Oberbeck and Kirby Zdrill are nuclear-powered when they get a sniff of the cage) and Colin Flaherty through the midfield may dictate whether the Orange is able to survive a game in which its offense doesn't have many opportunities hammer the Bulldogs' defensive brick.

Yale Bulldogs: Ivy, Automatic Qualifier

Record 12-4 Clearing Rate 87.38% (23)
Adj. Off. Eff. 31.63 (19) Riding Rate 15.46% (20)
Adj. Def. Eff. 24.84 (8) Faceoff % 59.18% (6)
Adj. Eff. Margin 6.79 (13) Pace 64.26 (45)
Pyth. Win Exp. 67.90% (11) Off. Opps./60 Min. 34.28 (21)
Opps. Margin 4.29 (6) Def. Opps./60 Min. 29.98 (7)
Opps. Ratio 53.34% (6)
Save % 53.28% (27) Sht. % 26.47% (41)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 30.29 (47) Opnt. Save % 52.29% (27)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.00 (13) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 33.21 (30)
Opnt. Sht. % 26.56% (17) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.15 (21)
Def. Assist Rate 14.73 (12) Off. Assist Rate 18.87 (23)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 12.86 (53) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 13.79 (9)
EMD Conversion % 32.26% (25) EMO Conversion % 34.21% (34)
EMD Reliance 15.63% (53) EMO Reliance 15.57% (10)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 53.94 (4) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 43.74 (25)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 25.10 (17) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 22.14 (27)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 28.84 (5) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 21.60 (30)


One piece of incredibly important information from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • There are three things that potentially interest me most about Yale going into their date with Syracuse: (1) Whether the Elis turn Syracuse over; (2) Whether Eric Natale is ready to face one of the stronger offenses in the country; and (3) Whether the Bulldogs have enough offense in totem to wreck an Orange defense that hangs around the top 10 nationally in terms of performance. With respect to the first item, I don't think that Yale necessarily needs to turn Syracuse over (nor are the Orange particularly prone to giving the ball away or having it taken from them), but if the Bulldogs are able to get the ball on the ground and corral loose beans (another facet of play that isn't a given for Yale), the Elis: (1) exacerbate the Orange's possession-starved circumstances, thus killing the offensive efficiency that Syracuse needs to stay in the game; (2) get transition opportunities to the net, disallowing the Orange to get in a six-on-six defensive posture where they can insulate Lamolinara and allow the keeper to see savable (or more savable) shots; and (3) are able to further dictate the pace of the game and further grow its possession margin on the day. I'm not sure that the Bulldogs are going to get a lot of this given how the Orange operate in valuing the bean, but it's something to keep tabs on. Next, Natale has started to turn the corner a bit between the pipes but still isn't an elite ball stopper. The question that I have about him this weekend is whether, if the Bulldogs aren't turning the Orange over, he's ready to deal with Syracuse potentially getting good looks at the cage given the way that the Orange deftly move the ball around the attack box. Natale is going to need a few big saves at Byrd; does he have it in him to stone-cold stuff Syracuse's stable of offensive weapons? Finally, the Bulldogs are fairly attack-oriented; the Elis get decent action from their midfield, but Yale doesn't exhibit a profile where there is great balance between the midfield and the attack in direct point generation (although midfield responsibilities are leveraged among the unit). With Syracuse's battalion of defensive stars focused on Yale's attack, will the Elis' midfield step to the front and cause havoc or can the team's attack flourish despite the attention it will receive?