A Confederacy of Mountaineers

I'm not sure that any of this makes complete sense. Whatever.

I think a lot about The Mount, specifically about the team's offensive situation. Mount St. Mary's lost its top 10 point-generators -- Andrew Scalley, Brett Schmidt, Cody Lehrer, Bryant Schmidt, Dan Stranix, Eric Ososki, Connor Carey, Jake Willertz, Anthony Golden, and Mark Burns -- from a season ago. Not a part of its top 10 point-generators from a season ago; its top ten point-generators from a season ago. Those ten players accounted for 96.33 percent of the Mountaineers total points from 2013. Not only that, the group of now-departed players accounted for 94.84 percent of the team's goals from a season ago, 87.78 percent of Mount St. Mary's assists, and 92.23 percent of the team's total shots. Additionally, the departed group of 10 players accounted for 45 starts at attack -- the team's entire attack unit -- and 43 starts through the offensive midfield. Basically, Mount St. Mary's lost their entire offensive starting lineup. No big deal.

The Mount has struggled in this vacuum of established offensive weapons: Through its first four games the Mountaineers are averaging just under five goals per game and have been outscored 55-18. This is . . . not good. That realization -- that Mount St. Mary's has been a mess offensively in the first quarter of its season -- made me think about the letter that Ignatius J. Reilly -- writing as Gus Levy of Levy Pants -- sent to Mr. I. Abelman of Ableman's Dry Goods in A Confederacy of Dunces:

Abelman’s Dry Goods

Kansas City, Missouri

USA

Mr. I. Abelman, Mongoloid, Esq.:

We have received via post your absurd comments about our trousers, the comments revealing, as they did, your total lack of contact with reality. Were you more aware, you would know or realize by now that the offending trousers were dispatched to you with our full knowledge that they were inadequate so far as length was concerned.

“Why? Why?” you are in your incomprehensible babble, unable to assimilate stimulating concepts of commerce into your retarded and blighted worldview.

The trousers were sent to you (1) as a means of testing your initiative (A clever, wide-awake business concern should be able to make three-quarter length trousers a by-word of masculine fashion. Your advertising and merchandising programs are obviously faulty.) and (2) as a means of testing your ability to meet the standards requisite in a distributor of our quality product. (Our loyal and dependable outlets can vend any trouser bearing the Levy label no matter how abominable their design and construction. You are apparently a faithless people.)

We do not wish to be bothered in the future by such tedious complaints. Please confine your correspondence to orders only. We are a busy and dynamic organization whose mission needless effrontery and harassment can only hinder. If you molest us again, sir, you may feel the sting of the lash across your pitiful shoulders.

Yours in anger,

Gus Levy, Pres.

Is it unreasonable to think that Mount St. Mary's should have experienced anything but struggle at the offensive end with the roster losses that the team felt? Probably. To do otherwise is to assume the skull-crushingly insane position that Reilly took in his letter: You need to sell broke and make it work. That isn't reality. Reality is that the Mountaineers are trying to move pants that have screwed up inseams and only one pocket while attempting to keep its business concern afloat without an inventory necessary to create black ink (at least right now).

Just look at The Mount's numbers through its first four dates in 2014:

MOUNT ST. MARY'S OFFENSIVE ISSUES
METRIC VALUE
Offensive Opportunities 114
Possession Margin -39
Raw Offensive Efficiency (Goals per 100 Offensive Opportunities) 15.79
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 20.22%
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 0.78
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 65.79
Opponent Saves per 100 Offensive Opportunities 35.09
Opponent Save Percentage 68.97%

That's . . . not good. The team's turnover rate is ridiculously high, and it's not due to an isolated game where The Mount was especially careless with the ball: In its four games this season, the Mountaineers haven't had a turnover rate lower than 60.00. In other words, Mount St. Mary's is -- at a minimum -- turning the ball over on 60 percent of its offensive opportunities. Forget about the team having trouble efficiently canning the bean; The Mount is having trouble simply possessing the ball.

To bring this back to the Ableman's Dry Goods situation, you can't win like this. You can't. The Mount has played a relatively brutal slate over its first four games, but based on the team's offensive (and defensive) output in its first 240 minutes of action, Mount St. Mary's is expected to win only around seven percent of its games. The Mount's strength of schedule will decrease as the season progresses (and the team's prospects for more wins should rise), but the Mountaineers can't keep trying to sell ill-fitting pants as a means to staying in business. The team's two best performances this year -- against Georgetown and Virginia -- are indicative of that: In each game, The Mount performed like a team that would win about 12 percent of its games.

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