Michigan Preview: Hobart

Here it is: Michigan’s best chance of the year to come away with a win. Even though High Point has exceeded early expectations (already picking up a win and coming close in a couple other games), this is one that Michigan has to expect to win.

Hobart

Hobart Statesmen lacrosse logo

Let’s hear it for generics!

1:00 p.m. EST March 9, 2013
Geneva, N.Y.
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Hobart is an interesting one. The Statesmen have an uncompetitive loss to a mediocre Binghamton squad, but have also beaten a very good Colgate squad (you may have heard of this “Baum” guy they have) and smoked a Siena team that…. you guessed it, lost to the very same Binghamton team that smothered Hobart.

Regardless of their specific results against this schedule, the thing that is clear is the strength of it. Hobart has played some pretty good programs so far, so the stats should be representative of how they’d do against teams much better than Michigan.

Hobart 2013
Hobart Opponents
Faceoff Wins 46 Faceoff Wins 56
Clearing 71-84 Clearing 70-79
Possessions 139 Possessions 148
Goals 40 Goals 48
Offensive Efficiency .288 Offensive Efficiency .324

Hobart is playing at a pretty standard pace through four games. They’re at a slight disadvantage in possession thanks to below-average faceoffs and a mediocre clear. Those two factors combine (and it’s important to note the tough schedule) to give them fewer chances.

As for what they’re doing with those chances, the Statesmen’s offense isn’t too bad at all, but the defense really is. Against Michigan, there’s a pretty good chance that the numbers improve.

Offense

Junior attackman Alex Love leads the team in scoring with 11 goals and five assists. He’ll be playing the role of Dan Lomas in tomorrow’s production of “Michigan v. High Point.” Classmate (and linemate) Cam Stone is second on the team in scoring with eight and three. Behind those two, there’s a bit of a dropoff. Freshman attack/mid Frank Young is next with four goals and two assists. The third starter on attack is another junior, Jake McHenry, who has four goals and an assist.

There are only two players on the entire Hobart roster with more assists than goals, so it’s clear that this is an offense that concentrates quite a bit on players winning individual battles. Well fewer than half of Hobart’s goals are assisted.

Given the recent play of Michigan’s defense, I’m not so sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. U-M’s close D has given up their fair share of wins in individual battles, and Gerald Logan can only do so much. Rebounding from recent struggles in one-on-one battles will be paramount.

Defense

This is not a high-pressure defense – the Statesmen cause turnovers on just 16.2% of opponent possessions. They also allow opponents to take a ton of shots. This is just not a good defense. Of course, against Michigan, it has the potential to look much better.

Senior captain Sean Regan, classmate Reid Rosello, and sophomore Eric Lombardo have been the starting close defense for the most part (Lombardo didn’t start against Colgate). Junior Peter Bolte is the starting LSM. None have put up huge GB numbers yet.

Despite the holes in the close D, the Statesmen have been able to keep opponent scoring to reasonable levels thanks to an excellent goalkeeper in junior Peter Zonino (Michigan fans are hoping his younger brother Robbie, a 2013 Michigan signee, is even better). Zonino is saving .505 of shots faced without much help in front of him.

This is a matchup similar to the High Point game, though I think since the HPU defenders were able to prevent Michigan from getting any good looks on Geisler, Hobart should be able to do much of the same for Zonino. However, Zonino ain’t Geisler, so the openings that Michigan does get should be a little easier to cash in on.

Special Teams

Two players have taken significant faceoffs for Hobart, and neither Gryphin Kelly nor Charles Sipe has approached the .500 mark. Brad Lott is chugging along at a consistent .500 when not playing Johns Hopkins and Unstoppable Faceoff God Mike Poppleton, so this could be a slight area of advantage if Lott and his wings are on the same page. Given that it’s the third game in less than a week, they should be.

Hobart’s clear has been mediocre, and they don’t emphasize the ride a whole lot. Michigan had been pretty good in both, but the clear fell apart against both Army and High Point. If that can get cleaned up – certainly no guarantee – Michigan should be able to “win” both of these phases.

Hobart is allowing and committing equal numbers of penalties, but is allowing opponents to convert at a higher clip. Slight advantage to U-M, though they haven’t been their typical clean selves in recent games.

Big Picture

At this point, every Michigan game until Delaware is pretty much conceded as a loss. This is one game where a win is possible. If U-M can steal one, the tenor of the season changes. A win for the Wolverines would go a long way toward building confidence, even if the season is not going to be a broad success no matter what.

Keeping things close – and hoping for the opportunity to sneak out with a win at the end – is the goal in this game (even though there are no moral victories, etc. etc.). There’s also a stealable game against Fairfield coming up shortly after this one, so building confidence is huge.

Predictions

Like I said, every game until Delaware is conceded as a loss (and even the Blue Hens seem to be performing much better in their most recent couple games than they started the year).

