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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Semifinals: Cornell v. (7) Duke

Everything you need to know about the Big Red and Blue Devils ahead of their semifinals bout at Lincoln Financial Field.

Winslow Townson

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, 2:30 P.M.
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Broadcast: ESPN2
Game "Fun Factor" Rank: 1st (5.5590)
log5 Victory Probabilities: Cornell -- 71.86%; Duke -- 28.14%
First Round: Cornell d. (6) Maryland (16-8); (7) Duke d. Loyola (12-11 (OT))
Quarterfinals: Cornell d. (3) Ohio State (16-6); (7) Duke d. (2) Notre Dame (12-11)

From Right In Front Of Your Face

(7) Duke Blue Devils: ACC, At-Large

Record 14-5 Clearing Rate 88.36% (17)
Adj. Off. Eff. 37.86 (6) Riding Rate 14.79% (25)
Adj. Def. Eff. 30.89 (31) Faceoff % 62.48% (3)
Adj. Eff. Margin 6.97 (11) Pace 68.57 (20)
Pyth. Win Exp. 65.26% (14) Off. Opps./60 Min. 37.27 (6)
Opps. Margin 5.97 (3) Def. Opps./60 Min. 31.30 (16)
Opps. Ratio 54.35% (3)
Save % 48.92% (50) Sht. % 32.19% (9)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 30.43 (47) Opnt. Save % 48.33% (11)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.09 (33) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 34.55 (36)
Opnt. Sht. % 29.14% (42) Shts/Off. Opp. 1.15 (20)
Def. Assist Rate 17.56 (36) Off. Assist Rate 21.21 (10)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 13.71 (58) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 8.01 (58)
EMD Conversion % 39.02% (46) EMO Conversion % 36.84% (22)
EMD Reliance 16.84% (58) EMO Reliance 7.98% (61)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 51.67 (8) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 38.76 (9)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 28.26 (2) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 24.58 (45)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 23.41 (21) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 14.19 (1)


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

  • I've already written words on this Internet computing website about Duke's proclivity for committing penalties and playing in man-down postures (and what that may or may not mean about the Devils' chances against Cornell), so I'm going in a different direction today with respect to an interesting aspect of Duke's profile -- if the Devils get into a scoring war with the Big Red (and I think that's the best way for the Devils to win given the potential circumstances of the game), will the rate of execution for Duke (dictating the team's success ceiling) turn on the team's ability to limit giveaways? Duke's offensive turnover rate this season has been low (albeit tainted with a high rate of unforced turnovers relative to the rest of the country), but Cornell has been annihilating opponents with caused turnovers. Valuing the ball, especially for the Blue Devils, is especially important if Duke hopes to move on to Memorial Monday: (1) A scoring war -- by its very nature -- tends to crown the team that values and converts on its functional offensive possessions at the highest rate (and Duke has the snipers and overall offensive unit to efficiently can the bean if it maintains possession of the ball); (2) Limiting Cornell's ability to go in transition -- from a giveaway -- mitigates exposed postures for Kyle Turri (an uneven keeper at this stage in his career) and doesn't require him to stand on his head and make stops in difficult circumstances; (3) If Duke values possession it necessarily keeps the ball out of Rob Pannell's crosse; and (4) Any possession margin that Duke is potentially able to generate through Brendan Fowler's work at the dot -- Cornell's Doug Tesoriero will change Fowler all day -- is blown to smithereens if Duke pitches possessions away with turnovers. Turnovers are momentum killers, instances of lost focus that ruin the notion of manifest destiny. If Duke wants to make the scoreboard blink against the Red and keep pace with what Cornell may do against the Devils' questionable defense, Duke needs to value the ball.

Cornell Big Red: Ivy, At-Large

Record 14-3 Clearing Rate 86.98% (30)
Adj. Off. Eff. 39.06 (4) Riding Rate 17.20% (9)
Adj. Def. Eff. 23.56 (4) Faceoff % 55.90% (12)
Adj. Eff. Margin 15.51 (1) Pace 74.33 (3)
Pyth. Win Exp. 82.75% (1) Off. Opps./60 Min. 38.31 (2)
Opps. Margin 2.29 (15) Def. Opps./60 Min. 36.02 (56)
Opps. Ratio 51.54% (15)
Save % 52.27% (35) Sht. % 32.46% (8)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 26.22 (63) Opnt. Save % 42.86% (2)
Shts/Def. Opp. 0.90 (1) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 28.48 (4)
Opnt. Sht. % 26.53% (16) Shts/Off. Opp. 1.17 (14)
Def. Assist Rate 13.84 (7) Off. Assist Rate 20.21 (15)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 10.10 (24) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 7.81 (61)
EMD Conversion % 22.58% (4) EMO Conversion % 39.22% (14)
EMD Reliance 9.52% (15) EMO Reliance 8.06% (60)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 51.30 (9) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 39.82 (10)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 23.29 (30) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 22.97 (31)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 28.01 (7) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 16.85 (7)


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

  • Cornell is better than Duke, and the Red are probably the strongest team left in the tournament. This doesn't mean that the Red can play with a cup of Starbucks in their off hand on Saturday -- it is a tournament after all, and tournaments have a weird way of twisting reality for its own purpose -- but Cornell, if it plays to its potential, is a notable favorite entering their semifinal date with the Devils. If Cornell is able to accomplish what it does best (the functional aspects that build into the Red's success this season), a Memorial Monday adventure should appear on their itinerary. That means: (1) Cornell plays smart, aggressive defense in the box and on their ride, forcing tough shots, potentially putting the ball on the ground, and creating a web of terror for the Devils' myriad of offensive weapons and the various ways that they attack opposing defensive units; (2) The Red dominates loose balls -- tough against a Duke team that is in virtually the same territory as Cornell in terms of run-of-play groundball margin -- thereby killing defensive opportunities and potentially springing transition to attack the Devils' defense in a preferential posture; (3) Cornell values and shares the ball in the offensive end, running the offense through Rob Pannell -- big players in big moments need to make the biggest plays -- and taking quality shots against a questionable keeper; and (4) Cornell takes advantage of extra-man opportunities, making the opposition pay for sins and potentially creating a gap on the scoreboard. These are the kind of things that the Red have been doing all season; deviation from these performance aspects is the biggest concern for Cornell.