Detroit Season Catch-Up

Since I was derelict in my duties as a blogger for a good portion of the middle of the season, it’s time to get our knowledge back to where it should be this season. I’ll be trying to recap all the games I missed, but for the time being, here’s the big picture.

Current Record: 6-5, 202 MAAC
Good Wins: Ohio State
Bad Losses: Quinnipiac

Stat Leaders

Goals: Shayne Adams (20), Mark Anstead (18), Brandon Beauregard (16), Scott Drummond (14)
Assists: Anstead (13), Adams (11), Beauregard (10), Mike Birney (6)
Faceoffs: Damien Hicks (77/164, .470)
Caused Turnovers: Paul Bitteti (13), Chris Shevins (12)

Jason Weber Save Percentage

.607 (a slight disappointment after a stellar freshman year)

Mike Birney Shooting Percentage

.143, .460 shots on goal (both team-worst among anyone who has taken a single shot, and he has the most on the team).

The Big Picture

Detroit is about what we thought it’d be coming into the season. The big season-opening win against Ohio State has been a little outweighed by a conference loss to a weak Quinnipiac team that will be a bit of an albatross around UDM’s neck until they are solidly in for the MAAC Tournament.

The attack is carrying the team more than it has in the recent past, and with Anstead showing that he’s a very solid complement to Adams, that’s probably a good thing. At this point the midfield is going to be a “they are who we thought they were” situation. That’s right down to shooting inaccuracy from Birney, though he’s added an assist dimension to his game that helps make up for it a bit.

The defense has been just OK, and Jason Weber hasn’t been quite the outstanding keeper he was last year (of course, with the defense in front of him always a factor in his individual play).

The Titans should be positioned to make a run.

MAAC Bracketology

With just two conference games left, it’s time for a chart of the Titans’ possibilities in the tournament. With the league sporting seven members, this may be a bit of an exercise, so bear with me. I’ll come back to them in a moment, but at 4-0, Marist is the only team currently locked into the Championships. At 0-4, Manhattan is the only team eliminated.

Every team has two games remaining in the conference except Quinnipiac and Canisius. Fortunately, Detroit’s two remaining games are against the Golden Griffins and Siena, the two worst non-Manhattan teams in the league.

Team Current Record Week 1 Week 2
Marist 4-0 (9-3 ovr) @ Manhattan Siena
Quinnipiac 3-2 (4-7 ovr) Monmouth X
Detroit 2-2 (6-5 ovr) @ Siena Canisius
Monmouth 2-2 (5-6 ovr) @ Quinnipiac Manhattan
Siena 2-2 (5-6 ovr) Detroit @ Marist
Canisius 2-3 (2-10 ovr) X @ Detroit
Manhattan 0-4 (1-12 ovr) Marist @ Monmouth

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision

Let’s make a couple assumptions here (I’ve done this in the past and it hasn’t worked out, but that’s life): Manhattan and Siena will both lose to Marist. Manhattan will lose to Monmouth. All other games are theoretically up for grabs.

  • If Detroit splits the final two games in either fashion (beat Siena but lose to Canisius, lose to Siena but beat Canisius), they will lose the tiebreaker to the team that they lose to, but cannot be passed by the team they beat (whether it’s Canisius, which would drop to 2-4, or Siena, which would finish at worst tied 3-3 with UDM and losing the tiebreaker).

    With lost tiebreakers to Marist and Quinnipiac, the only thing that could keep them out of the conference tournament is Monmouth winning its final two games – upsetting Quinnipiac and doing the expected against Manhattan – to pass Detroit at 4-2, rendering UDM’s tiebreaker over them useless.

  • If Detroit loses both remaining games, they’re eliminated. They would have a 2-4 record, and both Siena and Canisius would finish with at least three conference wins (Marist and Quinnipiac are already at that mark).

    Monmouth, with tiebreakers over both of those teams, would be in as long as they split the final two, unless Siena wins against Marist, in which case they’d bump the Hawks at 4-2. If Monmouth wins both of the final two, they’re in over Siena regardless of the outcome of that Saints-Red Foxes game.

  • If Detroit wins both of the final two games, they’d be in the tournament as the three-seed with a 4-2 record (at best tied with Marist and Quinnipiac, but down both tiebreakers).

