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2015 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Final Four Preview: Johns Hopkins v. (6) Maryland

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Semifinal Saturday's finale will feature a blood feud.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Everything that's worth knowing about Johns Hopkins-Maryland in the semifinal round of the NCAA Tournament.

From 10,000 Feet

Date and Time: Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 3:30 ET
Location: Philadelphia, PA (Lincoln Financial Field)
Winner Advances To Play?: The winner of Denver-Notre Dame
Television/Internet: ESPN2 and WatchESPN have the broadcast
Game "Fun Factor": 4.19 ("Solid")
Massey Ratings Prediction:

MASSEY RATINGS PREDICTION
HIGHER SEED LOWER SEED FAVORITE UNDERDOG
(6) Maryland Johns Hopkins Johns Hopkins // 51% Johns Hopkins // 49%

The gigantic cutting board that Maryland and Johns Hopkins play for isn't on the line this weekend -- it's been characterized a regular season spoil of war -- but that doesn't mitigate the fight that both the Terps and Jays will exhibit at Lincoln Financial Field. Most prediction models have Johns Hopkins-Maryland as a toss-up scenario with only light shading inuring to a particular "favorite." There is a balance in the relative competitiveness of the two teams, and this iteration of the rivalry may not look like what Johns Hopkins and Maryland exhibited at the end of the regular season.

What's Your Deal?

Maryland
NCAA Tournament First Round: Beat Yale, 8-7
NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals: Beat North Carolina, 14-7
Massey Ratings Probability to Win the Whole Shebang: 21.08%
Stylistic Profile: A noose

Johns Hopkins
NCAA Tournament First Round: Beat Virginia, 15-9
NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals: Beat Syracuse, 15-13
Massey Probability to Win the Whole Shebang: 23.47%
Stylistic Profile: A wine with potential that's only improving with time

Truncated Scouting Reports

JOHNS HOPKINS-MARYLAND: TRUNCATED SCOUTING REPORT
METRIC MARYLAND HOPKINS
Estimated Pace 57.94 (61) 63.53 (33)
Estimated Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin +3.09 (12) +0.87 (26)
Estimated Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio +11.61% (1) +4.12% (21)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 33.66 (22) 40.32 (6)
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.27 (4) 1.21 (15)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 53.38% (64) 61.10% (18)
Offensive Shooting Rate 26.62% (49) 33.23% (8)
Offensive Assist Rate 15.49 (49) 24.91 (6)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 22.29 (1) 30.38 (29)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.06 (19) 1.09 (26)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 56.54% (13) 57.89% (25)
Defensive Shooting Rate 22.74% (1) 30.05% (48)
Defensive Assist Rate 13.19 (7) 17.63 (31)
Faceoff Percentage 52.45% (23) 52.54% (22)
Clearing Percentage 86.75% (26) 86.48% (28)
Turnover Margin +11.10 (2) +3.60 (27)
"Run of Play" Groundballs Margin +5.94 (4) -0.55 (36)
Penalties Margin +0.20 (27) +2.29 (5)
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 35.74 (24) 30.43 (58)
Team Save Percentage 59.79% (2) 48.09% (56)

If you're into such things, here's how Patrick McEwen projects the faceoff battles for Johns Hopkins-Maryland:

The FOGO ratings think Raffa and Moreland are better than Garino and Kennedy, but give a slight edge to Maryland when those pairs face off against each other.

  • Charlie Raffa predicted to win 53.3% against Hunter Moreland
  • Charlie Raffa predicted to win 62.7% against Drew Kennedy
  • Jon Garino predicted to win 43.6% against Hunter Moreland
  • Jon Garino predicted to win 53.2% against Drew Kennedy

Both the results from their previous meeting and the ratings suggest that Moreland will be able to battle Raffa to somewhere close to a draw, but that if Raffa can handle all of the face-off duties, the Terps will have an edge when Raffa squares off against Kennedy.

Johns Hopkins has earned a much higher percentage of its estimated offensive opportunities from faceoff wins (42.96 percent, 10th nationally) than Maryland (34.80 percent, 50th nationally), but the Terps arguably require more faceoff victories than the Jays given the comparative differences in offensive efficiency between the two teams.

Two Things

  • Johns Hopkins was never as bad as the team's record looked going into its date with Penn State at Homewood Field in mid-April, but the Blue Jays have still played inspired lacrosse in their last five games, outscoring their opponents 77-49 in that stretch. Comparing Johns Hopkins' output in its last five compared to its season-long production in selected metrics identifies the Blue Jays as a team on the come with the profile of not only a national title contender but also the epitome of potential energy converting into a kinetic force:
    JOHNS HOPKINS' RECENT EXPLOSION
    METRIC 2015 TOTAL LAST FIVE % CHANGE
    Estimated Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio +4.12% +7.66% +85.90%
    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 40.32 49.54 +22.85%
    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 30.38 27.27 +10.25%
    Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 61.10% 64.50% +5.56%
    Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 33.23% 38.50% +15.85%
    Raw Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 54.39% 59.90% +10.13%
    Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 57.89% 57.53% +0.63%
    Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 30.05% 26.34% +12.35%
    Raw Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 51.91% 45.79% +11.78%
    Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 36.10 31.29 +13.33%
    Turnover Margin +3.60 +4.34 +20.49%
    "Run of Play" Groundballs Margin -0.55 +5.88 +1171.14%
    Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 30.43 36.25 +19.14%
    Team Save Percentage 48.09% 54.21% +12.72%
    This is a little misleading as it's comparing five games' worth of information against a set of data of that includes the delineated five games, but for the purposes of this piece -- to contrast Hopkins' overall profile to an aspect of that overall profile -- it sustains relevance: The Blue Jays are playing -- not just winning -- in a way that exceeds the overall scope of Johns Hopkins' 2015 campaign. The Jays have assaulted opposing defenses in the team's surge and the defense has tightened up, finding strength in Eric Schneider's improved execution between the pipes. Hopkins is playing its best ball -- a sustained effort that would rank the Jays toward the top of the national hierarchy -- at the right time of the year, the realization of what the Blue Jays were capable of accomplishing at the sunrise of the college lacrosse calendar.
  • Kyle Bernlohr was named a first team All-American this week, a much deserved honor for the Maryland keeper. A big reason for his ascension to the top Division I's goalkeeping pecking order is Bernlohr's performances against the best offenses that the Terps faced in 2015: Against teams ranked in the top 10 in adjusted offensive efficiency or raw shots on goal shooting rate, Bernlohr shut the door all but once -- his execution against Johns Hopkins was a notable black mark on his resume -- and excelled in frighteningly difficult circumstances:
    MARYLAND'S GOALKEEPING PROFILE: VALUES AGAINST BEST OFFENSIVE COMPETITION
    METRIC VALUE
    Team Save Percentage 56.41%
    Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 39.29
    Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.24
    Shots on Goal per Defensive Opportunity 0.70
    Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 56.25%
    Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 24.52%
    Raw Defensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 43.59%
    Bernlohr was shaky in Maryland's three games preceding the start of the NCAA Tournament, but it's impossible to ignore (1) the Terps' tremendous output from the crease against North Carolina and Yale in The Show, and (2) just how stable Bernlohr has been when he could have folded, seeing a higher ratio of shots on goal than normal while turning away more of them -- and at a better rate! -- than usual against the best goalie embarrassers in the country. Bernlohr has big game stopping ability in his veins, and that provides a degree of comfort for the Terps as Maryland prepares to face its archenemy.