Eulogizing the 2012 College Lacrosse Season: (15) Syracuse

Apr 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Syracuse Orange midfielder/attack JoJo Marasco (22) brings the ball up field against Duke Blue Devils defender Luke Duprey (91) at the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-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: Syracuse Orange

2012 Record: 9-8 (3-3, Big East)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 1.02 (23)

2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 2.54 (7)

Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -35.29%

2012 Efficiency Margin: 4.22 (15)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: -6.40

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • Syracuse did a good job of simply surviving itself in 2012. While the Orange's overall strength of schedule wasn't impossibly imposing, Syracuse went through this slate while enduring a goalie rotation that eventually ended with a freshman spending time between the pipes, an offensive midfield that never quite found total cohesion (and featured two starters that shot at or below 20 percent on the year (Marasco (18.2) and Lecky (20)), a face-off situation that could be best described as "Poison," and a man-up unit -- a unit that the Orange pretty heavily relied on to generate tallies -- that didn't find its stride until May. These types of things tend to destroy a team's season; Syracuse, contrastingly, managed to find a way to win the Big East Tournament and get in the NCAA show. John Desko deserves a lot of credit for that.

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

  • In all but one of its losses this past season -- against Notre Dame in South Bend -- Syracuse finished the game in a negative position in possession percentage. Importantly, of those seven games, in six contests the Orange didn't even have control of 49 percent of total possession: Virginia (39.44%); Johns Hopkins (40.35%); Villanova (47.95%); Cornell (42.65%); Georgetown (48.19%); and Duke (42.42% (NCAA)). That's almost an impossible possession deficit to overcome against some of the best teams in the country. The biggest culprit in those games -- and on the season as a whole -- was Syracuse's miserable performance on the whistle in 2012, winning only about 46 percent of its draw attempts (a mark that ranked 44th in the country). This effort at the dot totally eroded the Orange's work on the clear and ride -- Syracuse finished in the top-10 nationally in clearing rate and in the top-15 in its ride rate -- forcing the Orange to expose its defense (and goalie rotation) at an imbalance to the opportunities that it had to can the bean in the offensive end. To put this into clearer context: In 2011, Syracuse held an overall possession percentage value of 52.30; the Orange finished up 2012 with a 49.66 value in the same metric. That's the difference between Syracuse going 9-8 and 15-2.

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

  • Syracuse really needs to develop its offensive midfield going into 2013. Hakeem Lecky has all the tools but he needs to start putting everything together. Henry Schoonmaker is a big athletic body that has some talent. Luke Cometti, Ryan Barber, Scott Loy, and Matt Pratt also return next year. But . . . where's the reliable hub? A hallmark of so many great Syracuse offenses has been strong, All-America play from the midfield and this unit is missing some of those guys. This group is going to have an important fall figuring out what kind of unit they can be.

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