You spent the better part of four months meticulously dissecting the 2013 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 63 teams and their 2013 campaigns, mostly because everything needs a proper burial.
I. VITAL SIGNS
Team: Michigan Wolverines
2013 Record: 1-13 (0-7, ECAC)
2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.82 (23)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.04 (34)
Winning Percentage Change from 2012: 0.00%
2013 Efficiency Margin: -12.84 (58)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: -0.56
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- Tim from Great Lax State prodigiously follows the Wolverines; his feel for Michigan at the moment is stronger than mine based on the sheer volume of Michigan games that he consumes. He published his decompression of the Wolverines the other day, and I'll crib some of the salient issues that he points out and provide further notes where necessary:
I can't remember if I've detailed Logan's efforts in 2013 (maybe in the discussion about the 2013 All-Americans and Dillon Ward's snub from the first team?), but Logan, just a freshman (a highly touted one at that), was a horse for the Wolverines last season. This is a cat that played all but five minutes of Michigan's total game time this season and was the solidifying force of the Wolverines' defensive effort: He ended around 43 percent of Michigan's defensive opportunities with a save (the fifth highest mark in the nation), held a 56.3 save percentage (13th nationally), survived a defensive environment that saw him see about 1.15 shots per defensive opportunity (that value ranks 45th in the country) while attempting the stuff a bean being whipped all over the box (the team's defensive assist rate (assists per 100 defensive opportunities) ranked 57th nationally (22.52)), and played in tons of "extra" defensive postures due to the fact that Michigan played about four fewer offensive opportunities per 60 minutes of play than their opponents. Logan performed well in very difficult circumstances (as a rookie!), and his efforts are not without praise. The Wolverines weren't defensively superb in 2013 (the team ranked 47th in adjusted defensive efficiency), but it could have been a lot worse had Logan not played like an animal.
The most notable positive was the play of goalie Gerald Logan. The dude had mediocre-at-best defense in front of him, and put up some of the best numbers in the country. Next year’s D will be younger, but likely more talented. His numbers could go in either direction, but it’s clear that he has what it takes to play the position at the highest level.
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- Again, from Great Lax State:
Every team deals with injuries; it's part of the game. Princeton was ravaged with a roster that tested the strength of medical insurance deductibles all season and was still on the cusp of making the NCAA Tournament. For a program like Michigan, though, injuries are especially important in understanding a team's success volition -- there just isn't the kind of talent depth on the Wolverines roster (yet) to bounce back and compete at the college game's highest level. Compounded with the fact that Michigan played an especially aggressive schedule and you have a recipe for a 1-13 campaign. This isn't necessarily the fault of the staff or the personnel (again, injuries happen), but it was a factor in the Wolverines' overall effort in 2013 (which Tim deftly notes in the rest of his truncated analysis).
One of the biggest issues for Michigan in 2013 – and this is something that can be a blessing and a curse – was the injury bug. Only nine players appeared in every single game for Michigan (though not all missed games were due to injury, enough were to be a problem). The missed games include the leading returning scorer from the previous year in Thomas Paras – who missed only one game but hardly played in several of them – and well more than a dozen amongst would-be starters in the defensive unit.
Even when injuries didn’t always directly lead to missed time, they prevented guys from adequately preparing. Most notably, Brad Lott missed the entire fall with injury, and was banged up during the season as well, which prevented him from not only getting the D-1 faceoff experience, but also building chemistry with his wing players. He won .471 of his faceoffs, but with better communication and comfort that can go up quickly.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- 2013 was just Michigan's second season in Division I; there's still much to accomplish across the board for John Paul and the rest of his staff. The big thing for the Wolverines is simply getting the appropriate level of talent on the roster and letting that personnel develop in an atmosphere that grows their strengths. Michigan is still in a position of transition from MCLA-level talent to that necessary to compete at the Division I level; once that talent arrives -- and it assumedly will -- the game changes a bit for the Wolverines (as does determinations about the scope of Michigan's issues and ability). With Michigan, arguably more than any other program, patience is what matters most.