    Siena and Monmouth would be battling it out for the final spot. Siena would have to beat Marist to reach 3-3, and hope Monmouth loses both of its final two games (one of them is against Manhattan).

The verdict? Detroit is definitely in with a sweep of the final two games, and in decent shape with a split – though their bid would be out of their hands in that instance. Surprisingly, Monmouth has already done enough that they’d have a tough time not making the conference tournament. A split in the final two games should be enough, and in some scenarios, they don’t even need that.

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Michigan 8, Ohio State 13

This… could have gone better. A win may not have been in the cards, but this one turned from competitive to a semi-blowout in short order. On with the show:

Tempo Free

From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:

Ohio State 2015
Ohio State Michigan
Faceoff Wins 16 Faceoff Wins 9
Clearing 15-16 Clearing 14-21
Possessions 39 Possessions 31
Goals 13 Goals 8
Offensive Efficiency .333 Offensive Efficiency .258

Michigan was less efficient than Ohio State, yes (more on that in a moment), but they lost this game by being bludgeoned in the possession game. The final number of possessions wasn’t a huge spread, but the way in which those possessions were and were not utilized was huge.

Notes

U-M lost the faceoff battle handily. Brad Lott went 3/6 (not bad at all, actually, but with just one GB, there were some 50/50 scrums contributing to that), Mike McDonnell and Kevin Wylie were 0-fer on four and one attempts, respectively, and Chase Brown went 6/14 (though he had four GBs, like Lott, his success was a lot about GB scrums). That did not help in possession.

More harmful in possession was an awful day clearing the ball. Michigan went .667 on clears and forced only one fail by Ohio State. If you look at effective offensive efficiency – excising possessions on which the offense didn’t have a chance to convert because the ball never even got to the box – according to Lacrosse Film Room (and the math checks out on my end), they were 8/24, .333 on offense. Ohio State was 13/38, or .342.

Delving into a bit more specifics, I count two Buckeye goals coming directly off faceoff wins (one scored by Chris May himself, one by Carter Brown before the settled half-field offense took root).  It doesn’t look like there are any direct rideback goals from the boxscore, but I’d have to review the broadcast to confirm.

It felt like the Wolverines were playing a pretty sloppy game, but the scoresheet says “just” 14 turnovers in 31 possessions, albeit eight of them unforced (and one of the caused turnovers, on a clear, just a hilariously bad decision). A few dumb errors (an offside that was incorrectly called according to the broadcast team, though again I haven’t reviewed, a delay of game knocking a Buckeye over on the way to the box, and a too many men call) also resulted in a more penalty-filled outing than the Maize and Blue are used to. This Michigan program has grown past simply not having the stick skills to compete, but they can’t overcome mental errors and physical ones against a team like Ohio State.

On to the individuals… Michigan didn’t have many offensive standouts. Kyle Jackson (2G) and Mike Francia (1G, 1A) were the only multi-point getters. Ian King scored a single goal, though it took him 10 shots – five of them saved by the keeper – to get there.

On defense, it was not a banner day for Gerald Logan. His defense put him in a couple bad positions – they were solid for much of the day, but transition off faceoffs hurt, and the sheer amount of time they had to spend on the field wore them down. Mack Gembis has a nice day on close D with two caused turnovers and four ground balls (and no turnovers committed himself).

Ohio State started the year relying too heavily on Jesse King – if you could shut him down, you stymied the Buckeye offense – and while he’s still a very important part of the unit, there’s been more built up around him. That should have been the case all along with David Planning and Carter Brown on the roster as well. It wasn’t early, but now they’re playing solid (if slow, outside of transition) offense. Colin Chell had three goals and two assists, Planning split five points the other way around, and Carter Brown had two and one.

Tom Carey saved 11 of 18 shots faced, a very strong performance from the Buckeye keeper (and one that could be considered a game-winner if Michigan had hung in a little longer). Backup Cameron Stephens allowed a goal on his only shot faced.

Elsewhere

Boxscore. Michigan recap. Photo gallery. Ohio State recap. Buckeyes Tom Carey and Colin Chell were given conference honors for their performances.

