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: Monmouth (1): 45%
MOST LIKELY FINAL: Monmouth (1)-Marist (3)
BLENDED WIN PROBABILITY OF MOST LIKELY FINAL: Monmouth (1) (55%)-Marist (3) (45%)
THREE FRIGHTENINGLY BRIEF AND INCOMPLETE THOUGHTS
- The MAAC put its tournament in Poughkeepsie this year, deviating from its standard operating procedure of allowing its highest seed to host the league championship. This may have created a problem for Monmouth, the tournament’s top seed: While still a favorite to earn its first berth to the NCAA Tournament in only its fourth season of Division I play, potentially staring down a toss-up game against Marist on the Red Foxes’ home field with the maximum prize on the line could make the Hawks regret the decision the school made around the timing of the renovation of Monmouth Stadium. Monmouth authored a fairly complete dismantling of Marist at Tenney Stadium earlier this year, but the SRS and Massey models — stripping out home field advantage — only reflect the Hawks as about a goal to half-goal favorite against the Red Foxes. This is a tough reality for Monmouth to exist within, and the Hawks will likely root massively hard for Canisius to “upset” Marist in the semifinals to lessen the heat it would need to withstand.
- Canisius’ +17 league scoring margin and 4-2 conference record imply that the Griffs are potentially set to cause chaos this weekend, but there is concern about Canisius’ true ceiling: An 11-goal face-smashing of Marist in Victor in mid-March was an extreme result that isn’t likely to be repeated on a consistent basis (Canisius’ only other double-digit win this year came against Cleveland State and only 45 games this season in Division I (out of 497 Division I v. Division I dates) registered a double-digit final margin); the Griffs, overall, are -1 in scoring margin against a schedule ranked 56th nationally in both SRS and Massey; and Canisius, according to analyticslacrosse.com, is reflective of its record, a six-win team that is awful defensively, struggles to efficiently score, and has built its profile against one of the 14 worst schedules in the nation. This isn’t a team that appears — when digging a little deeper into the team’s closet — ready to hoist a title banner.
- The winner of this deal is going to play in the play-in game on May 11th, and while that’s a shot to the stones for a conference champion that has done everything asked of it to earn a place in the bracket proper, it’s also appropriate given the relative strength of the MAAC this season — no league, in the aggregate, rates worse than the MAAC in an SRS environment and Massey agrees, slotting the MAAC behind the SoCon. That’s somewhat troubling for a league that finds a bulk of its membership within geographic areas that promote the game. The MAAC designated lacrosse as a core sport a few years ago, but the league is still trying to find its way up the ladder of Division I.
POLL: BEAT THE MACHINES AND WIN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
Which team will win the 2017 MAAC Tournament?
This poll is closed