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May 17, 2017 — Preliminary metrics applied to the possession clock

The folks at Anonymous Eagle have put together an interesting treatise on how the pace of play has changed in women’s lacrosse during the transition into the possession clock era.

It is an incomplete picture, of course. If you wanted to do a scientific study, you’d want to take a pretty good sized sample — say, about 10 percent of Division I teams, spanning the gamut from teams that play good defense (Duke, Colorado) to the attack-minded (Maryland, Syracuse). You would need teams that play a lot of games in the snow, and others that play almost exclusively in the temperate zone. You would need teams both below and above .500 on the season.

Also, when designing a study, you cannot compare only the 2017 season to the several seasons previous to it. I’d think you would like to have up to three years’ worth of data per team on either side of the imposition of the 90-second clock in order to get a true sense of how the game has changed.

Were we to look only at Marquette’s data as a model for the entirety of NCAA Division I, we would wind up with a skewed picture, because the Warriors were a quicker and more high-scoring team in 2016 than they were in 2015. In the final year without the clock, they scored, as a team, 50 more goals and had nearly five more offensive possessions per game than the previous season.

Taken as a continuum, Marquette’s 2015 to 2017 improvement was staggering. The number of goals scored nearly doubled, and the number of attack-zone possessions rose by a third.

I think some more data gathering would be appropriate, no?

 

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