Up Next

Michigan travels to Baltimore to take on Johns Hopkins. That’s as intimidating as it sounds, with a young Michigan program serving as the road team at Homewood Field.

However, this Hopkins team… it is not very good. The Blue Jays match Michigan’s 5-6 record on the year (albeit with a much tougher strength of schedule), and have struggled in all phases of the game, particularly defense. They’ve allowed double-digit goals in all but four games.

If Michigan can stay even in the possession battle – and we know that’s no guarantee – this is a winnable game beyond the intimidation factor of the names on the front of the jerseys.

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Michigan 8, Notre Dame 17

It’s a little unfair to review this game after the rest of the season has shown the Irish are pretty clearly the best team in the country, but… that was apparent at the time too, right?

Tempo Free

From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:

Notre Dame 2015
Notre Dame Michigan
Faceoff Wins 17 Faceoff Wins 12
Clearing 17-20 Clearing 17-23
Possessions 43 Possessions 38
Goals 17 Goals 8
Offensive Efficiency .395 Offensive Efficiency .211

Notre Dame won the possession battle and was ruthlessly efficient on offense. Michigan’s offense wasn’t bad per se, but with most of the scoring after the game was already decided, it’s clear that they just weren’t on Notre Dame’s level.

Notes

Right, so Notre Dame is the top team in the country, and justifiably so. They did what you expect of a national power against a Michigan team that has made strides but is probably still a year away from belonging on the field with a team like this.

Delving into possession, faceoffs were relatively even until the fourth quarter. ND had a slight advantage in the second and third frames, but really sealed it with the fourth (again, when the game was already out of reach). LSM Chase Brown was the best of the bunch, winning 50% of his draws. He’s more than a defensive concession at X, and probably will continue to get significant run in games when the Wolverines don’t feel good about the matchup at X.

The transition game was the bigger disappointment. The Wolverines failed at least one clear in each quarter – and I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen them do that before. The Oosterbaan advantage in the ride was minimized as well, forcing only three failed Irish clears on 20 attempts.

Defensively, Gerald Logan actually had a nice game despite giving up 16 goals. With 16 saves, he was right at .500 against a really good Notre Dame offense (Robbie Zonino entered to make a save and allow a goal himself). He just faced a ton of rubber thanks to the possession advantage the Irish built up, pretty good shooting accuracy (34 of 44 were on cage), and the ability of ND to back up the shots that they did miss. Holding a team with 43 possessions to 44 shots isn’t bad, but against a talented squad like Notre Dame, they’re going to make the most of them.

Mikey Wynne, Matt Kavanaugh, and Conor Doyle had big days offensively. That is one heck of an attack unit, so it’s no surprise. Brother Rice alum Sergio Perkovic added two goals from the midfield, and faceoff specialist Nick Ossello had a pair of assists. In the settled defense, Michigan was able to hold their own with Notre Dame’s midfielders, but the attackmen were just too good.

For the Maize and Blue, attack Ian King notched four goals and added two assists (giving him a hand in 75% of Michigan’s eight goals), and linemate Will Meter had two goals and an assist himself. Notre Dame is more known for its strong defense than explosive offense (at least until this year), so the offensive efficiency is actually a bright sign, rather than a disappointment.

As is tradition, Michigan played a really clean game – just one penalty, albeit one that ended in an EMO goal for Notre Dame. They went 1/3 on the EMO with five Notre Dame penalties total, converting on a two-man EMO once and failing to capitalize a second time.

Elsewhere

Boxscore. Michigan recap. Photo gallery. Notre Dame recap.

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The Next Level: April 14, 2015

Our weekly look at Michigan natives who are playing college lacrosse at Division-1 institutions this spring:

Bellarmine 17, Jacksonville 9

  • Sophomore attack/midfield Graham Macko (Brother Rice) – Scored a Goal on two Shots and added an assist.

Binghamton 11, Albany 15

  • Freshman midfielder Liam Reaume (Brother Rice) – Did not see game action.

Canisius 6, Cornell 12
Canisius 7, Quinnipiac 9

  • Freshman midfielder Keith Pravato (Novi) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore midfielder Steve Wizniuk (De La Salle) – Did not see game action.

