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2015 NEC Lacrosse Tournament Preview

The NEC opens its tournament with St. Joseph's in the pole position.

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Everything that's worth knowing about the NEC Tournament.

Participants

2015 NEC TOURNAMENT
SEED TEAM NEC RECORD LEAGUE WINS LEAGUE LOSSES
1. St. Joseph's 6-0 Bryant, Robert Morris, Wagner, Mount St. Mary's, Hobart, Sacred Heart None
2. Hobart 4-2 Bryant, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Wagner St. Joseph's, Mount St. Mary's
3. Bryant 4-2 Wagner, Sacred Heart, Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's Hobart, St. Joseph's
4. Mount St. Mary's 2-4 Sacred Heart, Hobart Wagner, Robert Morris, St. Joseph's, Bryant

Times, Dates of Matchups

Thursday, April 30, 2015 (Semifinals -- at St. Joseph's):

  • (4) Mount St. Mary's v. (1) St. Joseph's: 4:00 PM (ET)
  • (3) Bryant v. (2) Hobart: 7:30 PM (ET)

Saturday, May 2, 2015 (Championship -- at St. Joseph's):

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

Television/Internet

NEC Front Row -- the Northeast Conference's propaganda machine -- will provide a free stream of all three tournament games.

League Tournament Spirit Animal

Crabs trying to crawl out of a bucket.

Conference Attribute Profile

Here's how NEC compares to the rest of the nation:

THE NEC: 2015 CONFERENCE ATTRIBUTE PROFILE
LEAGUE LEAGUE STRENGTH RANK INTERNAL COMPETITIVENESS RANK AVG. WIN% RANK
NEC 42.23% 8/10 0.1482 4/10 42.08% 9/10

Truncated Scouting Reports

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

THE NEC: 2015 TRUNCATED SCOUTING REPORTS
METRIC ST. JOE'S HOBART BRYANT MSM
Estimated Pace 61.83 (43) 59.70 (53) 61.78 (44) 63.46 (34)
Estimated Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin +2.22 (20) -3.26 (60) +3.92 (9) -1.28 (42)
Estimated Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio +3.70% (23) -2.81% (50) -8.00% (59) -4.07% (52)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 34.40 (20) 30.40 (43) 26.81 (59) 25.51 (61)
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.23 (13) 1.10 (43) 0.95 (66) 1.04 (53)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 60.80% (17) 59.02% (34) 55.63% (54) 55.29% (57)
Offensive Shooting Rate 27.57% (39) 26.83% (46) 25.90% (53) 23.35% (60)
Offensive Assist Rate 18.53 (27) 12.63 (61) 14.57 (55) 9.17 (68)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 27.92 (13) 29.97 (28) 28.37 (19) 29.82 (26)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 0.98 (5) 1.21 (57) 1.17 (46) 1.01 (9)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 57.72% (26) 56.55% (15) 56.89% (17) 60.26% (47)
Defensive Shooting Rate 25.95% (17) 23.81% (7) 24.41% (9) 26.86% (24)
Defensive Assist Rate 12.69 (17) 14.94 (17) 14.71 (14) 12.78 (8)
Faceoff Percentage 53.71% (23) 40.00% (65) 65.22% (2) 47.48% (39)
Clearing Percentage 87.65% (13) 84.35% (39) 77.61% (65) 81.57% (56)
Turnover Margin +8.64 (9) -3.77 (52) -8.73 (60) -3.63 (51)
"Run of Play" Groundballs Margin +3.80 (14) -4.19 (61) 0.00 (34) -1.12 (43)
Penalties Margin -1.69 (64) -0.13 (37) +0.97 (15) -0.56 (47)
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 31.07 (54) 39.76 (8) 37.93 (14) 33.70 (34)
Team Save Percentage 55.04% (17) 57.89% (8) 57.09% (9) 55.43% (15)

Three Things

  • Hobart, St. Joseph's, and Mount St. Mary's are probably spending some time this week worrying about the impact Kevin Massa will make for the Bulldogs during the Northeast Conference Tournament. Bryant's senior specialist is the NCAA's all-time leader in faceoffs wins and is drawing at a 64.98 percent clip this season, but in the context of the Bulldogs' overall enterprise in 2015 -- a year in which Bryant has been decidedly average -- he isn't the driving force behind an opponent's nightmares. Assuming that Bryant's estimated possession margin on the season (3.92 opportunities per 60 minutes) is proportionally attributable to the Bulldogs' ratio of estimated offensive opportunities earned from faceoff victories (39.47 percent), Bryant is in about a half-goal per 60 minutes net benefit from Massa's work at the dot based on the team's adjusted offensive efficiency values. The Bulldogs' offense struggles with its efficiency so much that it can't capitalize on Massa's dominate play at the dot, the team's situation standing in contrast to the circumstances that Denver and Syracuse have created. Bryant's offense needs volume to score, and Massa helps provide that volume, but the Bulldogs are only canning the bean on about 27 percent of their offensive opportunities on an adjusted basis. It's difficult for Massa's strength to totally change the volition of a game because he's throwing the ball to an offense that has a proclivity for pitching the ball into the parking lot or an opposing keeper's crosse. The fear associated with Bryant is the Bulldogs' defense and cracking it, especially dealing with Gunnar Waldt on the back of the field cleaning up any mess left for him to annihilate. That's where opponents need to make their money against the Bulldogs. Things fall into place if Bryant's defense shows seams and the team's offensive issues remain present.
  • St. Joseph's has never been to an NCAA Tournament. That could change for the Hawks as soon as Saturday:
    log5 PROBABILITIES: PROBABILITY OF WINNING THE NEC TOURNAMENT
    RANK TEAM PROBABILITY
    1. St. Joseph's 55.01%
    2. Bryant 22.00%
    3. Hobart 15.35%
    4. Mount St. Mary's 7.63%
    This is kind of a big deal for the Hawks. St. Joseph's went through a winless campaign in 2011 -- there aren't even four full seasons between the Hawks' 0-12 effort and the team's ascension to the top of the Northeast Conference and the meaty middle of the nation -- and were knocked out of the NEC Tournament in the semifinal round in 2014 as the favorite and host of the event. Moving through to The Show this season would create a degree of momentum that the program has never experienced in its history, especially if the Hawks are the only Philadelphia-area team to earn an invitation to The Big Barbeque this year. There are a class of programs that expect NCAA Tournament berths as if they were issued to them simply for existing; for a program like St. Joseph's, approaching a May adventure as a significant favorite without a history of progression to this stage of the spring offers a unique moment that others take for granted.
  • Mount St. Mary's went 1-15 in 2014 and 0-6 in Northeast Conference competition, painfully pushing forward as one of the weakest teams in Division I a year ago. The Mountaineers have pivoted from that effort -- one in which The Mount relied on a host of young contributors that did not substantially contribute to the team's 6-9 performance in 2013 -- to author a solid 5-9 campaign that includes a victory over Bucknell. The team's head-to-head win against Sacred Heart ultimately propelled the Mountaineers into its league's postseason event, and while Mount St. Mary's holds very long odds to surprise the conference with a championship, merely participating in the NEC Tournament is grounds for claiming a successful season in Emmitsburg. Going from trapped-in-a-burning-car-in-a-nuclear-waste-facility to I-have-a-chance-even-if-it's-a-slim-chance is a pretty good deal, specifics aside.