THE STAKES: GUARANTEED ACCURATE PREDICTIONS
Using the incredible power of lacrosse computers to analyze hundreds of college lacrosse games played in 2017, the machines that will eventually join together to overthrow the human race in a bloody and dispassionate uprising have determined the likelihood of how conference tournaments will shake out this spring. Two models were utilized — the Massey Ratings and an SRS system. These predictions are guaranteed to be right, unless they turn out to be smoldering garbage.
TITLE FAVORITE: Richmond (2): 53%
MOST LIKELY FINAL: Richmond (2)-Air Force (1)
BLENDED WIN PROBABILITY OF MOST LIKELY FINAL: Richmond (2) (66%)-Air Force (1) (34%)
THREE FRIGHTENINGLY BRIEF AND INCOMPLETE THOUGHTS
- Air Force is nominally the SoCon Tournament’s top seed, riding to the pole position on the strength of the league’s tiebreaker formula. The true strength of the league sits, however, with Richmond, the conference’s best team in an array of performance-based rating systems. Richmond’s relative strength, compounded with its home field advantage throughout the tournament (home field has been stripped out of the above probability tables, but assume about a goal per game advantage for the Spiders over the next few days), has installed Richmond as a notable and heavy favorite at Robins Stadium. This is an exceedingly dangerous Spiders squad, boasting one of the strongest defenses in the nation despite languishing in a league that is often an afterthought — if even entering the mind — for the casual college lacrosse fan. (The Spiders do struggle on the offensive end from an efficiency perspective, but playing with a possession advantage has helped mask that deficiency and allowed the team to pummel opponents with a suffocating defense.) This is real: Richmond, assuming it hits its marks, is going to pose a serious problem for an unsuspecting hooligan in the NCAA Tournament.
- The job that Richie Meade has done in Greenville this year is nothing short of mind-blowing. Furman — winners of a total of five league games in the preceding two seasons — blew past its history in 2017, collaring six SoCon pelts and doing so with a +32 margin. (Furman was, over the course of 2015 and 2016, a combined -7 against league opponents.) The Paladins aren’t world-beaters and drew an awful semifinal matchup against host Richmond, but regardless of what happens in Virginia this week, Meade has started to realize the vision he’s been preaching since leaving Annapolis for South Carolina.
- Unless these semifinal games start to go sideways, a crowded Thursday conference tournament slate subordinates these SoCon games behind others. There just isn’t enough tightness in the matchups to demand your eyeballs with Maryland-Penn State competing head-to-head with Jacksonville-Air Force and Hofstra-Massachusetts and Ohio State-Johns Hopkins billed against Furman-Richmond. Those are ugly scheduling competitors against the SoCon’s twin-bill, and, even as a lacrosse lunatic, it’s hard to make a case for up-voting expected Sunday drives.
POLL: BEAT THE MACHINES AND WIN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
Which team will win the 2017 SoCon Tournament?
This poll is closed
(1) Air Force