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Men's Lacrosse: TTUN Preview

+9 HS
beserkr29's picture
April 20, 2024 at 4:12pm

This game is a big one, though how big remains unknown. Just like an iceberg, we won't know the magnitude of tonight's outcome until after it's already been hit. The teams matching up today are vastly different from last year's meeting in Ann Arbor. And, frankly, there should be a lot of concern on both sides of this matchup. For today, and the future.

On offense, the Wolverines have STUDS. There are three different players with over 40 points for the team up north. Ohio State, with an extra game, has zero. Ryan Cohen (#40) sits at 49 points, Ohioan Michael Boehm (#5) is at 47, and transfer Justin Tiernan (#44) has registered 46 points. Tiernan is the goalscorer, with 43 goals to lead the team. With the same number of games, Tiernan could legitimately have double the number of goals scored by any one Buckeye player in 2024.

As a unit, the offense is less than stellar. No more than 12 goals scored since the out of conference cupcakes cleared out, and their last two outings saw them score 7 against Rutgers, and 8 against Penn State. Things are falling apart for TTUN as much as they are for Ohio State.

Defensively, the Wolverines are stout enough. They won't shut teams down at all. Rutgers is the only team to score less than 11 since TTUN took on Notre Dame. The trick for Ohio State is going to be actually scoring. The Wolverine goalie, Hunter Taylor (#52), is right at 49% this year, a less than stellar metric. There will be opportunities, but the Buckeyes never fail to miss chances.

At faceoff, the Buckeyes are in real danger. The Wolverines win 60% of their faceoffs as a team, and Justin Wietfeldt (#38) is winning 63%. This is going to be crucial. Ohio State has not been great at winning possession without winning the clamp. If the Buckeyes are under 50%< they're going to be in for a rocky game.

Special teams has been mediocre for Ohio State, sitting at 35% roughly in both phases. The Wolverines are excellent at Man Up, scoring on 45% of their chances, but they're even worse on Man Down, allowing opponents to score 48% of the time. If the Buckeyes are undisciplined again, they will pay. Dearly.

Multiple factors play into this game, but the Buckeyes "should" have the upper hand in a few key areas. Ohio State really limits opponents defensively to 1v1 battles. Rarely do teams get assisted goals. Buckeyes currently allow less than 5 assisted goals per game. The problem there is that teams manage to score 1v1 a lot.

Additionally, Ohio State has the best goalkeeper in this matchup, and an argument for the best keeper in the conference this season. Caleb Fyock is a great player already. If he can get better, look out.

Ohio State also gets this game at home, which has been much kinder to the program than the road. There's a night and day difference in the level of play in Columbus vs. the road. All of these weigh in the Buckeyes' favor.

On the negative side, TTUN is indisputably better on offense in their top three. Whatever struggles have happened the past few games, the big names are really good. If it gets to be a nailbiter, the studs will make the difference. And that doesn't play to Ohio State's strengths.

Additionally, the Wolverines are likely to dominate faceoffs tonight. They have a player much, much better than any of OSU's options. If this phase goes 60-40 to TTUN, Ohio State is cooked. They have to win 50%.

Rivalry game or not, I think the Buckeyes have the stronger unit in their defense. It's a strength on strength, weakness on weakness game. The Buckeyes should win, and have proven they can win based on mutual opponents. But this game is always crazy.

If the Buckeyes can keep faceoffs competitive, they win big. If not, this will be a nailbiter. In my heart of hearts, I don't see an L. If that does happen, batten down the hatches and sound the alarm. Because it's gonna be bananas after the game.

Final prediction: Buckeyes 13, TTUN 9.

Go Bucks!

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