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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Albany at (4) Denver

Everything you need to know about the Great Danes and Pioneers ahead of their first round game.

Rob Carr

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, 7:30 P.M.
Location: Peter Barton Stadium, Denver, Colorado
Broadcast: ESPNU
Game "Fun Factor" Rank: 2nd (5.4750)
log5 Victory Probabilities: Denver -- 58.65%; Albany -- 41.35%

From Right In Front Of Your Face

(4) Denver Pioneers: ECAC, At-Large

Record 12-4 Clearing Rate 93.41% (2)
Adj. Off. Eff. 41.82 (1) Riding Rate 5.24% (63)
Adj. Def. Eff. 31.92 (35) Faceoff % 50.37% (29)
Adj. Eff. Margin 9.90 (6) Pace 59.03 (61)
Pyth. Win Exp. 69.79% (9) Off. Opps./60 Min. 53.91 (60)
Opps. Margin 1.42 (21) Def. Opps./60 Min. 28.80 (2)
Opps. Ratio 51.20% (20)
Save % 56.81% (9) Sht. % 33.33% (6)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 42.06 (6) Opnt. Save % 45.13% (6)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.27 (59) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 33.13 (29)
Opnt. Sht. % 25.25% (11) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.21 (7)
Def. Assist Rate 17.81 (38) Off. Assist Rate 22.49 (5)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 9.66 (19) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 11.66 (21)
EMD Conversion % 24.44% (6) EMO Conversion % 33.33% (36)
EMD Reliance 7.38% (4) EMO Reliance 9.64% (48)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 35.62 (63) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 39.88 (11)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 16.95 (63) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 20.86 (17)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 18.67 (48) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 19.02 (12)


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

  • This shouldn't make blood leak from your ears, but Denver's offense has been the major driver for the team's success this season. There's going to be all kinds of Internet real estate dedicated to the Pioneers' offensive weapons leading into Denver's date with Albany, but I think there are two things about the Pioneers' approach that tends to disappear but are important: (1) How Denver generates its offensive opportunities (allowing the offense to destroy the soul of opposing defenses); and (2) Not necessarily how Denver gets its tallies, but rather how Denver allows for the scoreboard to blink. With respect to the first item, the Pioneers have had around 476 offensive opportunities this season (opportunities to breach the attack box); Denver has matriculated around 458 of those opportunities into the attack box, allowing Eric Law and the rest of Denver's sledgehammers to crush some skulls. That's an incredible ratio of opportunities -- around 96 percent -- that have turned into functional offensive possessions (postures given to the most efficient offense in the nation). Denver gets value out of its opportunity generation (about 56 percent of those opportunities come via a clear), and it’s this important predecessor to the Pioneers actually buzzing in the attack box that builds into the team's overall offensive value relative to the team's success ceiling. With respect to the second item, when Denver gets into the attack box they are both unwilling to permit the opposition to cause a turnover and limit unforced turnovers: Approximately 38 percent of Denver's functional opportunities are lost in the attack box via a turnover and just about 22 percent of their trips into the green zone are lost via an unforced giveaway (this is heavily estimated). It's not just that Denver has a Browning machine gun for an offense; it's how the Pioneers maximize opportunities for that offense and how the offense values those possessions.

Albany Great Danes: America East, Automatic Qualifier

Record 13-4 Clearing Rate 89.50% (10)
Adj. Off. Eff. 37.33 (7) Riding Rate 15.50%(21)
Adj. Def. Eff. 31.90 (34) Faceoff % 50.47% (28)
Adj. Eff. Margin 5.44 (17) Pace 79.08 (1)
Pyth. Win Exp. 61.96% (19) Off. Opps./60 Min. 41.21 (1)
Opps. Margin 3.34 (9) Def. Opps./60 Min. 37.87 (59)
Opps. Ratio 52.11% (12)
Save % 48.37% (52) Sht. % 36.06% (1)
Saves/100 Def. Opps. 29.83 (51) Opnt. Save % 41.42% (1)
Shts/Def. Opp. 1.05 (22) Saves/100 Off. Opps. 1.08 (35)
Opnt. Sht. % 30.43% (50) Sht/Off. Opp. 1.08 (35)
Def. Assist Rate 17.62 (37) Off. Assist Rate 22.02 (8)
EMD/100 Def. Opps. 10.36 (30) EMO/100 Off. Opps. 10.94 (24)
EMD Conversion % 29.85% (17) EMO Conversion % 41.56% (9)
EMD Reliance 9.71% (17) EMO Reliance 11.72% (31)
Opnt. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 43.89 (36) T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 42.47 (18)
Opnt. Unforc. T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 23.65 (27) Unforc. T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 23.30 (33)
Caused T/O per 100 Def. Opps. 20.25 (40) Opnt. Caused T/O per 100 Off. Opps. 19.18 (13)


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

  • It's not that Albany is an overly turnover-prone team. When you look at the Great Danes' values on a per possession basis -- eliminating all the noise that pace-included values hold -- Albany is doing pretty well considering how hectic the team can play at times and how the Great Danes generate their offense. The problem with Albany, when comparing the Great Danes to Denver, is that while the two teams are comparable with respect to defensive efficiency (but the Pioneers are much stronger in the net than Albany), nobody in the nation is as efficient as Denver when they possess the ball. Albany isn't all that far behind the Pioneers, but to beat Denver -- in Denver at altitude -- the Great Danes either need to play stronger than Denver on the defensive end (to create efficiency margin) or create more value in their offensive opportunities than the Pioneers. Assuming that Albany won't play beyonds its defensive profile, that means the team needs to clear over 90 percent to maximize offensive opportunity generation (which shouldn't be too difficult given Denver's non-factor ride), getting extra value out of its ride, fighting with Chase Carraro on the whistle, and limiting unforced turnovers to a rate that matches or surpasses how the Pioneers value the ball. It's this aspect of play in the attack box (limiting unforced turnovers in the green zone) that is most important for the Great Danes -- it's not good enough to commit unforced turnovers against Denver's defense (an average defense) at a rate around the national average because at the other end of the field the Pioneers rarely take a shotgun to their foot. This is a value situation for Albany, and unforced turnovers may dictate the kind of value that the Great Danes generate relative to the value that Denver creates.