March 24, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA; John Hopkins Blue Jays defender Jack Reilly (43) hugs John Hopkins Blue Jays head coach Dave Pietramala (right) after the Blue Jays defeated the Virginia Cavaliers at Klockner Stadium. The Blue Jays won 11-10 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
You spent the better part of four months meticulously dissecting the 2012 college lacrosse season. You shouldn't stop now because cold turkey is a bad way to go through life, man. College Crosse is providing decompression snapshots of all 61 teams and their 2012 campaigns, mostly because everything needs a proper burial.
I. VITAL SIGNS
Team: Johns Hopkins Blue Jays
2012 Record: 12-4 (Hopkinspendent)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 2.66 (6)
2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 1.83 (11)
Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -6.25%
2012 Efficiency Margin: 7.33 (11)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: -0.97
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- Have you ever walked through a swarm of bees, wearing only a pair of panties, and wished that your life had turned out differently? (Asking for a friend.) That is kind of what it was like to face Hopkins' defense in 2012. The Jays were among the top-three defensive units in the land, crushing faces all over the place: It ranked third in adjusted defensive efficiency; fifth in defensive assist rate; 13th in raw defensive shooting rate; sixth in shots faced per defensive possession; 15th in man-down kill rate; and first in ride. This is impressive on its own, but when viewed in the context of how Johns Hopkins played its games -- the Blue Jays played about four-and-a-half more offensive possessions per 60 minutes of play than their opponents -- you can see that the ability of Hopkins' defense simply suffocated a lot of their opponents into submission. Chris Lightner, Tucker Durkin, Gavin Crisafulli, Jack Reilly, Marshall Burkhart . . . these are pure defensive weapons, limited in their exposure but maximized in their performance, that drove the Jays to the NCAA Tournament and kept Hopkins in the national discussion even when the team's offensive unit went through prolonged struggles.
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- Quick question: Other than "Give Zach Palmer the ball and hope for the best," what the hell was Hopkins' offensive strategy in 2012? John Greeley becoming the victim of knee treachery (again) didn't help the Jays' offensive approach, nor did Chris Boland having a treacherous collarbone. However, it's not like Hopkins didn't have a cupboard full of offensive options to step in and find some consistency. This is a unit that finished the year ranked only 29th in raw offensive shooting rate and, in the overall, 27th in adjusted offensive efficiency. (Admittedly, Hopkins did play a schedule featuring difficult opposing defenses (the schedule ranked 11th in that metric). However, the adjusted efficiency value accounts for that slate.) The consequence of Hopkins' uneven offensive efforts are transparent: In the Blue Jays' four losses this season, three of those defeats saw Hopkins' offense register offensive efficiency values that are usually equated with diuretics -- Maryland (17.65 and 16.13) and Navy (6.25). The lack of production (in spots) from the midfield, the struggles in sharing the ball, the dodge/re-dodge strategy that only came with average results . . . this is why Hopkins couldn't have really nice things last year despite playing with arguably the best defensive unit in the country.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Don't step on any exposed nails at the new Cordish Lacrosse and Space Exploration Center. Johns Hopkins returns as many assets as any team in the country, and with Dave Pietramala at the helm, the Jays are going to be fine. However, this is still a program that hasn't been to Championship Weekend since 2008 and it needs to learn how to get past the quarterfinals again. I wouldn't expect the Jays' offense to go through the struggles that it had in 2012, but if they do, there could be a lot of extra-miserable people at Homewood Field.