If the 2014 iteration of Mount St. Mary's played the 2014 iteration of Wagner a hundred times, The Mount would win somewhere around 45 of those meetings. But the Seahawks and Mountaineers aren't going to meet 100 times this season, and in the one meeting between the two schools this year, it was Mount St. Mary's -- crowned Reverse Survivor champions in mid-March -- that came away with a 9-5 win. That victory was pretty impactful for the Mountaineers as it:
- Ended Mount St. Mary's 14-game losing streak in 2014;
- Ensured that The Mount wouldn't end the year with a winless season; and
- Shined a little light on the capability of The Mount when the Mountaineers play teams that are more on their competitive level.
It's that last point that is especially interesting about Mount St. Mary's this season. The Mount has been bad this year -- this is one of the worst three or four teams in the nation in 2014 -- and there are lots of reasons for Mount St. Mary's struggles (including a talent and experience issue that is tied to the team's attempt to grasp the Northeast Conference's automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament last season), but one of the hidden aspects to The Mount's difficulties in finding a win -- any win -- is that Mount St. Mary's played a slate well above the team's head.
Importantly, in the team's two games in which it had a 30 percent or greater chance of victory (against Manhattan and Wagner), Mount St. Mary's earned a win (the 9-5 decision against Wagner (The Mount had a 45 percent chance of victory)) and fell by a goal (the 7-8 decision to the Jaspers, a game in which Mount St. Mary's had a 30 percent chance of victory). Now, the Mountaineers' chances for victory is obviously impacted by the team's performance on the field -- and, again, The Mount has been one of the least efficient teams in the nation -- but Mount St. Mary's was facing an uphill climb in 2014 from the word "Go!": Of the 15 teams that The Mount has played this season, 10 are expected -- based on Pythagorean win expectation -- to win at least 45 percent of their games. In other words, two-thirds of of the Mountaineers' schedule has featured teams that are right around or squarely within the top half of the nation in terms of quality.
The Mount wasn't equipped to meet this challenge, and the results that Mount St. Mary's experienced reflects that. The team's strength of schedule -- ranked 38th nationally -- doesn't necessarily excuse the team's less-than-stellar performances on the field (and those performances are adjusted for opponents played), but it does color the team's results.