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2015 Patriot League Lacrosse Tournament Preview

The Patriot League opens its tournament with Navy in the pole position.

Everything that's worth knowing about the Patriot League Tournament.

Participants

2015 PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
SEED TEAM PATRIOT LEAGUE RECORD LEAGUE WINS LEAGUE LOSSES
1. Navy 6-2 Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Colgate, Boston University, Army Bucknell, Loyola
2. Colgate 6-2 Lafayette, Bucknell, Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Army Boston University, Navy
3. Bucknell 5-3 Navy, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Loyola Colgate, Boston University, Army
4. Loyola 5-3 Lehigh, Army, Lafayette, Navy, Boston University Holy Cross, Colgate, Bucknell
5. Army 4-4 Lafayette, Lehigh, Bucknell, Boston University Holy Cross, Loyola, Navy, Colgate
6. Lehigh 3-5 Boston University, Holy Cross, Lafayette Loyola, Bucknell, Navy, Army, Colgate

Times, Dates of Matchups

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (Quarterfinals -- at Higher Seed):

  • (6) Lehigh at (3) Bucknell: 7:00 PM (ET)
  • (5) Army at (4) Loyola: 4:00 PM (ET)

Friday, April 24, 2015 (Semifinals -- at Navy):

  • Lowest Remaining Quaterfinal Seed v. (1) Navy: 4:30 PM (ET)
  • Highest Remaining Quarterfinal Seed v. (2) Colgate: 7:30 PM (ET)

Sunday, April 26, 2015 (Championship -- at Navy):

  • Semifinal I Winner v. Semifinal II Winner: 1:00 PM (ET)

Television/Internet

The quarterfinal round is web-only with both games broadcast on the Patriot League Network. Links to the league's free -- !!! -- livestream of both games is here. CBS Sports Network will carry both semifinal games and the conference's championship game live.

League Tournament Spirit Animal

A drunk sand tiger shark, a cannibalistic predator that has a taste for any kind of blood -- including its own.

Conference Attribute Profile

Here's how the Patriot League compares to the rest of the nation:

THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: 2015 CONFERENCE ATTRIBUTE PROFILE
LEAGUE LEAGUE STRENGTH RANK INTERNAL COMPETITIVENESS RANK AVG. WIN% RANK
Patriot League 55.22% 4 0.1489 3 52.66% 5

Truncated Scouting Reports

The stylistic profiles of the Patriot League Tournament's participants looks as follows:

THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: 2015 TRUNCATED SCOUTING REPORTS
METRIC NAVY COLGATE BUCKNELL LOYOLA ARMY LEHIGH
Estimated Pace 63.71 (33) 61.49 (46) 64.41 (28) 61.39 (47) 64.69 (27) 61.68 (45)
Estimated Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin +4.18 (9) -2.07 (50) 0.00 (33) +2.00 (21) +2.23 (20) -1.39 (44)
Estimated Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio +7.28% (9) +3.48% (22) +2.59 (2) +3.21% (26) +3.41% (23) -1.05% (43)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 29.80 (47) 34.72 (18) 31.30 (37) 36.79 (12) 32.53 (28) 34.59 (20)
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.02 (57) 1.03 (54) 29.32 (24) 1.29 (2) 1.13 (33) 1.14 (29)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 57.96% (44) 62.06% (14) 59.12% (35) 55.07%(57) 60.98% (18) 60.74% (21)
Offensive Shooting Rate 28.74% (31) 32.79% (12) 27.69% (37) 27.45% (38) 30.89% (17) 29.98% (22)
Offensive Assist Rate 15.70 (48) 19.55 (24) 13.98 (58) 22.30 (11) 21.15 (15) 19.60 (23)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 27.98 (14) 28.60 (16) 29.32 (24) 32.56 (42) 22.43 (2) 29.71 (26)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 0.99 (6) 1.11 (31) 0.95 (3) 1.31 (66) 0.89 (2) 1.05 (18)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 60.45% (49) 51.42% (1) 63.59% (66) 53.76% (4) 56.67% (17) 60.32% (46)
Defensive Shooting Rate 28.13% (35) 25.71% (15) 30.67% (53) 26.24% (21) 25.00% (10) 29.66% (44)
Defensive Assist Rate 14.33 (13) 15.40 (20) 21.33 (59) 20.19 (52) 11.33 (1) 16.84 (27)
Faceoff Percentage 61.89% (7) 40.66%(62) 41.75% (60) 55.49%(14) 56.29% (13) 44.83% (48)
Clearing Percentage 83.57% (45) 82.86% (49) 84.06% (42) 87.04% (20) 89.29% (8) 86.23% (28)
Turnover Margin +7.63 (14) +2.90 (28) +9.72 (6) +4.49 (23) +7.18 (16) +1.12 (32)
"Run of Play" Groundballs Margin +2.83 (18) +3.10 (16) +3.20 (15) -1.16 (39) +0.24 (29) +4.95 (8)
Penalties Margin +0.64 (20) +0.94 (16) -3.20 (68) +0.58 (22) +0.59 (21) +0.22 (29)
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 31.96 (48) 28.46 (64) 31.28 (54) 36.06 (24) 28.08 (67) 32.21 (46)
Team Save Percentage 53.46%(28) 50.00% (47) 51.76% (36) 51.19% (38) 55.88% (12) 50.83% (42)

