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2015 Big Ten Lacrosse Tournament Preview

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The Big Ten opens its tournament with Johns Hopkins in the pole position.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Everything that's worth knowing about the Big Ten Tournament.

Participants

2015 BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
SEED TEAM BIG TEN RECORD LEAGUE WINS LEAGUE LOSSES
1. Johns Hopkins 4-1 Rutgers, Penn State, Michigan, Maryland Ohio State
2. Maryland 4-1 Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, Ohio State Johns Hopkins
3. Ohio State 3-2 Penn State, Johns Hopkins, Michigan Maryland, Rutgers
4. Penn State 2-3 Rutgers, Michigan Ohio State, Maryland, Johns Hopkins

Times, Dates of Matchups

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

  • (4) Penn State v. (1) Johns Hopkins: 5:30 PM (ET)
  • (3) Ohio State v. (2) Maryland: 8:00 PM (ET)

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

  • Semifinal I Winner v. Semifinal II Winner: 8:00 PM (ET)

Television/Internet

The Big Ten Network will carry the entirety of the Big Ten Tournament. While not noted in the league's press release, it is expected that all games will also be available on BTN2Go.

League Tournament Spirit Animal

A boa constrictor -- a heavy-bodied animal that slowly eats its prey.

Conference Attribute Profile

Here's how the Big Ten compares to the rest of the nation:

THE BIG TEN: 2015 CONFERENCE ATTRIBUTE PROFILE
LEAGUE LEAGUE STRENGTH RANK INTERNAL COMPETITIVENESS RANK AVG. WIN% RANK
Big Ten 58.41% 2/10 0.1379 3/10 52.75% 4/10

Truncated Scouting Reports

The stylistic profiles of the Big Ten Tournament's participants looks as follows:

THE BIG TEN: 2015 TRUNCATED SCOUTING REPORTS
METRIC HOPKINS MARYLAND OSU PSU
Estimated Pace 62.33 (40) 58.14 (60) 58.46 (58) 54.23 (68)
Estimated Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin +0.68 (27) +4.24 (6) +3.85 (10) -0.46 (35)
Estimated Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio +3.37% (24) +12.27% (1) -4.50% (53) -9.28% (63)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 39.79 (8) 32.82 (27) 30.95 (38) 32.82 (28)
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.22 (14) 1.28 (3) 1.05 (52) 1.22 (15)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 59.84% (26) 53.64% (61) 61.66% (15) 59.30% (32)
Offensive Shooting Rate 31.69% (14) 26.47% (49) 29.61% (23) 27.91% (34)
Offensive Assist Rate 23.80 (7) 14.74 (53) 17.70 (36) 17.00 (43)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 32.25 (40) 22.24 (1) 29.86 (27) 32.90 (42)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.07 (22) 1.05 (18) 1.12 (34) 1.42 (69)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 58.16% (31) 58.15% (29) 59.78% (40) 56.50% (13)
Defensive Shooting Rate 32.18% (65) 22.56% (3) 28.04% (33) 25.20% (11)
Defensive Assist Rate 18.18 (40) 12.60 (6) 13.87 (10) 17.83 (38)
Faceoff Percentage 54.39% (19) 53.82% (22) 59.21% (9) 51.71% (28)
Clearing Percentage 86.57% (29) 86.61% (28) 87.83% (12) 87.57% (16)
Turnover Margin +3.55 (26) +11.71 (2) -1.41 (44) -9.77 (63)
"Run of Play" Groundballs Margin -2.55 (51) +6.33 (4) +0.80 (28) +0.14 (33)
Penalties Margin +2.67 (4) 0.00 (32) +3.86 (1) -0.14 (39)
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 27.76 (67) 37.27 (18) 35.52 (24) 44.29 (2)
Team Save Percentage 44.66% (66) 61.21% (3) 53.09% (26) 55.40% (16)

Three Things

  • Johns Hopkins and Ohio State are two of the best teams in the nation in penalty margin, each ranking in the upper reaches of the nation in the metric. The Blue Jays and Buckeyes, though, have very different extra-man opportunity profiles with Hopkins relying heavily on extra-man postures to make the scoreboard blink while Ohio State has done nothing with its personnel advantages:
    EXTRA-MAN PROFILES: JOHNS HOPKINS AND OHIO STATE
    METRIC JOHNS HOPKINS OHIO STATE
    Extra-Man Postures per 100 Offensive Opportunities 16.35 (2) 11.30 (24)
    Extra-Man Posture Reliance 18.63% (2) 9.59% (49)
    Extra-Man Posture Conversion Rate 44.12% (15) 26.42% (58)
    Johns Hopkins has witnessed a notable chunk of its offensive opportunities turn into man-up advantages and the Jays have cashed in like crazy, getting almost 19 percent of their goals this season from extra-man goals converted at high rate. Ohio State, meanwhile, is drawing more penalties than they are committing but this margin hasn't netted the Buckeyes a significant proportion of their offensive opportunities coming with a personnel advantage, and when Ohio State has been in the man-up the team is struggling to capitalize on the opportunities. These are dissonant profiles despite similar penalty margin situations, confirmation that lacrosse remains impossibly weird.
  • The Big Ten Tournament may be one of the slowest postseason events in Division I. The "fastest" team in the field is Hopkins, and the Jays are playing about 2 percent slower than the national average. The two semifinal games may feature exceptionally slow paces with Maryland and Ohio State already programmed to exist in a pragmatic reality while Penn State -- facing a superior Hopkins team -- could drag the Blue Jays through the mud in an attempt to create circumstances conducive to an upset. This is not the kind of lacrosse that makes rainbows shoot out of people's eyes, but it will operate as a kind of laboratory for determining how much tempo is necessary to still create forward momentum. The Big Ten Tournament will essentially serve as a spectrum pole to the ACC Tournament -- the ACC featured four of the most tempo-positive teams in the nation -- and that may be a difficult introduction to the sport for a wide audience on the Big Ten Network.
  • Johns Hopkins and Maryland are heavily favored to meet each other in the Big Ten Tournament final, reviving one of college lacrosse's fiercest rivalries (one that now carries with it a wooden crab that weighs two metric tons and can be viewed from space through a special camera made out of an Old Bay can). The Jays are about a 70 percent favorite against the Nittany Lions and the Terps are about a 75 percent favorite against the Buckeyes, and anything other than a Hopkins-Maryland rematch with a bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line would be a pretty big departure from the expected. (The predicted margins in these games aren't expected to be huge (partly due to the anticipated tempo of the matches), but both Johns Hopkins and Maryland carry sizeable win probabilities). This is potentially problematic for Ohio State as the Buckeyes need to increase their NCAA Tournament at-large profile and advantageous for Johns Hopkins as the Jays can inch closer to The Show.