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2015 College Lacrosse Preview: Denver's "Scary" Offense

Just how dangerous are the Pioneers at the offensive end of the field?

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Lacrosse Magazine interviewed a host of opposing coaches to get their feel on the nation's best teams. Using a quote from those coaches, we're building out context to a specific thought.

The quote:

"Scary on offense. As dangerous a team at that end of the field as you will find."

Matt Brown has built a nightmare out in Colorado for opposing defenses to address. The Pios straight up assaulted the net last year, running with the most efficient offense in the country:

DENVER'S SOCIOPATHIC OFFENSE: 2014
METRIC VALUE N'TL RANK
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 45.29 1
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.21 9
Shots on Goal per Offensive Opportunity 0.77 1
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 63.17% 5
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 37.13% 3
Raw Offensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 58.78% 2
Offensive Assist Rate 25.09 2
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 37.99 8
Opponent Save Percentage 41.22% 2

That profile isn't necessarily indicative only of what Denver was. Rather, it is prologue for what the Pioneers could be in 2015: Six of the team's top seven point producers from 2014 return to ruin the souls of opposing defenses this season, that sextet accounting for 82 percent of the Pios' goal from last year, almost two-thirds of the team's helpers, 75 percent of the team's total points, and 74 percent of the team's shots (that group shooting an incredible 40.92 percent in the aggregate). The graduation of Jeremy Noble presents an issue for Denver, but the presence of Connor Cannizzaro -- a transfer from Maryland that moved west -- should create even more complexity and power for a unit that was already operating at maximum combustion. This is the nation's best offense.

Denver will face stiff defensive tests in 2015 -- five of the team's 13 opponents this spring finished in the top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency in 2014 while an additional three opponents finished in the top 20 in the same metric -- but the Pioneers are poised to summit those issues. Of the eight strongest defensive teams Denver will face this season the Pioneers faced seven in 2014 and scored on fewer than a third of their possessions against those opponents only twice: Against Villanova on a miserable evening in Philadelphia that was filled with Biblical levels of weather, the Pioneers generated buckets on only about 28 percent of their offensive opportunities; against Ohio State, Denver scored on "only" 32 percent of their offensive opportunities (that's still above the national average for offensive efficiency).

The Pios score on everyone in every way possible, a force that should only exist in novels that are sold in weird bookstores located on side streets in seedy London neighborhoods.