Three Things

  • The Patriot League -- the nation's largest conference -- probably isn't sending more than one of its members to the NCAA Tournament. This situation has heightened the importance of somehow surviving a leveraged postseason event featuring significant internal competitiveness between the conference's top six teams, and the champion that eventually comes out of Annapolis with the Patriot League's automatic invitation to The Big Barbeque will likely make its May adventure without a peer in tow. LaxPower's latest NCAA Tournament selection probabilities confirm this theory, illustrating Navy as the slight favorite to win the Patriot League Tournament but holding only a 30 percent at-large probability to make the most important field. Everything behind the Midshipmen is an inverse interpretation of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken, and this fact has manufactured an elevated degree of urgency to run through a conference tournament that has no clear favorite and many legitimate contenders.
  • A key to Navy's success this season has been the Mids' ability to push possession margin in their favor. With an estimated possession margin per 60 minutes just north of four possessions over their opponents nationally, the Midshipmen have been able to create opportunity volume to mask some efficiency issues on the offensive end of the field. This is a pretty notable plot point for the Mids: Navy has played five one-goal games this season (around 42 percent of Navy's games this season have been one-goal affairs), and the Midshipmen are 4-1 in one-goal games in which Navy held an estimated possession advantage over their opponent (the team's average estimated possession margin in one-goal victories is almost four possessions per game, that possession margin in each game averaging about a two-goal impact on the scoreboard (the value drops to about one-goal per game if you exclude the team's plus-eight performance against Lehigh)). This happens to be the same record that the Mids have in one-goal games in 2015. If Navy's opponents in the Patriot League Tournament can shrink the possession gap that the Midshipmen tend to play with (that extends beyond simply chewing into Navy's execution at the dot) and erode some of the efficiency that the Mids' defense has run with this season, there is enough evidence kicking around that dropping Navy is a manageable accomplishment.
  • The 4-5 matchup between Loyola and Army today may set the stage for a low-seeded run to the Patriot League title. The 'Hounds and Black Knights are basically in a toss-up situation at Ridley this evening -- the stylistic differences between the two teams could tip the balance between the competitively equal sides -- and whichever of the two underseeded teams are able to survive this brutal deathmatch will have an opportunity to charge forward toward the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The teams seeded ahead of Loyola and Army aren't exactly populating an unattainable position in the national hierarchy, and depending on which ranking system is utilized to determine relative strength between Division I teams, the Greyhounds and Cadets are comparable to the Midshipmen, Raiders, and Bison. There wouldn't be a sense of the unexpected if Loyola or Army are able to parlay a win in the quarterfinals into an invitation to The Big Barbeque (even though their seeds in the Patriot League's postseason event aren't indicative of teams hovering around the nation's top 20, both the 'Hounds and Black Knights are in that conversation), and that realization affirms exactly what the Patriot League has been in 2015 -- a conference of balance that does whatever the hell it damn well pleases at any given moment in time.