clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament First Round Preview: (2) Duke vs High Point

It’s the lone regular season rematch of the first round. How do the Panthers adjust and give themselves a chance?

Duke v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

The 10,000 Foot View

Date and Time: Sunday, 5:00 PM ET

Location: Dorrance Field, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Network: ESPNU

LaxRef Win Probability: 83% Duke

Your Guys Anticipation Level: Low

The Nitty Gritty Numbers

Numbers Bonanza

THE STATS Duke High Point
THE STATS Duke High Point
Adjusted Offensive Eff. 36.7% (5th) 34.1% (12th)
Adjusted Defensive Eff. 23.1% (6th) 33.0% (60th)
Adjusted FO% 62.0% (11th) 49.3% (33rd)
Clearing Percentage 84.7% (37th) 85.2% (34th)
Ground Balls Per Game 31.64 (27th) 29.08 (46th)

The Key Match-Ups

  • High Point offense vs Duke defense
  • The thing that always pops off the page with the Panthers is their offense. They rank 12th in the country in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. They went punch for punch offensively with the best offense in the country in North Carolina earlier this season. They have an All-American in Kevin Rogers and a former All-American in Asher Nolting. They can score. The question is how much. In the first matchup between these two, the Panthers only operated at 28% offensive efficiency and scored eight goals. Needless to say, it’s going to have to be a lot more. Will an effort of 34.1% like the Panthers average for the season be enough? I’m not sure. When you consider High Point’s defensive struggles, including in the first match where they gave up 27 goals to the Devils, it may need to be closer to the incredible 43.6% effort they had against North Carolina in the first meeting. That’s the ceiling High Point has; albeit Duke is a significantly better defense than North Carolina. But if they can reach that ceiling, then this is a team that has the potential on the offensive side of the ball to drop a massive number on the Blue Devils and have a chance at the upset.
  • The Clearing Game
  • There is an intriguing matchup in between the lines in this game. Duke’s clear weakness as a team is their 84.7% clearing percentage, which ranks 37th in the country and 12th amongst teams in the NCAA Tournament. And for a team that is among the best in the entire country in faceoff percentage their 31 ground balls per game is a conspicuously low number that indicates a team that isn’t great off the carpet. That’s where High Point’s ride comes into view. When you consider the Panthers sub-par defense, Jake Naso’s dominance at the faceoff X, the Panthers can ill afford any extra possessions to go Duke’s way. In fact, they probably need to force some free possessions themselves. If you think back to Duke’s first loss of the season against Notre Dame, the Devils dominated at the dot but had a brutal day in the clearing game and possessions wound up par in a dominant Irish win. Even in the first meeting, the bright spot for High Point? 6 failed clears for Duke. High Point needs to execute a similar effort in this game, a Blue Devils weakness, and give that high powered offense the ball as much as possible. They also need to be effective with the clear themselves, which has been a weakness. However, Duke is not a very hard pressing riding team. High Point only failed 2 clears in the first game against the Devils. This is an area that could be an advantage for HPU, and one they’ll need to exploit to win.

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