Delaware 8, Drexel 9

  • Senior defenseman Bennett Packer (Brother Rice) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.

Detroit 9, Monmouth 8

  • Senior midfield/attack Brandon Beauregard (Notre Dame Prep) – Started, recorded an Assist, took two Shots (zero on goal), and caused one turnover. Also committed two turnovers.
  • Sophomore attack Kyle Beauregard (Notre Dame Prep) – Started, scored a Goal on five Shots (two on goal), and picked up two ground balls. Also committed two turnovers.
  • Senior midfielder Mike Birney (Detroit Catholic Central) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.
  • Freshman midfielder Sean Birney (Detroit Catholic Central) – Scored a Goal on two Shots (both on goal)
  • Senior midfielder Scott Drummond (Birmingham Seaholm) – Scored a Goal on 10(!) Shots (six(!) on goal) and picked up one ground ball.
  • Sophomore goalie Connor Flynn (Rockford) – Did not see game action.
  • Senior defenseman Joe Gifford (Notre Dame Prep) – Started, but only made the scoresheet by committing one penalty for 0:30.
  • Redshirt freshman attack Alex Gilhooly (Detroit Catholic Central) – Took one Shot on goal.
  • Sophomore midfielder Ben Gjokaj (Walled Lake Central) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore midfielder Brad Harris (Saline) – Scored a Goal on his only Shot. Also committed one turnover.
  • Freshman midfielder Charlie Hayes (Utica Eisenhower) – Started and caused one turnover.
  • Junior midfielder Andy Hebden (Brother Rice) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore LSM JD Hess (Birmingham Seaholm) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.
  • Sophomore attack/midifeld Connor Maks (UD-Jesuit) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore midfielder Greg Marzec (Brother Rice) – Won 8/12 faceoffs, picking up two ground balls, and scored a Goal on his only Shot. Also committed one penalty for 1:00.
  • Redshirt freshman defenseman Bryan Matney (Ann Arbor Pioneer) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.
  • Freshman midfielder Chris Perry (Utica Eisenhower) – Did not see game action.
  • Freshman LSM Austin Ross (Warren Mott) – Did not see game action.
  • Senior midfielder Thomas Sible (Forest Hills Central) – Picked up one ground ball. Also committed two turnovers.
  • Freshman midfielder Brett Spanski (Traverse City Central) – Did not see game action.
  • Freshman defenseman Travis Sparling (Novi) – Did not see game action.
  • Junior midfielder Mike Spuller (Dexter) – Took three Shots (one on goal) and picked up three ground balls. Also committed one turnover.
  • Redshirt freshman attack Adam Susalla (Birmingham Seaholm) – Did not see game action.
  • Junior defenseman Jordan Yono (Detroit Catholic Central) – Started, caused three turnovers, and picked up four ground balls.

Duke 15, Virginia 8

  • Freshman midfielder Matthew Giampetroni (Cranbrook) – Did not see game action.

Marquette 7, Notre Dame 14

  • Junior midfielder K.C. Kennedy (Brother Rice) – Won 8/21 faceoffs and picked up one ground ball. Also committed one penalty for 1:00.
  • Junior attack Henry Nelson (Brother Rice) – SPLayed, but did not accrue any statistics.

Marquette 14, Providence 10

  • Junior midfielder K.C. Kennedy (Brother Rice) – Won 0/3 faceoffs and picked up one ground ball.
  • Junior attack Henry Nelson (Brother Rice) – Scored a Goal on his only Shot.

Michigan 8, Ohio State 13

  • Sophomore faceoff specialist Brian Archer (Brighton) – Did not see game action.
  • Senior defenseman Mack Gembis (Cranbrook) – Started, caused two turnovers, and picked up four ground balls.
  • Junior midfielder Riley Kennedy (Brother Rice) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.
  • Senior attack Will Meter (Brother Rice) – Started scored a Goal on three Shots (two on goal), and picked up one ground ball.
  • Senior midfielder Thomas Orr (Detroit Catholic Central) – Caused one turnover and picked up three ground balls. Also committed three turnovers.
  • Junior defenseman Chris Walker (Brother Rice) – Did not see game action.

NJIT 4, Marist 20

  • Freshman midfielder Brent Lubin (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.

