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: UMBC Retrievers
2012 Record: 5-8 (3-2, America East)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.31 (31)
2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.07 (28)
Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -7.69%
2012 Efficiency Margin: -5.54 (45)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +0.75
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- Tuesday, March 6, 2012: The day that it became official that the 2012 Division I college lacrosse season was infected by crazy brain worms. Even with UMBC playing at home, nobody without a fresh head wound from a lead-pipe-to-skull swing thought that the Retrievers were going to knock off Maryland. Yet, UMBC managed to pull out the 8-7 brain-melter, a result that at least one machine has ranked as the biggest upset of the 2012 season (the biggest upset since 2009 when Hartford knocked off the Retrievers). Finishing 5-8 and only 3-2 in a bad league isn't all that fun; attempting to ruin Maryland's season and throwing all of college lacrosse into a cycle of ice-cream-for-lunch insanity is.
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- The Retrievers' defense was a bag of ass for most of the season, and a big reason for that was the relationship between UMBC's goalie situation and the six guys out in front of him. Adam Cohen struggled like an Englishman drinking ice cold brews, holding only a 46.9 save percentage on the season. Out in front of him, the Retrievers' defense didn't do a particularly strong job limiting assisted opportunities, holding a defensive assist rate that ranked 47th in the country. These two items contributed to a raw defensive shooting rate that was the fourth-worst in the country and an adjusted defensive efficiency ranking that was good for 52nd in the land. If you can't stop saveable shots and you're yielding shots from preferential positions that really aren't saveable, you're creating a difficult situation to overcome (unless you have nuclear weapons on the offensive end, which UMBC kind of lacked).
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Tighten up the defense. UMBC's offense wasn't too bad in 2012 (despite the dicey turnover rate) and the Retrievers' defense wasn't put in a position to play far too many defensive possessions per 60 minutes of play. This is purely an execution issue. Cohen returns in 2013 for his senior campaign, but Wes DiRito could push him for the starting position. A little more attention to defensive personality -- including maturation from a relatively young unit -- should yield stronger results for a UMBC team that could easily put the America East in its pocket with some better defensive performances.