Maryland's Offense: An Update After 120 Minutes

Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

How has an offense-in-transition performed over its first two games?

Maryland has pounded its competition so far this year -- the Terps annihilated Mount St. Mary's (16-3) and kicked in UMBC's teeth (14-3) -- but it's not how Maryland has decimated its competition that's interesting about the Terps. It's that Maryland, in a year of transition on the offensive end after losing Kevin Cooper, Owen Blye, and John Haus (among others), has cruised along offensively, holding a raw offensive efficiency value of 41.67 (in other words, the Terrapins are scoring almost 42 goals per 100 offensive opportunities). The defensive competition that Maryland has faced so far this season hasn't been all that hot, but the Terps are still making the scoreboard blink like crazy while featuring a handful of cats that haven't carried a heavy load at the Division I level.

The Terps are still figuring out what kind of offensive identity they're going to have in 2014 (Maryland's full offensive capability will not likely come into focus until March, especially once Colin Heacock and Tim Rotanz are medically cleared to play), but after 120 minutes of action, the team's starting offense -- a unit that is featuring only two players (Mike Chanenchuk and Jay Carlson) that earned starts in 2013 (Chanenchuk started all 14 contests for the Terps last season; Carlson had nine starting nods) -- has featured prominently in Maryland's offensive fortunes:

MARYLAND'S OFFENSIVE PROFILE THROUGH 120 MINUTES: PERCENTAGE CONTRIBUTION
METRIC STARTING ATTACK PERCENTAGE STARTING MIDFIELD PERCENTAGE COMBINED STARTING ATTACK & MIDFIELD PERCENTAGE
Percentage of Total Goals 43.33% 33.33% 76.67%
Percentage of Total Assists 20.00% 46.67% 66.67%
Percentage of Total Points 35.56% 37.78% 73.33%
Percentage of Total Shots 28.09% 38.20% 66.29%
Percentage of Total Turnovers 10.00% 10.00% 20.00%
Percentage of Total Saved Shots 24.14% 31.03% 55.17%

The Terps' starting attack and midfield has heavily dictated Maryland's chartable offensive activity. These six cats -- Chanenchuk, Carlson, Matt Rambo, Connor Cannizzaro, Joe LoCascio, and Kevin Forster -- have been the heartbeat to the Terps' offense. They are the power plant, a notable reliance point, and have been the crux to Maryland's ability to put double-digit scores on the board. Moreover, there is balance within the starting offense that has benefitted the Terps in important ways: The starting attack -- Rambo, Carlson, and Forster (more so the former two than Forster) -- has been the pivot point for embarrassing opposing goalkeepers, but the balance through the midfield -- between Chanenchuk, Cannizzaro, and LoCascio -- has created a nightmare for opposing defenses given their proclivity to both fire on cage and distribute; neither the attack or midfield has turned the ball over, which is helping the team's overall efficiency; and point generation is leveraged consistently between both the attack and midfield, a prism of light for an offense that wasn't sure of its construct or force after the graduations Maryland suffered last May.

Percentages of contribution, however, doesn't tell the entire story about the Terps' offensive efforts through its first two dates on the calendar. Digging into the details on what the starting offense has meant to Maryland, the Terps' first six offensive weapons have controlled Maryland's offensive possessions and have created more positive circumstances than negative ones:

MARYLAND'S OFFENSIVE PROFILE THROUGH 120 MINUTES: STARTING OFFENSE'S VALUE
METRIC VALUE
Estimated Percentage of Possessions Ended via Starting Offensive Player Activity 61.11%
Estimated Percentage of Possessions Ended Positively via Starting Offensive Player Activity 33.33%
Estimated Percentage of Possessions Ended Negatively via Starting Offensive Player Activity 27.78%
Estimated Points per Offensive Opportunity via Starting Offensive Players* .4583
Starting Offense: Combined Shooting Percentage 38.98%
Starting Offense: Combined Save Percentage 41.03%

Again, Maryland's defensive competition so far in 2014 has been far from elite, but these are incredible values. Over half of the Terps' offensive opportunities have ended with a starting offensive player doing something, and more than half of those possessions -- a third of Maryland's total offensive opportunities -- involve a starting offensive Terp doing something positively. This is the kind of value that makes teams tough to stop.

The scary thing about this production, though, is that while Rambo has electrified the nation with his efforts as a true freshman, the reckless vigilante isn't doing it alone. Looking at the Terps' scoring postures over its 30 tallies, Rambo features prominently but he isn't the sole reason that Maryland has eviscerated its opponents:

MARYLAND'S SCORING TANDEM FREQUENCY
RANK TANDEM FREQUENCY
1. Rambo-Unassisted 4
2. Carlson-Unassisted 3
2. Chanenchuk-Unassisted 3
4. Chanenchuk-LoCascio 2
4. Chanenchuk-Rambo 2
6. 16 Tandems Tied 1

A solid argument can be made that Rambo and Chanenchuk have been co-centerpieces to the Terps' offense this season. Rambo's ability to finish and Chanenchuk's ability to create action through the midfield has driven Maryland's incredible feats of scoring achievement. The Terps' ability to balance its scoring between the midfield and attack -- and finding ways for Chanenchuk and Rambo to contribute as opposing defenses with skill find ways to limit Rambo and Chanenchuk's wrath of destruction -- is vital for Maryland in the long run, and the more the Terps can find this balance, the greater the consistency the Terps will find on the offensive end.

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*It's impossible to know, for certain, how many possessions a particular individual plays. Thus, generated points per offensive opportunity is generated based on total team offensive opportunities. The value for the Terps' starting offense is likely a shade higher than the presented value.

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