Notre Dame 14, Marquette 7

  • Sophomore midfielder Sergio Perkovic (Brother Rice) – Started, scored three Goals on seven Shots (five on goal), added two Assists, caused one turnover and picked up three ground balls.

Penn 10, Harbard 9

  • Sophomore goalie Ahmed Iftikhar (Detroit Country Day) – Did not see game action.

Providence 10, Marquette 14

  • Freshman midfielder Joshua Keller (East Grand Rapids) – Scored a Goal on three Shots and picked up two ground balls.

Richmond 20, High Point 4

  • Sophomore attack JP Forester (Brother Rice) – Started, scored four Goals on 11 Shots (nine on goal), added two Assists and picked up one ground ball.

Robert Morris 10, Mount St. Mary’s 7
Robert Morris 8, Bryant 10

  • Sophomore attack Kento Nakano (Rockford) – Did not see game action.

Rutgers 8, Maryland 9

  • Junior midfielder Jacob Coretti (East Grand Rapids) – Did not see game action.

VMI 5, Furman 13

  • Senior midfielder Andrew Erber (Dexter) – Did not see game action.

Yale 16, Brown 10

  • Freshman midfielder/attack Jason Alessi (Brother Rice) – Took two Shots (one on goal), picked up one ground ball, and committed one turnover.
  • Sophomore midfielder John Lazarsfeld (Ann Arbor Greenhills) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.

Feel free to use the comments for discussion, corrections, and statlines from other divisions.

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Detroit 9, Monmouth 8

Wipe a little sweat off your brow, Titans. Monmouth is improved enough this year that a loss to them in its own would not classify as “disaster.” The implications for the rest of UDM’s season, on the other hand, would have been grim.

Tempo Free

From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:

Monmouth 2015
Monmouth Detroit
Faceoff Wins 7 Faceoff Wins 14
Clearing 15-19 Clearing 13-15
Possessions 28 Possessions 31
Goals 8 Goals 9
Offensive Efficiency .286 Offensive Efficiency .290

In a game where one possession either way could have changed the outcome, the Titans did what they had to do in order to get the win. They were slightly more efficient, controlled the rubber a bit more, and got the win.

Notes

How about those first three quarters, huh? I feel like UDM has been digging itself a hole pretty regularly throughout the course of the year. Fortunately, they’ve been able to climb all the way out a few times, but it’s advisable to be the better team for 60 minutes, rather than just the final 15 or 30. Over all games this year, they’re being outscored 60-49 in the first half, and are up 55-48 in second halves. In games with a final margin of fewer than five goals (excising big losses against Michigan and Marquette, and big wins against Mercer and Manhattan), it’s 38-25 in the first half, and up 39-29 in the second. That’s somethin’ needs fixin’.

Back to this game in specific, The Titans opened scoring, but let Monmouth notch seven of the next eight, taking us to the 10-minute mark of the third quarter. From there, it was all Titans, with seven of the final eight goals.

The offensive standouts for Detroit were the usual suspects: the attack duo of Shayne Adams and Mark Anstead, with two goals and an assist each. Their linemate Brandon Beauregard contributed the only other assist of the game (on nine goals), and five difference Titans had a single goal apiece, including FOGO Greg Marzec.

Speaking of Marzec, he was a big part of this win. The goal he scored came on a clean faceoff win six seconds after Monmouth scored to take their biggest lead of the game, and not only stopped momentum, but swung it the Titans’ way in major fashion. He also won 8/12 draws (Damien Hicks was also at 67% with 6/9), and although Hicks had a better GB rate on his wins, Marzec clearly played a factor as well, including his contributions on offense.

It was not the finest day for Jason Weber, especially considering the general mediocrity of the Monmouth offense. He saved eight and allowed eight goals, which isn’t bad per se, but given the expectations for an outstanding keeper like Weber (and the competition faced), you’d like to see a shinier number there.

For two middling offensive efficiencies, this was actually a statistically prolific game for the defenses. Monmouth caused 12 turnovers (and Detroit committed four more on their own) while the Titans caused 10 (and Monmouth added three of their own). UDM’s consistent issues with turning the ball over return, but weren’t enough to cost them the game. On the positive side, Jordan Yono caused three Monmouth turnovers.

