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2015 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview: Yale at (6) Maryland

Terps-Bulldogs is basically a 50-50 proposition.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Everything that's worth knowing about Yale-Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

From 10,000 Feet

Date and Time: Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 2:30 PM (ET)
Location: College Park, MD
Winner Advances To Play?: The winner of Colgate-North Carolina
Television/Internet: ESPNU/WatchESPN; Mike Corey and Matt Ward have the call
Game "Fun Factor": 4.30 ("Good")
Massey Ratings Victory Probabilities:

Maryland Yale Maryland // 53% Yale // 47% Maryland (7.62) - Yale (7.34)

Yale-Maryland will feature two evenly-matched teams going in different directions: Yale pivoted from a two straight losses to Albany and Harvard to storm through the Ivy League Tournament, collaring victories against Brown and Princeton; Maryland, contrastingly, has lost two straight to Johns Hopkins and Ohio State, the Terps looking outclassed in the later portions of each game. The computing machine views the Bulldogs' visit to College Park as a toss-up scenario in which the Elis are as competent as Maryland despite the Terrapins holding a one position advantage over Yale in the latest media poll.

What's Your Deal?

NCAA Tournament Appearances: 38 (Last: 2014)
NCAA Tournament Championships: Two (Last: 1975)
NCAA Tournament Bid Type: At-Large
Record: 12-3 (4-1, Big Ten)
Combustibles: Kyle Bernlohr (G) (58.93 Sv%); Matt Rambo (A) (32G, 12A); Joe LoCascio (M) (25G, 9A); Casey Ikeda (D) (22GB, 14CTO)

NCAA Tournament Appearances: Six (Last: 2013)
NCAA Tournament Championships: None
NCAA Tournament Bid Type: Automatic Qualifier (Ivy League)
Record: 11-4 (3-3, Ivy League)
Combustibles: Conrad Oberbeck (A) (38G, 23A); Eric Natale (G) (50.21 Sv%); Michael Quinn (D) (34GB, 18CTO); Ben Reeves (A) (24G, 17A)

Truncated Scouting Reports

Estimated Pace 65.06 (27) 57.47 (62)
Estimated Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin +3.73 (7) +3.30 (12)
Estimated Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio +6.89% (9) +11.72% (1)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 34.80 (19) 32.85 (25)
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.03 (55) 1.27 (5)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 59.70% (30) 54.02% (60)
Offensive Shooting Rate 32.96% (10) 26.50% (50)
Offensive Assist Rate 19.54 (19) 15.00 (52)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 25.62 (5) 22.77 (2)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 0.99 (7) 1.04 (18)
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 54.27% (4) 57.28% (18)
Defensive Shooting Rate 26.70% (19) 23.24% (3)
Defensive Assist Rate 14.97 (15) 12.68 (4)
Faceoff Percentage 52.31% (26) 52.79% (24)
Clearing Percentage 89.83% (4) 86.42% (29)
Turnover Margin +8.26 (7) +11.07 (2)
"Run of Play" Groundballs Margin +1.74 (21) +5.52 (4)
Penalties Margin -1.23 (59) 0.00 (33)
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 27.33 (68) 35.37 (25)
Team Save Percentage 50.81% (41) 59.43% (3)

If Maryland struggles to dominate possession margin -- that issue doesn't exist solely relative to Charlie Raffa's status for the Terps, although an available Raffa does elevate the Terps' ability to tip the balance of possession in Maryland's favor -- the Terps could have some serious issues dealing with Yale. The Elis' defense is one of the strongest in the nation and Maryland struggles to efficiently create offense. The Terps rely on some volume to make the scoreboard blink and in a game featuring deflated pace -- on Maryland's own accord -- and a tight possession margin, the Terrapins may chase Yale. These are the circumstances of Maryland potentially operating as their own worst enemy, getting the style of play the team desires but not having the kind of opportunities margin that the Terps lean on to build advantages. The Bulldogs aren't prone to making mistakes, further complicating things for Maryland in the context of finding aspects of dominant success.

Two Things

  • Maryland's offensive profile is not indicative of a team that is destined to snap a 40-year title drought. The Terps' offensive efficiency -- adjusted of opposition faced -- ranks just outside of the top third of the country, the value indicating that Maryland is expected to tally about 10 markers per 60 minutes, those 10 goals coming on just north of 30 estimated offensive opportunities per 60 minutes. The Terrapins' issues with effectively canning the bean are heavily attributable to Maryland's shooting woes: While the Terps are circumstantially shooting the net to extend possessions and avoid shot clock postures due to the team's crawling tempo, Maryland is decidedly average at finding twine despite the quality of weapons that the team is running on the field.
    Shots per Estimated Offensive Opportunity 1.27 5
    Shots on Goal per Estimated Offensive Opportunity 0.69 26
    Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Estimated Offensive Opportunity 54.02% 60
    Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 26.50% 50
    Raw Offensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 49.05% 26
    Offensive Assist Rate 15.00 52
    Opponent Saves per 100 Estimated Offensive Opportunities 35.00 40
    Opponent Save Percentage 50.95% 26
    Maryland isn't a team that is inclined to share the ball -- the team's assist rate is indicative of that; the team has generated helpers on only 44.52 percent of their goals this season -- and the Terps have difficult time beating opposing keepers when the team actually puts attempts on cage. Maryland has knocked a dozen wins into its record book in 2015 while dragging an average offense around the country, the Terps' defense doing the heavy lifting for Maryland throughout the year. Creating 10 goals isn't the same for all teams, and Maryland's path to double digit tallies is a tough journey.
  • Yale does an exceptional job at limiting Natale's exposure to difficult shots. The Bulldogs' field defense doesn't permit many attempts per estimated defensive opportunity and a manageable ratio of those shots are not on goal, permitting Natale to avoid standing before a firing squad and hoping that his executioners are blind in both eyes. The Elis' ability to limit assisted opportunities has also decreased Natale's need to play above his head: Shutting off off-ball looks and denying opponents preferable scoring opportunities has permitted Natale to identify shooters and make the most of his performance abilities. Goalkeepers tend to be as good as the shots they are forced to turn away, and while Natale isn't in the upper reaches of Division I's 'tenders, he is capable enough to operate in a system that promotes diminished responsibility. Basically, the Bulldogs' goalkeeping situation is arguably stronger than its team save percentage and saves rate.