Do you think she's swimming in your lies?
Do you think it's all just murky green?
Don't you think that she would realize?
Yeah, do you think she has never seen?
-CAKE, "Ruby Sees All"
Let's get to the big stories from the weekend.
A handful of the most-anticipated games this past weekend turned into brutal beatings. This happens -- catching fire isn't limited to elite teams pounding on the weak -- but how it happened in four games -- Duke's trip to Byrd; Hopkins' excursion to Princeton; Loyola's first voyage to Bethlehem as a Patriot League member; and Virginia's hosting of Syracuse -- is somewhat interesting: Concentrated blasts of effort ultimately turned the tide in each contest:
- At Klockner Stadium, the Cavaliers broke open a 9-9 tie midway through the third quarter with a 4-0 run over three minutes of play that gave the 'Hoos a cushion that Syracuse could not erode. The stretch featured leveraged scoring, getting tallies from Mark Cockerton (on an assist from Owen Van Arsdale), Scott McWilliams, James Pannell (who almost outscored the Orange on his own, putting seven goals on the board), and Van Arsdale (from a Cockerton helper). Without a retaliation of any purpose, Syracuse would suffer the ultimate crushing blow: Losing to an archrival due to an inability to answer.
- In Bethlehem, the Greyhounds used two four-goal runs -- the first starting at the 11:32 mark of the second period, spanning nine minutes of play; the second starting at the 8:18 mark of the third period, spanning over five minutes of play -- to build four- and seven-goal leads. Lehigh's sputtering offense could not keep pace with the endless pressure that Loyola's created, a wave of terror that the Mountain Hawks' defense -- a relatively strong unit -- could not avoid. Bursts of this nature are impossible to overcome when the response is a mere whimper, and Loyola capitalized on the circumstances they were able to create in a key date early on the Patriot League calendar.
- At Class of 1952 Campground, Ryan Brown had something snap in his head. The sophomore attackman finished the day with eight points on five goals and three assists, but it was his efforts in a five-goal Jays run that spanned the second and third periods that ultimately defined his value to Hopkins against the Tigers: The attackman had a hand in four of the Blue Jays' goals in that run, accounting for three helpers and a tally. Hopkins -- thanks to Brown going bonkers in that stretch -- built a seven-goal lead in that surge, essentially erasing Princeton from existence. Johns Hopkins has struggled in recent seasons putting together pushes of this nature against elite competition; against the Tigers, the Jays found their volition on the offensive end and made Princeton pay.
- Not unlike the Terps' effort against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last weekend, Maryland lit a fuse and set a decimating explosion on its opponent. Trailing by two in the second quarter, the Terrapins put together a 7-0 run from the 4:40 mark of the second period to the 14:17 mark of the fourth quarter. Mike Chanenchuk was a beast in the stretch, accounting for four goals in the run and putting his fingerprints all over the outcome of the game. The spurt, in and of itself, is emblematic of the Terps' offensive abilities, but it's especially interesting due to this fact: This run occurred while Maryland was holding Duke scoreless for 27:46. This is Duke! The Devils' offense is as layered and leveraged as any in the nation, a force of possibility that often ruins the heart of opposing defenses. And Maryland put the clamps on that unit while shredding Duke's defense to pieces.
The first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes of Notre Dame-North Carolina were an exercise in opposites:
|METRIC||UND (1H)||UNC (1H)||UND (2H)||UNC (2H)|
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||20.00||46.67||38.10||20.00|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||17.65%||50.00%||36.36%||20.00%|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.13||0.93||1.05||1.00|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||40.00||40.00||42.86||60.00|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Total Possessions||26.67||46.67||25.00||30.56|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||26.67||46.67||40.00||14.29|
|Team Save Percentage||36.36%||70.00%||66.67%||27.27%|
|Pythagorean Win Expectation||6.74%||93.26%||88.05%||11.95%|
Unbelievable. This is eerily similar to the Denver-North Carolina quarterfinal game in Indianapolis last season. The Irish, having its face rearranged thanks to the Tar Heels unleashing concentrated pain, emerged from the locker room at halftime and started to hammer the brick, clawing back into a game in which it was being abused. Notre Dame would probably like to avoid having such differences in performance between halves, but the Irish are mostly riding high on the back of a major victory that didn't appear attainable after the team's first 30 minutes at Fetzer Field.
As for the Quakers, Pennsylvania didn't take its first lead against the Pioneers until the 8:32 mark of the fourth quarter, getting an unassisted goal from Pat Berkery. Penn was hamstrung in the first half against Denver, generating tallies at a high clip but wallowing in a minus-six possession margin (due, in part, to Denver going plus-eight in face-off wins in the period). The Quakers asserted greater authority in the second half, flipping possession margin in their favor (Pennsylvania was plus-three in possession margin in the second half) and maintaining the team's scoring rate while Denver struggled to put tallies on the board thanks to an increasingly productive effort from Brian Feeney. It was the epitome of Penn patiently creating circumstances conducive to success, and it was merely a matter of time before the Quakers would storm into the lead and lock up a major non-conference victory in just their second effort of 2014.
VMI 6, Air Force 4
For VMI, style points do not matter. Winning ugly and winning with verve are unnecessary delineations of the end desired: Winning. Going into their date against Air Force -- the back-end of a weekend double-header -- the Keydets were a mere 7-37 under Brian Anken and had been outscored 23-55 in 2014. Simply winning -- ending the day without a sigh -- is all that mattered to VMI when they faced Air Force. And that's exactly what the Keydets did:
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||19.35||12.12|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||18.18%||17.39|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.06||0.70|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||35.48||60.61|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Total Possessions||29.69||34.38|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||21.21||45.16|
|Team Save Percentage||63.64%||70.00%|
|Pythagorean Win Expectation||81.01%||18.99%|
We are living in a reality in which VMI and Wagner are both out of the running for Reverse Survivor honors. Congratulations to the Keydets on a huge victory.
Part II is here.