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: Maryland Terrapins
2012 Record: 12-6 (1-2, ACC)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 3.27 (2)
2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 1.75 (14)
Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -5.56%
2012 Efficiency Margin: 11.20 (3)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +3.91
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- Maryland, arguably more than any team in the country, is painfully capable of doing exactly what they want to do: Drown you in patience and slowly eliminate your grip on reality. None of the following should provide a dramatic moment of understanding -- unless you're new to college lacrosse, and in that case: Welcome to the Internet's finest location for words about lacrosse and general nonsense! -- but for the sake of recording history for future generations to study and question: Only three teams played fewer possessions per 60 minutes of play than the Terps in 2012 (59.17) and only two teams -- Hofstra and Drexel -- had longer estimated times per offensive possession than Maryland's 61 second mark. It's not just that the Terrapins were patient; it's that they were adamant about being patient: In only four of its 18 games in 2012 did Maryland play more than 65 total possessions (which was the national average last year) -- Hartford (70); Duke (67, twice); and Colgate (77). That's an impressive level of dedication to keeping things steady (because overstimulation is bad for the heart and even worse for the head), and it yielded the Terps another trip to Memorial Monday. Of all the teams in the country that may feel immediate pain from the pending shot clock provision currently on the table, Maryland may be the team that takes the greatest impact. The Terps have definitely found a comfort zone over the last two seasons -- and were zealous in their adherence to it -- but may need to re-address their approach in just a few weeks.
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- For a team that was rolling with a really green close defense and a streaky goalie in Niko Amato, staying out of defensive personnel imbalances was probably a priority. Unfortunately, that didn't happen in the overall in 2012: Only 11 teams were in man-down postures more than the Terps last season and only 12 teams saw their opponents rely on man-down situations to score more than the Terps' opponents. This fact is a little obscured by Maryland's man-down kill rate -- it was right around the national average last year -- but the fact remains that almost 15 percent of the goals that the Terps yielded last season were in personnel imbalance scenarios. Allowing opponents to play in these preferential scenarios permitted exposure to difficult circumstances -- young defenders put in difficult situations to succeed; exposing a goalie that may, at one moment, stop aspirin, and at the next, let a cinder block inexplicably roll between his legs; etc. This didn't ultimately sink Maryland in 2012, but it was a wart on an otherwise strong defensive unit (Maryland finished the season ranked eighth in adjusted defensive efficiency).
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Drew Snider, Joe Cummings, and Michael Shakespeare are off to navigate real life (SPOILER: It involves a lot of Hot Pockets), but John Tillman has all kinds of talent crawling around College Park. The biggest concern for the Terps, right now, is alleviating itself of "The Cornell Syndrome": Summiting the mountain can almost be the hardest part of journey. Maryland is still without a national title since 1975, and the program -- while it has gotten close in recent seasons -- needs to find a way to take those final steps.