Eulogizing the 2012 College Lacrosse Season: (1) Massachusetts

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: Massachusetts Minutemen

2012 Record: 15-1 (6-0, THUNDERDOME!)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.67 (27)

2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -0.76 (41)

Winning Percentage Change from 2011: +27.08%

2012 Efficiency Margin: 14.19 (1)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +12.50

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • Amherst was the detonation point for so much offense this past season that the United Nations was probably, like, "Man, that's a lot of destruction. Better ignore it until something really bad happens." Yeah, so it was just like that. UMass' rankings in some of the more important offensive metrics are pretty much face-melting: first in adjusted offensive efficiency at a staggering 40.30; sixth in turnovers per offensive opportunity; second in assist rate (thanks, Will Manny and Art Kell!); fourth in raw offensive shooting rate at 34.27 percent; five guys in the top-200 in individual Total Offensive Value -- Manny, Kell, Kyle Smith, Colin Fleming, and Anthony Biscardi; top-20 in extra-man conversion rate; and fifth in shots per offensive possession. This offense was a horse -- a death horse . . . with extreme prejudice! -- that was "slowed" just twice this year -- against Ohio State (27.27) and Drexel (23.53) when the Minutemen's offense produced below the national offensive efficiency average (29.85). The really scary part of all of this: Massachusetts accomplished this while playing with an almost five-possession margin in their favor compared to their opponents. That's how Massachusetts was able to totally roll over the majority of its opponents this season -- a ridiculously potent offense that kept coming, wave after wave, at opposing defenses that just couldn't keep pace.

III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT

  • The Minutemen played way too much man-down last year (only one team played in more man-down postures) and took way too many penalties (only two teams took more). That's not what I'm concerned about, though. No way, man. What I'm concerned about is this: Massachusetts' lone loss on the season -- an NCAA Tournament defeat at the hands of Colgate at Garber Field -- gave validation to all the sociopaths that thought that Massachusetts had built their unbeaten record on a bunch of cripples and that the Minutemen were both overrated and deserving of their low tournament seeding. I'm going to be very clear about this: There is no shame in losing to the Colgate squad that took the field in 2012. I'm also going to be very clear about this second point: Massachusetts was as good as any team in the country last season. The Minutemen didn't play an impossible schedule, but their slate wasn't as bad as a lot of people contended. That loss to the Raiders, however, gave fuel to the masses to tarnish Massachusetts' effort last year. The Minutemen were good -- really good, in fact -- but one loss at just the wrong time allowed crazy people to validate their position that UMass was somehow a fraud. So, shame on Massachusetts for allowing the opportunity for the clinically insane to take the opportunity to trash the Minutemen.

IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .

  • Greg Cannella loses a lot going into 2013 -- Kell, Biscardi, and Tom Celentani -- but the biggest loss may be the graduation of former keeper Tim McCormack. Zach Oliveri is coming off a pretty good U-19 effort in Finland and may have the inside track on getting the job ahead of Reed Goodhue, but regardless, Massachusetts is going to need to fill that void if it hopes to repeat in THUNDERDOME! next year.

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