Mike Birney played – but did not start, nor did he take a single shot – but Scott Drummond filled the niche of taking a ton of shots, with 10. Six of them were on cage, but only one made it through the keeper.

For Monmouth, the offensive output was a little more concentrated (though they also had a general lack of assists). Starting attack Bryce Wasserman had a goal and two assists, while Zach Johannes and Tyler King had a pair of goals each. Goalie Garrett Conaway had 15 saves and nine goals against.

Elsewhere

Boxscore. Detroit recap. Photo gallery. Monmouth recap. Postgame interviews with Marzec and coach Chris Kolon:

Up Next

Detroit heads on the road the Loudonville, N.Y. to face Siena. This isn’t your slightly older sibling’s Siena team, though. The longtime MAAC overlord is 5-6 on the year, 2-2 in the league with losses to Monmouth and Canisius. There’s a win there for the taking.

Should such a win happen, it puts Detroit in comfortable position for making the MAAC Championships (it would almost take some complex tiebreaker s to keep them out in that instance). Things aren’t over with a loss, but a win against Canisius the following week and some tiebreak mojo may be necessary.

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Michigan Preview: Ohio State

The Buckeyes started the year very poorly, but have rounded into form over its course (with a 9-0 hiccup here or there). This should be a test for the Wolverines, but one they can pass with a strong game.

Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes Lacrosse

A nut with a body. And a lacrosse stick.

April 12, 2015, 2 p.m. EST
Michigan Stadium
ESPNU/ESPN3
Live stats.
@UmichLacrosse.
Michigan preview.
Ohio State preview. .pdf notes.

Tempo-Free Profile

The TempoFreeLax.com numbers are out of date, thanks to the NCAA’s hilarious inability to be good at literally anything (well, litigation, I guess) shutting down the ability to pull the stats. The raw numbers are still here:

Ohio State 2015
Pace 56.33
Poss% 53.99
Off. Eff. 31.23
Def. Eff. 30.23

Inconsistency aside, Ohio State has been a very good team this year. They are strong on the possession game (and play few possessions, preventing opposing offenses from getting in a groove).

They also have a pretty good offense, and it’s not one that’s built up its numbers against bums: They’ve beaten Denver and Johns Hopkins by scoring 13 and 15 goals, respectively. They also got shut out against Notre Dame, so… inconsistency. Yeah.

On defense, the Buckeyes have really struggled. They lost to Detroit in a really slow game (a typically mediocre UDM offense reached .300 against them). They needed just about every goal against Denver and Hopkins to win.

OSU is Vulnerable, but they have certainly shown the potential to become an elite team. Opening loss to Detroit and the shutout against Notre Dame make the big picture seem a little uglier than it probably is.

Offense

OSU’s offense was not super-good to start the year (and the Notre Dame hiccup was just a couple weeks ago, so they’re clearly prone to falling back into that rut – though nobody’s confusing Michigan’s defense with Notre Dame’s). However, they’ve picked things up in the grand scheme.

It should come as no surprise that Jesse King is the straw the stirs the drink. The Canadian senior midfielder leads OSU in both goals (29) and assists (17). If you can shut down King, the rest of the Ohio State offense has a hard time picking things up around him. It’s a potentially dangerous strategy with junior attack Carter Brown (24 goals, 13 assists) and senior midfielder David Planning (11 goals, 12 assists) also on the field, but it’s one that Detroit rode to success, and is probably worth the risk, at least for parts of the contest.

The other threats are junior attack Ryan Hunter – a finisher with 11 goals and three assists – senior midfielder Turner Evans (six and six), and freshman attack Connor Chell. I’m letting those guys try to beat me while getting King out of the game and trying to limit the damage of Brown and Planning.

The Buckeyes have shown struggles trying to compensate for a King that isn’t strongly in the game, and letting OSU try from the outside with Gerald Logan between the pipes is a viable strategy.

Defense

The Buckeyes have built their recent reputation on being a strong defense, but it’s just not the case this season. They’ve limited goals allowed by playing a few dogs and primarily keeping a slow pace of play, but they’re not the solid stopping unit they were in the recent past.

