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NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Quarterfinal Preview: (2) Duke vs Loyola

It’s seen as the most lopsided quarterfinal match-up. But beneath the surface, the Greyhounds are much more dangerous than they appear

2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship

The 10,000 Foot View

Date and Time: 12:00 PM ET

Location: Arlotta Stadium, South Bend, Indiana

Network: ESPNU

LaxRef Win Probability: 72.2% Duke

Your Anticipation Level: Palpable

The Nitty-Gritty Numbers

Duke vs Loyola

THE STATS Duke Loyola
THE STATS Duke Loyola
Adjusted Offensive Eff. 36.7% (5th) 33.4% (13th)
Adjusted Defensive Eff. 23.3% (6th) 25.8% (10th)
Adjusted FO% 62.8% (9th) 50.8% (30th)
Clearing Percentage 85.0% (35th) 90.6% (1st)
Ground Balls Per Game 32.00 (26th) 33.93 (14th)

The Key Match-Up

Duke and Loyola Between the Lines

  • I felt tempted to go with the Blue Devils offensive midfield which I’ve had questions about all year and which had a tendency to go quiet in ACC play; but thought that cheating considering we addressed the Denver midfield vs the Hounds d middie group last week. So here we’re focusing on the matchup between the lines. Duke’s weakness this year has been a mundane clearing unit at just 85%, a curiously low ground ball total for a dominant faceoff team, a lack of riding, and as Quint Kessenich has pointed out this past week, a tendency to sub off tons of players on the offensive and defensive sides and try to play as much 6-on-6 settled lacrosse as possible. This is not a team with a great short stick defensive midfield group or the athletes in the middle of the field that UNC or Virginia or Maryland have. Loyola meanwhile excels in these areas. They clear it at 91%, the best clip in the country. They will ride. In Payton Razanka and Matt Higgins they have two great shorties. Loyola needs to make this a track meet. They have to push transition and they have to cause havoc in the middle of the field on Duke’s clear. Trap the Blue Devils offensive midfielders on defense. Don’t let them sub off the way they want. If this is a settled 6-on-6 game the way Duke wants it, they’ll win. They have the better offense and close defense. But the more this game comes down to transition chances and failed clears and ground balls in the middle of the field, the more Loyola has a chance. Loyola has dictate the terms of engagement in between the lines to give themselves their shot to win

All stats courtesy of Lacrosse Reference. Subscribe to Lacrosse Reference PRO.