Each week, we are going to highlight some of the sneaky-hard matchups that ranked teams face. To us, bad matchups are not just about going up against great offenses or stifling defenses. Everyone knows that Connor Fields makes Albany a bad matchup, no matter who they play. Highlighting those isn’t especially interesting.
Instead, we are going to focus on more subtle challenges. If a top team gets a lot of offensive opportunities from unsettled situations off faceoff wins and they are facing a team that is very good in transition defense, then even if the matchup overall doesn’t seem threatening, that facet of the game could cause problems and make the game tighter than expected.
To be clear, these are not predictions, just match up curiosities that could mean that the match up is a bit tougher than some might expect. And if any of these games do result in closer than expected results, these statistical clues might help explain what happened.
Week 10 Tough Matchups
Bad Matchup #1 Maryland vs Rutgers on Sun
Rutgers is the kind of team that can cause problems for #3 Maryland because Maryland’s toughest games have been those where they have not generated efficient offense in transition opportunities. Scary thing is that Rutgers has been #10 in the nation in making teams less efficient than normal in these situations.
This is not to say that Maryland can’t overcome this, but given the track record that Rutgers has put up, it was probably something the coaching staff addressed specifically this week in practice.
Bad Matchup #2 Albany vs Binghamton on Wed
Binghamton is not a good match up for #5 Albany because Albany’s closer games have come when they are unable to push in transition after defensive stops. So far, Binghamton has been #8 in the nation at preventing teams from pushing in these situations. On top of that, Albany’s toughest games have been those where they have not generated efficient offense in transition opportunities. Scary thing is that Binghamton has been #6 in the nation in making teams less efficient than normal in these situations.
Truth be told, I was a bit skeptical when this showed up on the list. I mean, again, Connor Fields. He seems to thrive in those slow down situations where he can just grind down a defender and use his wizard skills to teleport the ball into the back of the net. But if you look back at their season, the two games where they’ve been slowest to get a shot off after a defensive stop have been Syracuse and Maryland. Those are also their only two losses.
Bad Matchup #3 Michigan vs Ohio State on Sat
Michigan is not a good match up for #9 Ohio State because Ohio State struggles when they take a quick shot after making a defensive stop, and in this one, they are going up Michigan, a team that has forced teams to do just that.
Bonus Bad Matchup #1 Delaware vs Towson on Sat
Delaware is not a good match up for #16 Towson because Towson’s closer games have come when they are unable to push in transition after defensive stops. So far, Delaware has been #9 in the nation at preventing teams from pushing in these situations.
Bonus Bad Matchup #2 Binghamton vs UMBC on Sat
UMBC may present a unique challenge for #20 Binghamton because Binghamton has not clicked in games where they’ve slowed it down following faceoffs wins and in this game, they’ll face a team in UMBC that slows offenses down after they pick up a face off win.