  • Michigan wins the possession battle despite continued struggles with the clear. Many of the turnovers against High Point were unforced, so even a Hobart team that doesn’t emphasize the ride should be able to earn some free possessions.
  • Gerlad Logan outduels Robbie Zonino, even though he’s clearly not back to full strength yet. That includes making some saves he has no business making, but also letting down with a softie or two (as he did against High Point).
  • The Michigan defense continues to struggle against skilled attackmen. This is just something that’s going to happen until young depth is able to step up (which might not come until next year).
  • The Wolverines manage to get a goal from someone who hasn’t scored yet this season. My early thought is Brother Rice freshman Riley Kennedy, who made his first EMO appearances against High Point.

Coming off two straight poor performances, Michigan comes out and surprises a bit. Some things work offensively, and they get a nice stop or two. However, it takes more than that to pull off a win. Hobart takes this one, 13-8.

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26 Responses to Michigan Preview: Hobart

  1. Capt. JAck says:

    You really think Logan is better than Zonino?? Good luck with that. As for Hobarts’ D, things changes over the past week. ASk Mr. Baum about that. Lets see how UM does this seasdon in the ECAC before you make these predictions/assumptions.

    • Tim says:

      Yes, I can confidently say Logan is beter than Zonino. Let’s put it this way: despite awful defensive play (and one of the country’s toughest schedules in the nation to date), Logan is No. 14 nationally in save percentage with .589. Just from looking at the NCAA’s site, I can’t tell you Zonino’s save percentage, because he’s outside the top 50 nationally.

  2. Ben Singer says:

    At first I thought, Robbie Zonino plays for Hobart?! But then I did a google search and decided you meant Pete.

  3. Lee says:

    Have you actually watched a Hobart game this year? Or just relying on stats? Hobart trailed Cornell 4-3 late in the second quarter and 11-8 late in the third. A game I watched. They knocked off a ranked Colgate team in a game I watched.

    I suggest that if you took out the Cornell game the defensive stats would look a lot better (after all, a 4-game statistical sample is not mathematically sound enough if you have one game that skews things). Cornell is a LOT better than Hopkins right now and Hobart played them pretty tough until the fourth quarter.

    Remember I covered the UM game at Sun Life. I like your coach, your goalie is really good, but this is not a winnable game. Besides 11 goals, Love has probably hit 7-8 posts already. Hobart is where you want to be in 2 years. The last two years Hobart’s recruiting classes have been Top 20 (per Inside Lacrosse) and they are finally starting to reap those benefits, as the signature win over Colgate showed. UM is just now going through that first stage.

    At the risk of being flamed before AND after the game don’t be surprised if this is a rout as Hobart looks to continue the momentum of Tuesday’s win.

    • Ben Singer says:

      Hi Lee,

      Did you actually read the preview, or just rely on a quick skim of the post without reading beyond the first couple of sentences? Tim conceded your points about Hobart and more in this post. A post that I read.

      I’m quoting Tim here:

      “The Statesmen have an uncompetitive loss to a mediocre Binghamton squad, but have also beaten a very good Colgate squad… Hobart has played some pretty good programs so far, so the stats should be representative of how they’d do against teams much better than Michigan. …Against Michigan, there’s a pretty good chance that the numbers improve. …

      “At this point, every Michigan game until Delaware is pretty much conceded as a loss. …If U-M can steal one, the tenor of the season changes. …Hobart takes this one, 13-8.”

      (Consider this your pre-game flame.)

      • Lee says:

        I certainly read the post. My quarrel is with the statistical analysis in any way showing this as a winnable game. The Binghamton loss was not uncompetitive. Hobart had close to ten posts or point blank shots that they failed to convert and turned it over 26 times, which is a pretty bizarre combination. Statistically it looks bad but it is what we call outside the second standard deviation . . . something that can happen but is unlikely to repeat for quite awhile.

        The reason that there is a dropoff between Love and Stone to the rest is because Hobart plays a LOT of players. They played 26 players last game, inculding 11 middies. Many of them have scored a goal or two so far. Taylor Vanderbeek scored 20 goals as a frosh middie last year and he is seeing less time because the depth is so much better this year.

        And frankly I don’t see how Delaware is winnable either. The only real win opportunity will be Detroit, as even St. Joe’s is improved this year, although that is a possibility as your kids mature later in the year.

        And Detroit’s 0-5 record is against pretty good teams and 4 road games. This schedule is BRUTAL for a team playing freshmen at your rate. The ECAC is arguably the second best conference this year and you’re not ready yet to compete. If you get 2 wins it is a SUCCESSFUL year.

        I love that your school made the jump and that they are obviously serious (my niece is a soph at UM) but this year is all about ONE thing – getting your freshmen experience. I wouldn’t even consider wins and losses this year, that is for next year. Your school made a conscious decision to go D1 in one year; all of the other programs decided to take two years to build AND RECRUIT. Think of this as your second year with the only difference being you are playing second year scrimmages as actual varsity games.

