NLL Week 21

The playoff picture becomes a little clearer each week, but we’re not done yet. Halifax clinched their spot and Saskatchewan, Panther City, and New York were eliminated, so we now have the strange situation of Georgia, Philadelphia, and Albany fighting for the last spot in both the East and West divisions. We have Georgia and Philly playing each other next weekend while New York plays Albany. Here are the possibilities:

  1. Albany loses, Georgia wins: Georgia is 10-8 and takes the east spot, Albany and Philly are both 8-10 so Albany takes the west spot because they are 2-0 against the Wings.
  2. Albany loses, Philly wins: Philly and Georgia are both 9-9, Philly takes the east spot because they’re 3-0 against Georgia, Georgia takes the west spot. Albany is 8-10.
  3. Albany wins, Georgia wins: Georgia is 10-8 and takes the east spot, Albany is 9-9 and takes the west. Philly is 8-10.
  4. Albany wins, Philly wins: All three are 9-9. The first tiebreaker is their head-to-head winning percentage, but I’m not sure that helps. Albany is 3-2 against the other two, Georgia is 2-4, and Philly is also 3-2. Does that mean Albany and Philly make it through to the next tiebreaker and Georgia is out? Or does it mean we don’t consider this tiebreaker because it didn’t provide a clear winner? I honestly don’t know. The next tiebreaker is their division standings. In this scenario, Georgia would be 8-8 within their division, Philly 7-9 and Albany 6-9.
    1. If Georgia is eliminated because of the first tiebreaker, Philly takes the East, Albany takes the west, and Georgia is out.
    2. If the first tiebreaker gets thrown out, Georgia takes the East spot, Philly takes the west, and Albany is out.

However, if case 4b applies, then Georgia has already clinched a playoff spot since they make the playoffs in every case here. Neither the league nor the Swarm have announced that, so case 4a is likely the real one.

Confusion

So for each team, the outcomes are:

  • Georgia: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re in if Albany loses.
  • Philly: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re out.
  • Albany: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re in if Georgia wins.

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NLL Week 20

The playoff picture in the West is almost complete, as Calgary has clinched their spot while Vancouver is out. Only one spot remains in the West, but the battle in the East will take that down to the wire. Right now, the Thunderbirds and Swarm would join the Bandits and Rock in the playoffs, and the FireWolves would take the fourth spot in the West. But Halifax, Georgia, Albany, and Philly are still close enough that any of them may or may not make it, and if Panther City wins their last two games, they could take that fourth position in the West as well.

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Game report: Halifax @ Toronto

Toronto’s final home game of the year saw the Halifax Thunderbirds in town to help celebrate Indigenous Heritage Night. I’ve given some more details on that in my Weekly Report so I won’t repeat it all here but it was a great night and the specially-designed Rock jerseys were absolutely beautiful. The game itself was entertaining as well though I’m a little surprised at how much the Thunderbirds don’t look like the team that started the season 8-1.

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NLL Week 19

The playoff picture is a little more set, with both Colorado and San Diego clinching post-season spots. I have been unable to come up with a scenario where Halifax misses the playoffs, but neither the team nor the NLL has announced that they’ve clinched a spot, so I assume there’s at least one way it could happen.

It’s interesting that right at the end of the season, a few teams that have looked very strong (or in the case of the Bandits, borderline unbeatable) most of the season, Buffalo, Halifax, and San Diego, have started to look vulnerable. Buffalo has lost two straight, San Diego four, and Halifax are 1-5 in their last six. Continue reading

Could happen…

Every year around this time, I put together a list of the most unlikely final standings possibilities that could still happen.

This year, the eight spots in the playoffs will be made up of

  • The top four teams in the East
  • The top three teams in the West
  • Either the 5th place East team or the 4th place West team, whichever has the better record

If teams are tied, the the first tiebreaker is their head-to-head record, then their division record, then record against common opponents. Multi-way tiebreakers are similar but more complicated.

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NLL Week 18

The playoff picture is still pretty murky though getting a little clearer. The Rock have joined the Bandits in the “clinched the playoffs” club, and the Knighthawks became the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs. A few awesomes this week and only one not awesome, but that one really sucks.

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Do Faceoffs Matter? Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series investigating whether faceoffs help you win in the NLL and if so, how much. In part I, we discovered that faceoffs do matter to some extent, in that teams that win more than half the faceoffs in a game tend to win that game a little more than half the time. Now we’re onto the “how much” question, and here’s where the math gets a little heavier.

To help us with this question I have called on Cooper Perkins, the Seals play-by-play announcer, stats geek, and the creator of LaxMetrics.com. Cooper is great at breaking down stats in ways I wouldn’t have thought of so I was hoping he could add some interesting insight, and he didn’t disappoint. The rest of this article and the data and graphs were all provided by Cooper. Thanks to him for joining me on this faceoff adventure.

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Do Faceoffs Matter? Part I

It’s an age-old question among lacrosse people: do faceoffs matter? Does it make sense to have a dedicated faceoff specialist, or is it sufficient to just find someone who’s pretty good at it? Logically, it makes sense that they do matter. More faceoff wins means more possessions. More possessions should lead to more goals, and more goals leads to more wins. Right? Maybe.

This article is the first of a two-part series in which we attempt to answer that question. I will start off by looking over some faceoff and win-loss numbers to see what insight they can provide. That will be Part I. Part II will be a special “crossover episode” with a special guest author, and will get a little deeper into the numbers. More on that later.

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NLL Week 17

There were a bunch of great games this past weekend. The Bandits solidified their stranglehold on first place in the East and the middle of the pack in both divisions got even more muddy. The Bandits may have clinched their playoff spot, but the rest of the spots are still up for grabs.

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NLL Week 16

Can you believe we’re done week 16? And as great as this season has been so far, it only gets better. Obviously the playoffs are approaching, but next week features some epic matchups. Halifax plays Buffalo twice. Georgia, who are on a 3-game winning streak, are in Toronto, Colorado is in Panther City, Albany visits New York, and Philly is in Rochester. Calgary vs. Saskatchewan is always a great matchup regardless of either team’s record. If you look solely at the records, San Diego in Vancouver might be the easiest of the bunch to predict but would anybody be surprised if Vancouver pulled off an upset win at home?

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