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: High Point Panthers
2013 Record: 3-12 (Independent)
2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.80 (45)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): N/A
Winning Percentage Change from 2012: +100% (Sort of)
2013 Efficiency Margin: N/A
Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: N/A
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- I haven't run through upset permutations yet based on tempo-free metrics (I should do that, and when I do you should read it), but according to LaxPower, High Point's upset of Towson on February 8, 2013, ranked as the third most improbable upset of the season, trailing only St. Joseph's defeat of Massachusetts and Manhattan's late-season win over Marist. The Panthers' defeat of the Tigers came in High Point's second game ever at the Division I level, just six days after the Panthers scared the pants off of Delaware in a 12-10 season opening defeat. High Point's victory over Towson -- one of just three wins on the season, the latter two coming against Michigan and Mercer -- is especially noteworthy considering what the Tigers morphed into as the season progressed and where Towson left off at the end of 2012. High Point's season meandered from that win forward (of the Panthers' 13 games that followed their upset of Towson, High Point's aggregate scoring margin was -72 and the team suffered eight defeats of four goals or more), but High Point still pulled off the seemingly impossible at the sunrise of the program's existence.
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- High Point spent most of last season learning how to get on and off the bus; specific performance deficiencies aren't something that I'm too worried about relative to the Panthers. Simply learning how to operate as a Division I program is difficult enough, never mind trying to perform on the same field as opponents with decades of lineage behind them. For the Panthers, though, something stuck out that is likely attributable to the program going through its genesis: Only two teams -- Lafayette and Detroit -- committed more unforced turnovers per 100 offensive opportunities than High Point. It's one thing to get dispossessed of the bean (and the Panthers actually did a decent job at keeping opponents from ripping the ball from their crosses); it's a totally different thing to commit unmolested giveaways, especially for a program that was going to have an uphill climb all season. The unforced turnovers weren't the reason that High Point finished the year with three wins against 12 losses, but it's part of the puzzle (and a big reason why the Panthers finished the year ranked 59th in adjusted offensive efficiency). I wouldn't expect Jon Torpey's club to have a similar unforced turnover profile in 2014, but it was part of the Panthers' experience in 2013.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Build a machine that stops time for the rest of the planet except for people associated with the High Point program, practice every second of the day while the rest of the universe is in suspended animation, start time again and magically have five year's worth of experience built up. There's nothing to do here for High Point but to keep trudging through Hell. Torpey has some decent talent already on the roster -- Dan Lomas and Virginia transfer Austin Geisler stand out -- but the program still needs to build a Division I foundation. It'll all be there eventually, but it's going to take time and a rising tide to lift all boats.