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2015 America East Lacrosse Tournament Preview

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The America East opens its tournament with Albany in the pole position.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Everything that's worth knowing about the America East Tournament.

Participants

2015 AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT
SEED TEAM AMERICA EAST RECORD LEAGUE WINS LEAGUE LOSSES
1. Albany 6-0 Stony Brook, Hartford, UMass-Lowell, Vermont, Binghamton, UMBC None
2. Stony Brook 5-1 UMBC, Vermont, UMass-Lowell, Binghamton, Hartford Albany
3. Vermont 4-2 UMass-Lowell, UMBC, Hartford, Binghamton Stony Brook, Albany
4. Hartford 3-3 UMass-Lowell, Binghamton, UMBC Albany, Vermont, Stony Brook

Times, Dates of Matchups

Thursday, April 30, 2015 (Semifinals -- at Albany):

  • (3) Vermont v. (2) Stony Brook: 4:30 PM (ET)
  • (4) Hartford v. (1) Albany: 7:00 PM (ET)

Saturday, May 2, 2015 (Championship -- at Albany):

  • Semifinal I Winner v. Semifinal II Winner: 10:00 AM (ET)

Television/Internet

The America East will stream -- for free! -- the conference tournament's two semifinal games on AmericaEast.tv. ESPNU will carry the championship game live. The championship game will also be available on the WatchESPN app.

League Tournament Spirit Animal

Ted Nugent with a fu manchu mustache. You know stuff is going to happen if Ted Nugent is wearing a fu manchu mustache.

Conference Attribute Profile

Here's how the America East compares to the rest of the nation:

THE AMERICA EAST: 2015 CONFERENCE ATTRIBUTE PROFILE
LEAGUE LEAGUE STRENGTH RANK INTERNAL COMPETITIVENESS RANK AVG. WIN% RANK
America East 46.65% 7/10 0.2417 10/10 46.86% 6/10

Truncated Scouting Reports

The stylistic profiles of the America East Tournament's participants looks as follows:

THE AMERICA EAST: 2015 TRUNCATED SCOUTING REPORTS
METRIC ALBANY S. BROOK VERMONT HARTFORD
Estimated Pace 76.60 (4) 62.48 (39) 78.61 (2) 66.54 (18)
Estimated Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin +0.87 (26) +2.24 (19) -1.32 (44) +1.61 (24)
Estimated Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio +6.49% (12) +8.38% (5) -8.85% (61) -1.24% (45)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 43.64 (1) 40.93 (4) 30.42 (42) 27.43 (56)
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.21 (17) 1.05 (51) 1.08 (46) 0.99 (62)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 65.01% (5) 69.03% (1) 60.73% (19) 57.56% (45)
Offensive Shooting Rate 36.84% (2) 40.98% (1) 28.78% (29) 29.19% (26)
Offensive Assist Rate 27.88 (2) 29.37 (1) 19.32 (23) 17.66 (37)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 26.59 (6) 33.43 (48) 35.97 (58) 33.26 (45)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 0.95 (3) 1.00 (8) 1.10 (29) 1.07 (23)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 60.89% (54) 60.25% (46) 62.67% (63) 62.85% (64)
Defensive Shooting Rate 27.86% (32) 33.33% (67) 31.78% (58) 30.32% (51)
Defensive Assist Rate 12.32 (5) 19.38 (47) 20.83 (57) 21.12 (60)
Faceoff Percentage 46.10% (45) 53.32% (24) 52.24% (27) 54.23% (21)
Clearing Percentage 88.89% (9) 87.65% (14) 82.55% (52) 81.58% (55)
Turnover Margin +9.01 (6) +8.88 (7) -8.04 (58) -2.64 (48)
"Run of Play" Groundballs Margin +10.36 (1) +4.08 (11) -1.76 (46) -2.52 (50)
Penalties Margin +1.57 (10) +1.59 (8) -0.76 (52) -1.37 (61)
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 31.51 (50) 26.80 (69) 34.05 (32) 34.91 (29)
Team Save Percentage 54.24% (20) 44.67% (65) 49.28% (50) 51.76% (36)

Three Things

  • A Stony Brook-Albany final wouldn't just feature the America East's two best teams. A Seawolves-Great Danes championship game would put two insanely fun offenses on the same field in front of a national television audience that's full of eggs and melon. These two teams have been maniacal on the offensive end of the field in 2015, putting a high ratio of their shots on goal and converting their attempts at a ridiculous rate. Combined with each team's willingness to share the ball and create preferred scoring opportunities, these offenses have shattered souls throughout the year and are positioned well to dynamite a hole where Bob Ford Field once stood if both meet in the America East Tournament title game. This is what makes a league like the America East such an interesting enterprise: Showcasing a freak show that doesn't deviate from either team's modus operandi has the potential to generate a unique firefight that can both determine a particular team's NCAA Tournament aspirations and what is possible on the lacrosse field when confluent forces meet. You should want a Stony Brook-Albany final not only because it would provide the most competitively balanced game; you should want it because it could cause the scoreboard to smoke in weird in dangerous forms as Lyle Thompson and Mike Rooney find new ways to melt your face. A 30-goal game is reasonable should the Seawolves and Great Danes meet this Saturday morning, replicating the effort the teams put on back in March, and that would be good both for the America East and Average Lacrosse Fan.
  • Stony Brook is likely a long shot to make the NCAA Tournament field as an at-large selection if the Seawolves are unable to collar the league's automatic invitation to The Big Barbeque, but Albany may have an alternative path to a May adventure of the Great Danes fall in the America East Tournament. The issue for Albany, though, is that -- right now -- the team is in a slippery position and isn't going to get a ton of resume help in its conference's postseason event. LaxPower's latest tournament selection probabilities give Albany a 52.66 percent chance to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large candidate, sitting at the same probability as Brown and just under Yale -- a team that the Great Danes hold a head-to-head result against -- and Georgetown. That's a tight window to fit through, and if Maryland or Denver fail to win their league tournaments or if the Ivy League Tournament goes sideways, Albany's opportunity to move through as an at-large nominee to the most important lacrosse moment of the season becomes even tenser. Albany was ranked ninth in the top 10 that the selection committee issued last week, but playing Hartford and Stony Brook or Vermont can only hurt an at-large resume more than it can help. If Albany doesn't lift the America East Tournament trophy on Saturday, the Great Danes could have an anxious Sunday despite being one of the most fun and capable teams in the country.
  • Vermont is in its first America East Tournament since 2010 and its seed is the highest the program has attained in the conference. Considering that most rating systems that take into account how teams perform have the Catamounts ranked below Hartford, Binghamton, and UMBC (KRACH is a notable outlier here, having Vermont above UMBC and Binghamton but behind Hartford), Vermont's charge to a 4-2 record in the America East is an incredible indication of overperforming in spots in which the Catamounts should have fallen (or, more accurately, were expected to fall). One-goal wins against the Retrievers and Bearcats ultimately sustained Vermont while a 14-11 triumph over the Hawks pushed the Catamounts into the enviable position of facing Stony Brook in the tournament semifinals instead of Albany. Ryan Curtis was able to milk just enough out of his team to get Vermont into a solid spot at the end of the America East regular season, and that's something that deserves some praise.