        • Tim says:

          My issue with your point about committing turnovers and missing the net is this: at what point does that go from “random chance” to “maybe Hobart is just like that?” You can’t assume it’s all chance (nor should I have assumed that it was all characteristic of Hobart, but that’s far more likely than chance to account for all of it).

          What makes it outside the standard deviation? Unless you have concrete evidence of how good Hobart actually is, you can’t chalk up that one game to being anomalously bad. The season-long data indicates that they’re closer to the squad that commits 26 turnovers in 30 possessions and can’t hit the broad side of a barn than one that has to be “unlucky” for that to happen.

          That’s the reason we look at the full body of data – to determine what is and is not outside “second standard deviation” for that team, instead of just assuming it.

          • Lee says:

            If I looked at the Army game (and I was in person for that one in the press box) as the norm your team will be beat by at least ten goals today. One goal on a one on one dodge. NO ONE else could break down a defender. If it wasn’t for Gerald we would not even be having this conversation, your team would be getting whipped pretty much every game.

            Hobart committed 13 turnovers against Colgate and buried pretty much all of their close chances. The Binghamton game was played in miserable conditions. The Colgate game was not.

            Army does not even have a good win yet – VMI, Manhattan and UM; they lost big to Syracuse and UMass. And they COMPLETELY dominated you in every facet. Don’t kid yourself.

          • Tim says:

            I’m not sure where I’m kidding myself. I readily admitted – even predicted – that “my team” would lose this game. I’m well aware that Michigan and Detroit are two of the worst teams in the nation. Especially with several contributors out today, they’ll get beaten even worse than I thought they would when I made the original prediction.

            The fact remains that Hobart simply isn’t as good as you seem to think. They’re an OK team, one of the worst-shooting and most-turnover-prone in the country. That won’t cause them to lose to Michigan, but building them up as some unbeatable force is simply not accurate either. “If it wasn’t for Gerald…” doesn’t make sense either. The fact is, he’s on the team. He’s part of the team. What the team would be like without him is irrelevant, just like it’s irrelevant what Hobart would be like if they weren’t one of the country’s sloppiest teams (it’s a testament to their ability that they’ve played as well as they have while being that sloppy, and there’s a good chance they won’t play that sloppy against a terrible Michigan team today). It is who they are.

            I’m not sure what caused this to get so contentious (I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you’re a Hobart alum).

    • Tim says:

      It’s going to be much worse than I initially anticipated. HEaring that several Michigan players will be unavailable this afternoon.

  4. wayne says:

    injuries?

  5. Michlaxfan says:

    Assume a blowout today…then look at rest of schedule…

    Still think the AD doesn’t make sweeping changes?

    If not, the rats will start fleeing the ship.

    • Tim says:

      Yes, I am 100% positive that John Paul will be the Michigan lacrosse coach next year (as long as on-field results are what we’re basing things on).

  6. Michlaxfan says:

    Bart just went on 3 goal run
    Goalie had to save 9 SOG in first half

    UM down 4 to 2 at half.

    Not a blowout so far.

  7. Jason says:

    Lee, love the educated commentary. Glad you are contributing to the discussion and I liked your article on the Army game.

    Looking at the game feed, Hobart looks like they hit the post at least another 10 times today. I’m willing to bet they shoot for corners, and might actually be the type of team that does this regularly. Having that happen twice now seems like its within those standard deviations.

  8. wayne says:

    11-7
    13 saves and 10 pipes
    a blowout sans logan

    • Tim says:

      Glad you can totally pretend like Logan isn’t on the team, then, because otherwise what you’re saying wouldn’t make any sense!

      • AndyD says:

        Pipes are just a close miss. In fact, many coaches will tell you they are worse since you get no backup. The goalie makes no difference there regardless.

  9. Michlaxfan says:

    Why hedging with “on field results”
    You were unequivocal 48 hours ago.

    • Tim says:

      Barring a Penn State football-like catastrophe (which I’m certainly not expecting), John Paul will be the Michigan lacrosse coach next year. Troll on, troll.

  10. Mike says:

    Good prediction. Overvalued Hobart by just one goal. You know your stuff.

  11. Michlaxfan says:

    Who were the players who didn’t play?

    • Tim says:

      Starting FO Brad Lott (I was very pleasantly surprised to see backup Kevin Wylie hold his own on draws), Starting D Charlie Keady, starting LSM Chase Brown, role-player middie Evan Glaser. All freshmen. Probably a few more that I don’t know about because they wouldn’t have played anyway.

      Starting middie Thomas Paras (senior captain) still very limited by injury and only played a little bit.

      • Ben Singer says:

        I don’t see JD Johnson in the box score, but it sort of strikes me as unlikely that he would have gotten a suspension with all the frosh.

        • Tim says:

          Didn’t even notice that he wasn’t out there. Not sure if is was injury or discipline related. Either way, that’s three of Michigan’s top five poles out.

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