Redshirt sophomore Tom Carey has been the main man between the pipes, and he actually has a pretty good save percentage at .555. He’s not lighting the world on fire, but it’s been enough to get the wins.

Junior Robbie Haus has been the only every-game starter on close D, and he’s the defensive side of the ball’s GB leader with 20. He’s also caused eight turnovers on the season, not a huge number for a Buckeye defense that is more prone to letting the opponents get off bad shots that putting their goalie in a vulnerable position. Senior Evan Mulchrone is more of a dangerman, with 13 CTs on the year. He’s played in all 12 games as an LSM, starting seven.

Junior Chris Mahoney has started all nine games in which he’s played, missing the first two contests and the close win against Bellarmine completely. The Buckeyes are clearly a much better defense with him. Freshman Brandon Barger has also gotten into the mix.

The Michigan offense is better with sophomore attack Ian King in the lineup, and the Cincinnati native might play with an additional chip on his shoulder against his home-state team. The U-M offense will need to be well-rounded to see success, but there will be opportunities. Beating the Buckeyes’ season average of 1.1 shots against per possession will be a key.

Special Teams

Senior Chris May has been outstanding on facoffs, winning .647 on the season. He’s Patrick McEwen’s No. 7 specialist in the nation. With Michigan’s struggles on the draw this year, look for mixing of personnel to find the right combination. The changes to the faceoff rules seem to have worked against Brad Lott’s style of play, but Michael McDonnell has been able to spell him adequately, and LSM Chase Brown is capable of getting in to muck things up. If U-M can keep this phase of the game to a 60/40 loss, they’ll be within striking distance. Whether they can… is a little more questionable.

Ohio State is a pretty good clearing team, gaining the offensive box on .883 of attempts. That’s No. 14 nationally, albeit against some teams that aren’t very good (Robert Morris) or are good but don’t emphasize the ride (Denver). Michigan’s ability to bring that percentage down can help them make up some ground in the possession game that they’re likely to cede at the dot.

Coming the other way, the Buckeyes are a decent riding team, but nothing special. Michigan has gone in fits and starts of being a very good clearing team and having some struggles. Whichever Michigan team shows up in that regard will tell a big part of the story of this game. U-M must make the most of its possessions.

Ohio State doesn’t commit many penalties, but opponents have committed a ton against them. They’re also decent at converting, finishing 12 of 43 EMO opportunities this season. The man-down D is also good. Playing 6v6 and not putting the defense in bad positions is another key for Michigan. Fortunately, the Wolverines are in the fourth year of being a very clean team (one game against Jacksonville with hilariously poor officiating notwithstanding), so it should be a break-even there.

Big Picture

It’s Michigan’s goal to make it to the Big Ten Tournament this year, and currently sitting fourth in the standings at 1-1 (the Buckeyes are tied at the top at 2-0), they need every win they can get. One against a team that’s likely to be somewhere in the 2-4 range also provide tiebreaker opportunities.

The Maize and Blue have played the best team in the league and the worst (Maryland and Rutgers, respectively, and neither with much competition for that mantle), and achieved the results expected of them in those situations. Going 2-1 against the remaining three teams – Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, and Penn State – might be a lot to ask, but it’s what will be necessary to guarantee entry to the tournament. 1-2 might be enough in certain situations.

If I had to guess today, I would say Michigan steals one of the next three and finishes as the No. 5 team in the league (narrowly missing the tournament), but a win today would go a long way toward surpassing that finish.

Predictions

Ohio State is a real enigma. They’ve shown that they can be really good against good teams (Denver), really bad against good teams (Notre Dame), and somewhere in between against a lot of others. A loss to Detroit is probably not in line with their hopes, either.

  • Michigan comes out with a plan to limit Jesse King, and they’re successful for a quarter or two. However, he breaks through after the break, and U-M just doesn’t have the manpower to keep him in check the whole contest.
  • Gerald Logan wins the battle of the goalkeepers, albeit facing significantly more opportunities to shine. He’ll face some rubber, and do the standard Gerald Logan thing to keep the back of his net clean.
  • Ohio State has a very good day in possession (and that’s probably enough to swing it on a day where the offensive efficiencies will be pretty even). They’re too good on faceoffs for this Michigan team, and they’ll do enough in the ride/clear phase to solidify that advantage.
  • Ian King has a very nice day – he changes the Michigan offense when he’s in the lineup, as we’ve seen in his absence – though some of it might not show up on the scoreboard against a strong Buckeyes D.

