MAAC Tournament Preview: Marist

Marist ripped through the conference schedule all season… before getting beatedn up by a Manhattan team whose most recent outing was a pasting by VMI. Even if the Red Foxes aren’t as bad as a loss to the Jaspers would have you believe, that game certainly shows they’re not invincible.

Marist

Marist Red Foxes Lacrosse

RAWR!

4:15 p.m. EST
May 3, 2013
Buffalo, N.Y.
Ticket info.
Live Stats. Live on ESPN3.
@DetroitTitans
.pdf game notes.

Previously on…

Marist Preview.
Detroit 8, Marist 11.

Tempo-Free Profile

The TempoFreeLax.com numbers displayed here are adjusted for strength of schedule. Marist has played the third-easiest schedule in the country, with only Mercer and Wagner facing easier slates in the country (despite not being able to play themselves. Impressive).

Marist 2013
Pace 69.38 (16)
Poss% 52.88 (8)
Off. Eff. 31.23 (26)
Def. Eff. 30.14 (28)
Pyth% 61.49 (20)

This is a team that was obviously pretty good when the Titans headed to Poughkeepsie to play them in mid-March, but they’ve even improved most of their numbers since that time.

The offensive and defensive efficiancies were in the mid-30s before and both have now climbed into the mid-20s. That’s against a host of pretty bad teams (and Duke), so they were mostly dominant in order to overcome the strength of schedule adjustment.

The area they’ve made the biggest improvement is possession. They’re now dominating that metric, and since they play a pretty fast brand of ball, that gives them a lot of opportunities to score. If you can keep the ball away from Marist, you can beat them. They’ve shown, however, that it’s pretty tough to do.

The Team

I won’t spend too much time recapping the main personnel – if you’re interested, you can check out the previous preview post I wrote. More interesting to me is what’s changed since last time.

The faceoffs have gotten a lot better. Matt Dugan’s number have pretty much remained the same, but he’s developed into the clear top option for the Marist coaching staff. That alone has seen the Red Foxes improve by leaps and bounds in the past few games.

What We Learned Last Time

Don’t get killed in possession, and you’ll stay close enough to win. Marist is a really good possession team, and taking that advantage away from them is the way to even things up. The Titans aren’t going to excel on faceoffs, but mucking things up and preventing Marist from dominating possession will be big.

The Titans also had a terrible day clearing last time out (albeit against a pretty good ride), another area in which you can kill yourself in possession. The Titans need to chop the self-inflicted damage out of their game in order to steal the win.

The UDM offense had a poor performance in the first game without Shayne Adams. Since that time – albeit against poor competition – the Titans have really figured out how to adjust to the loss of Adams, share the wealth, and score the ball. Doing it against a pretty good Marist team is a whole new deal.

Big Picture

Simple: Survive and advance. The Titans are looking to extend their season one more day – and get one game closer to the program’s first NCAA Tournament.

Predictions

I have a bit of confidence for the Titans in this one. That’s mostly been the kiss of death this year.

  • Detroit clears much better than the 20/29 performance last time out, but the faceoff advantage for Marist still skews overall possession in a big time way.
  • The Titans actually won’t press out and play aggressively as we’ve seen in some games, since Marist has pretty good sticks. The turnovers will still come – you can’t just deny your identity, as UDM did too many times early this year – but it won’t be a fiesta of them.
  • The Detroit offense will share the ball, no player notching more than four total points.

Despite an improved Detroit team and a Marist team coming off an embarrassing loss, I think the difference in quality is just too great for the Titans. Marist will be pissed off coming out of that Manhattan debacle, and try to make the Titans pay. That could mean some sloppiness, but it won’t be enough to give away the game. Detroit comes excruciatingly close, but falls 13-12.

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

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16 Responses to MAAC Tournament Preview: Marist

  1. Jason says:

    MAAC Champs! Congratulations to UDM. Way to represent Michigan lacrosse. Even more impressive to have done it without Shayne. Good luck in the tournament. Notre Dame up next?

  2. Reg Hartner says:

    If you would have told me that’d lose the top SS D middie, top FOGO and top attack man and STILL win the MAAC is have said you’re crazy. Great coaching to get a young team better all year and peaking at the right time.

    Anyone that questions this offense or coaches now is clueless.

  3. Telly's dad says:

    These coaches resumes are very questionable at best. But what those coaches and those kids did this year after losing some key players is remarkable.

  4. DCLaxFan says:

    Although I’m a UM lax fan I have to say congrats to UD. Here’s hoping that the Titans represent the GLS with pride in the tourney.

  5. Sir Laxalot says:

    Detroit is a hot team coming in… Playing like a team on all levels… Overcame more than the score against Siena on Sunday…Walking out of the game on Sunday, Some Siena fans said Detroit was a bush league team…. Why because they beat you? Detroit hold your heads up high and pay no attention to the Lax snobs… You are there because you beat a 10-3 team and an 8-8 team and because your league has an automatic qualifier built in… too bad if anyone has a problem with that… GO Titans beat the Irish!!!!

  6. AndyD says:

    Said last week the MAAC was up for grabs and here we are. Congratulations Titans! Now don’t be satisfied. ND is a very beatable 2 seed.

