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: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
2013 Record: 2-13 (0-6, Big East)
2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.41 (26)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.34 (44)
Winning Percentage Change from 2012: -26.67%
2013 Efficiency Margin: -7.34 (51)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: +2.03
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- Kris Alleyne -- a freshman that likely had a Scarface movie poster hanging on his dormitory wall -- was terrific in the crease for Rutgers in 2013. The rookie keeper was named the Big East's goalkeeper of the year and earned first-team All-Big East honors, backstopping a defense that ranked 39th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Alleyne's efforts last year, however, weren't just league-relevant; he was arguably one of the stronger stoppers in the nation, operating under difficult circumstances and doing fairly well: The Scarlet Knights' backstop played in all but one game for Rutgers (the team's date against Princeton), logging over 770 minutes for the Scarlet Knights in the net (just about 85 percent of the team's total minutes); Alleyne held a 59.6 save percentage, the sixth highest mark in the nation; the freshmen put together that save percentage while seeing somewhere around 1.26 shots per defensive opportunity (only six teams yielded more shots per defensive opportunity), often from preferable shooting locations (Rutgers' defensive assist rate ranked 50th in the nation); despite the volume of shots that Alleyne saw and the location from which those shots came from, opponents shot just 27.16 percent against Rutgers (21st nationally), seeing Alleyne end somewhere around 44 percent of the Knights' defensive opportunities with a save; Alleyne was forced to perform in tons of man-down postures (just over 11 percent of Rutgers' defensive possessions were man-down situations (42nd nationally)), and opponents relied on these situations to score against the Knights (just over 15 percent of the goals that opponents scored against Rutgers came in man-down postures (53rd nationally)); and Alleyne did this all against a schedule that ranked 11th in terms of opposing offenses faced. Alleyne didn't get the ink that guys like Notre Dame's John Kemp or St. John's Jeff Lowman got, but the freshman goaltender was exceptional last season.
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- A 12-game losing streak to close a season -- not to mention the suspension of Brian Brecht for the campaign's final two efforts -- is all kinds of icky. It's even more blood-leaking-from-ear-worthy when you consider the way that Rutgers went through that stretch of a dozen games: Two overtime games that Rutgers could have won (the game against Stony Brook was nip and tuck throughout, seeing the Knights' knot the score with just 43 seconds remaining in regulation (Stony Brook would eventually pull out the win very late in the third overtime); against Providence, Rutgers held a 9-6 lead early in the fourth quarter but allowed the Friars to score three times in the last 2:19 of regulation to force overtime); counting the two overtime games, Rutgers lost seven games that were decided by two goals or fewer, competing against the likes of Syracuse and Notre Dame and falling just short; and the Scarlet Knights underachieved through that stretch, performing worse than or at predicted goal differentials in all but three games (Notre Dame, Villanova, and Syracuse). It's that underachievement -- or luck, as some people call it -- that is the toughest pill to swallow about the 2013 iteration of Rutgers lacrosse: The team held a 31.53 percent Pythagorean win expectation; what should have been around a five-win team was instead a two-win club (and you can't really attribute that gap entirely to Brecht's suspension as the Scarlet Knights probably weren't going to beat Duke no matter the barker on the sideline). Rutgers took some important steps last season, but the step it needed to take more than any other -- learning how to win -- was somehow lost in the shuffle: The Scarlet Knights were fairly comparable to UMBC, Holy Cross, and Georgetown and lost all three games in an underperforming manner; with a handful of other games at their fingertips, Rutgers let an opportunity slip away. You make your own breaks, and the Knights' didn't fully realize their potential in 2013.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- It's the same story as last year for Rutgers: Give Coach Brecht time to fix this thing. Brecht turned Siena into a horse in his seven seasons as Chief Saint, and with some resources and a fertile local recruiting base, he can potentially get Rutgers pointed in a more focused direction. It's unclear what Rutgers' ceiling is -- the interplay between a lame duck 2014 season in the Big East and the program's 2015 foray into the Big Ten is clouded by the fact that the Scarlet Knights are overhauling their lacrosse concern -- but Brecht's drive is the biggest factor in wherever Rutgers goes.