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NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament 1st Round Preview: (3) Maryland vs Vermont

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It’s a Bernhardt showcase in the Maryland star’s final home game. Does his brother Jake’s Vermont offense and the rest of the Catamounts have what it takes to pull off an upset?

COLLEGE LACROSSE: MAR 28 Maryland at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 10,000 Foot View

Date and Time: Sunday, 2:30 PM ET

Location: Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland

Network: ESPNU

LaxRef Win Probability: 84.7% Maryland

Your Guys Anticipation Level: Low

The Nitty Gritty Numbers

Numbers Extravaganza

THE STATS Maryland Vermont
THE STATS Maryland Vermont
Adjusted Offensive Eff. 38.7% (2nd) 30.7% (22nd)
Adjusted Defensive Eff. 22.9% (5th) 30.9% (47th)
Adjusted FO% 49.9% (32nd) 68.4 (3rd)
Clearing Percentage 87.4% (18th) 86.6% (24th)
Ground Balls Per Game 31.75 (26th) 35.69 (5th)

The Key Matchups

  • The Faceoffs
  • This is the matchup that will probably get the most attention in this game. The only area on the field where Vermont has a clear advantage over the Terps is at the dot; where the Catamounts rank 3rd in the country in Adjusted FO% compared to the Terps at 32nd, just a shade under 50%. As written when we discussed the most important players in this tournament this morning, Maryland is going to throw both Justin Shockey and Luke Wierman out there in this game. Whoever gets hot will keep running out there and when one gets cold or can’t find an answer, the other will come in. The Terps hope that’s their answer to the only weakness on this team. Vermont will ride Tommy Burke all day Sunday, who wins 71% of his draws and has taken every faceoff for the Catamounts in their last 5 games. Burke will likely win the majority of the draws. The question is how many does he need to win for this to be a factor. Maryland is 2nd in the country in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. Even with only 30-35 possessions, the Terps could easily drop 15 in this game, especially against a weak Vermont defense. Is 60% enough? I doubt it. That’s still an easy Maryland win. Is 70%? That’s getting in the range where Vermont can make this hairy and keep the ball out of the Terps plethora of offensive stars hands. But it may need to be upwards of 75-80% for this to truly get into upset territory and while Maryland has struggled on faceoffs this year relative to the rest of their squad, they’ve generally avoided those kinds of catastrophic days so far
  • Vermont Defense vs Maryland Offense
  • This to me is the bigger matchup. As shown above, the Terps are the 2nd best offense in the country. The Catamounts are 47th in the country in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency; in the range of Ohio State and Michigan teams the Terps have lit up the last few weeks. In Vermont’s two games against fellow tournament squads in Bryant and Syracuse, they gave up 15 goals on 44 possessions to the Bulldogs and 17 on 40 to the Orange. A combined offensive efficiency of 38% for the Catamounts opponents. And they had a combined +8 possession edge in those games. This is a team that primarily plays defense through it’s faceoff man in Tommy Burke who is elite and through being a strong clearing team that doesn’t give away extra possessions or opportunities. But is that enough to stop this high powered Maryland offense? You imagine UVM would have watched the tape of Maryland’s games against Johns Hopkins, where the Jays slid to Jared Bernhardt with hyper speed and recovered with equal speed when the Terps tried to spin it backside to an open man. But that’s easier said than done and the Jays are a better defensive team. But that’s likely the game plan to follow. If they can execute it well, they’ll be in this game for a time before as happened in Maryland’s game against Hopkins on Saturday, the Terp wave just crashed through. But it may take an execution of the season if Vermont is to pull off potentially the upset of the first round.

Numbers and Statistics Courtesy of Lacrosse Reference, Subscribe to Lacrosse Reference PRO