  7. CKLaxalum says:

    Agreed on the point about doing it without key players. Agreed on the point about the coaching being questionable (at times) but the overall feat being remarkable. DCLaxfan showed some great class, and I hope everyone in Michigan feels that way. I hope this does big things for UDM and lacrosse in Michigan as a whole. AndyD, I’d say Marist and Siena were “very beatable” but ND is “potentially beatable” in the sense that anything can happen.

  8. Sir Laxalot says:

    I like the fact the Titans played Notre Dame early in the year… They played that scrimmage hard… What ND team shows up will be huge…I think Detroit will have no fear… Eliminating turnovers, taking care of the ball, and a hot goal keeper and scorers will go a long game… I said it once, I’ll say it again…. Detroit is hot… and having fun, not a welcome sight for a team not playing well.

  9. CKLaxalum says:

    I agree that UDM playing (hard vs) ND in Fall Ball will eliminate the “unknown factor”…which is so often an advantage for a highly ranked team. I also agree with the points about a hot keeper and having fun. However, it’s not realistic to say the Titans will have “no fear”. Any team stepping onto the big stage (NCAA tournament and national tv) for the first time will certainly be dealing with at least some jitters.

  10. Sir Laxalot says:

    I’ll say it again.. No Fear… Anxiety, butterflies, but not fear… big difference… Go Titans!

  11. DCLaxFan says:

    Obviously Notre Dame is a very talented team, but it relies greatly on a lockdown defense, good goaltending, and some transition scores. That has been the approach that has propelled them to the lax elite over the past few years. That said, ND is not a team that scares me on offense. The key will be for the Titans will be to limit turnovers and get some offense from their middies, as I don’t think the UD attack will beat the ND defense. If the Titans can do those two things, and score at least 7 goals, then they’ll be in a winnable dogfight with the Irish. If not, then it will be a frustrating afternoon for the Titans. Here’s hoping that it is the former.

  12. ncaalaxnut says:

    The good thing about playing Notre Dame is that obviously for the 3rd game in a row Detroit will be underdogs…these young Titans seem to thrive in that roll and the pressure should be off as they have already exceeded the lax world’s expectations…which will hopefully translate to the Titans playing a high octane type of game like the last 3 games. This team will show up to play with no excuses about injuries or first time jitters. Can i see these young Titans winning YES if they play up to everyones potential these athletes are only scratching the surface of their potential…Put it together boys and let the cards fall were they may…

  13. AndyD says:

    To be fair, if both teams play to their potential then ND wins going away. They are more talented. However I do think the Detroit attack can beat the ND defense. ND plays good on-ball defense. Where they excel is team defense. They don’t worry about match-ups. They slide and recover very well. They help off-ball really well. They give up outside shots and depend on Kemp to save them. Great ball movement and smart shots are key. So is keeping turnovers down. ND will have more possessions.

    As an impartial observer I see a Detroit team that played the 57th ranked strength of schedule this year against an ND team that played the 5th ranked SOS. ND has been there before. UDM has not. ND is a legit top 15 team. Detroit only played one team of that caliber this year and lost by 6. That said, Detroit is playing as well as they have all year. They won when it mattered on the road. They have come back from big deficits. They are playing loose and having fun. If Levell is hot and they keep possession close who knows?

  14. Jason says:

    One thing I like about UDM is that they played ND twice already. It’s very hard to beat a team 3 times in one season, and ND will likely feel like they have the game one before the opening whistle. UDM knows they can compete, and ND may think they can coast through this game. Not taking the opponent seriously, plus ND in a small slump lately and UDM actually being quite a bit better from the preseason could make this one close. I’m not sure that will happen, but fingers crossed.

  15. AndyD says:

    Difference is the first two were scrimmages. No film study. No gameplan. Just play. No question Detroit will bring more energy. They will be bouncing off the walls. For ND this is just another year in the tourney.

    • Reg Hartner says:

      I’m not putting too much stock in the “played each other already” plan as good or bad for either team. I saw them play in Chicago for fall ball and it was a lot of freshmen and 2nd stringers for both teams.

      If you watch the Marist and Siena games there are SEVERAL changes they made pre game and more importantly in game to the faceoffs, O, D, special teams and rides/clears that they were not doing in MAAC games. Let alone what they were doing in fall ball or preseason.

      I know people have questioned this team and their coaching staff over the year, but they are playing well and very well coached right now. I can look at items in the Canisus, Marist and Siena games where the coaching staff made several coaching moves that won them those games. Kolon, Zimmerman and Adams have been stellar in the last 2 weeks. They have the kids bought in and are killing teams by being loose and better prepared. You’re also getting unsung heroes stepping up like Dwyer, Sible, Dennis, Davenport, Masterson, MacLean and Spuller. Not that those guys (especially Dwyer and Davenport) have not been battling all season, but they don’t get the press that Hebden, AJ, Houtby and Maini have gotten.

      Not to mention. Birney, Drummond and Andy Hebden have been great now that they have bonded as a line. They all play great D when they get caught in transition and have figured out how to take advantage of other middies on offense. Credit to the coaching staff for recruiting those guys that almost every other D1 program ignored.

      I can’t wait for this game. Most excited I’ve been over a lacrosse game since Rice played WRA in 2008.

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