Michigan comes close in this one. The Buckeyes have top-end potential, but they’re also capable of laying clunkers. Michigan has never beaten them, and the rivalry factor makes that burn a little more. Things could go either way, but OSU escapes with a 10-9 win.

Share your predictions, discussion, etc. in the comments.

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Detroit Preview: Monmouth

Monmouth was bad last year. They are much better this year. On with the show.

Monmouth

Monmouth Hawks lacrosse logo

A rare photo of the Monmouth mascot mid-magic trick.

April 11, 2015, 11 a.m. EST
Titan Field (Red-out)
Live stats.
@DetroitTitans.
Detroit Preview. .pdf notes.

Tempo-Free Profile

The TempoFreeLax.com numbers are out of date, thanks to the NCAA’s hilarious inability to be good at literally anything (well, litigation, I guess) shutting down the ability to pull the stats. The raw numbers are still here:

Monmouth 2014
Pace 53.10
Poss% 47.08
Off. Eff. 22.80
Def. Eff. 25.98

Monmouth is a lot better than last year. The TFL stats would actually be fascinating (shakes fist at NCAA).

They’re extremely slow – which has prevented them from getting blown out, despite a possession deficit. Fortunately, that possession deficit is not quite the gulf it was last year.

They’re still utter garbage on the offensive side of the ball. That mark would have been good for a bottom five finish in last year’s overall numbers (improvement though it is over Monmouth’s own offense last year).

Where they’ve made huge strides is on defense. They’re a legitimately great unit on that side of the ball, especially for a new program from a bad league. The strength of schedule adjustments (hello Wagner, NJIT, and – surprisingly – Siena) would make the numbers look a lot less shiny, but they’re legitimately impressive nonetheless.

Offense

Bryce Wasserman, a freshman attack from Texas of all places (there’s good lacrosse in Texas, but to be the star for a team as a true freshman is impressive for a non-hotbed guy), is the main guy for Monmouth. Like, in a huge way. As in, he has almost as many points as the next three guys combined.

Wasserman has 19 goals and seven assists, so he’s a bit of a do-everything guy (unsurprisingly, Monmouth doesn’t assist on even half their goals, so he accounts for a fairly impressive portion of their scoring). He’s had a hand in 26 of 57 Hawk goals.

Sophomore midfielder Tyler Keen is a true finisher type, with seven goals and no assists. Sophomore attack Chris Daly and senior midfielder Zach Johannes are ahead of him with seven goals and five assists and six goals and two assists, respectively.

Defense

Senior goalie Garrett Conaway is having a great year, saving .623 of shots faced. He’s allowing just 7.11 goals per game (remember that Monmouth is one of the slowest teams in the country and adjust the level you’re impressed accordingly).

Senior Ryan Horsch and sophomores Andrew Grajewski and Ryan Atkinson have started all 10 games in front of him.  Horsch and Grajewski are caused-turnover machines. Clearly, the defense as a whole is also keeping Conaway from having to make too many tough saves – or maybe just good enough that a really good goalie can make those.

Special Teams

Sophomore Marco Mosleh has missed two games on faceoffs, but even when he’s around, he’s winning at a .438 clip. His replacement, freshman Keegan Teluk (.333) is way worse. That is not a strength for the Hawks in the least.

Monmouth is really bad on the clear, but they do make up for it to an extent by emphasizing the ride.

They’re pretty even in the penalty department in both facets. They commit about the same number of penalties as opponents (slightly fewer), and are as bad on the man-up offense as they are good on man-down D.

Big Picture

Doesn’t matter if this Monmouth team is much improved over last year’s outfit. You want to play big boy lacrosse? Win the game.

In fact, if the Titans lose this one, there’s a strong likelihood that they don’t make the MAAC Tournament, which is basically the only way this season could be considered an abject failure.

Predictions

No strong details necessary. Slow game, defensive battle, Detroit wins 9-7.

Share your predictions, discussion, etc. in the comments.

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