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Eulogizing the 2014 College Lacrosse Season: Boston University

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The Teheeahs had a wicked yeah.

You spent the better part of four months meticulously dissecting the 2014 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 67 teams and their 2014 campaigns, mostly because everything needs a proper burial.

VITAL SIGNS

BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS
METRIC VALUE NATIONAL RANK
2014 Record 2-12 (2-6, Patriot) N/A
2014 Winning Percentage 14.29% 63
2013 Record N/A N/A
2013 Winning Percentage N/A 54
2014 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 22.72% 60
2013 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation N/A N/A
Value Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation N/A N/A
National Rank Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation N/A N/A
2014 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 24.69 59
2013 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency N/A N/A
Value Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency N/A N/A
National Rank Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency N/A N/A
2014 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 35.82 58
2013 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency N/A N/A
Value Change in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency N/A N/A
National Rank Change in Defensive Efficiency N/A N/A
Downloadable Team Profile (.pdf)

"ATTA BOY!" FACT

Unlike Monmouth (a fellow first-year program), Boston University collared two wins -- both on the road -- and took advantage of those opportunities in their first tour through Division I lacrosse. These two victories were important for the Terriers: Boston University was favored or in a toss-up scenario only three times in 2014; two of those situations resulted in a victory baths. Leaving opportunities hanging in the wind decreases momentum, and the Terriers managed to find ways to earn valuable victories in two-thirds of the opportunities that it had to throw hands with opponents residing in its weight class.

"I'M A WINNER!"
OPPONENT RESULT LOG5
Lafayette 12-7 (W) 67.01%
Holy Cross 9-8 (W) 47.44%

The thumping of the Leopards was impressive. Not only was it the first win in the Terriers' history, but Boston University never trailed Lafayette, building an early 5-0 lead and accelerating through the fourth quarter when the Leopards closed the Terriers' lead to two. The Leopards weren't particularly good in 2014 -- Boston University's chances for victory in a log5 environment are indicative of that fact -- but the Terriers still uncorked a violent crunching of the Leopards on Lafayette's home field. That's impressive.

With respect to the Holy Cross win, Boston University entered a situation where its opponent was square with what the Terriers had its in arsenal, squeezing out a one-goal win that required Boston University to score two goals in the final period to break a 7-7 tie and assure victory. The Terriers found resilience in a game where the outcome was seriously in question, finishing their first season in the Patriot League with a very respectable 2-6 record.

Winning is a real pain in the ass, but Boston University soared in most of the opportunities that it had to legitimately earn victories.

"YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT

Big things are usually responsible for explosions, but little things often serve as a lit fuse. The Terriers had issues with the little things in 2014: Clearing, mitigating turnovers, and vacuuming groundballs were notable areas of concern for Boston University. This isn't surprising for a first-year program; many teams that move into Division I struggle with these kinds of things as the pace of play and athleticism inherent in this level of lacrosse requires a period of adjustment. These little things aren't the reason that teams win or lose games, but they contribute to the overall volition of games and can provide signals as ceiling-defining metrics. Here's how the Terriers finished the year in clearing, turnover rate, and groundball play:

THIS LIL' GUY? I'D WORRY ABOUT THIS LIL' GUY
METRIC VALUE NT'L RANK
Clearing Percentage 76.86% 66
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 61.77 67
Turnover Margin -16.60 65
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 26.57 57
Opponent Caused Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 35.20 66
Team Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Opportunities 23.11 64
Run-of-Play Groundballs Margin -10.18 67

Not valuing the ball or possession is a great way to experience Old Testament-style fury. The Terriers were ugly in all of these areas last spring, but with a roster so young and a conference slate so difficult it's not mind-exploding that Boston University struggled as much as any team in the nation in these areas. These profile attributes are a concern, but only if the Terriers run with similar features in 2015. These are teachable and addressable issues, ones that ease to the background of the landscape as development occurs. Valuing the bean and valuing the opportunity to value the bean are hallmarks of death machine lacrosse teams. Boston University has some work to do in those areas.

THE DISTANT FUTURE

The Terriers just announced an 18-member Class of 2018, featuring 16 freshman and three transfers. A handful of the incoming players sport All-American tags, which should help Ryan Polley's staff transition from a program groping its way through to the dark to one that starts to understand the landscape around them. Buckets of wins isn't likely in Boston University's immediate future, but that doesn't matter when 46 players on the roster are between true freshman and redshirt sophomores (the team currently lists 50 players on its 2014-2015 roster). The Terriers got off to a decent start at acting like a Division I program, but the scope of the team's efforts next spring are still built around defining their existence.