(6) Maryland v. (3) North Carolina
Maryland entered Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and proceeded to dismember North Carolina in cruel and sadistic ways, finishing its demolition of the Tar Heels with a 14-7 victory. The loss prolongs Carolina's epic Championship Weekend dry spell -- the Heels haven't been to the Final Four since 1993, the year that the Buffalo Bills lost their third consecutive Super Bowl -- while Maryland moves on to its fourth Championship Weekend appearance in the last five seasons. Bryan Cole had a power-packed five points for the Terps on four goals and an assist and Joe LoCascio chipped in a goal and three helpers. Joey Sankey accounted for three goals and an assist in his collegiate finale and Jimmy Bitter penned a one-and-two performance to complement his linemate.
Maryland uncorked a prodigious beating of North Carolina's rump in the first half. Running with an estimated five-possession advantage in the first 30 minutes of the game, Maryland registered goals on over 56 percent if its 16 estimated possessions in the first two stanzas while yielding tallies to North Carolina at a rate slightly above 18 percent. This efficiency disparity -- one in which North Carolina's offense and defense significantly deviated from each unit's season-long rates of production, the Tar Heels ranking in the top 10 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency prior to meeting the Terps in Annapolis -- combined with Maryland's possession advantage provided the circumstances necessary to propel the Terrapins to a comprehensive 9-2 lead over Carolina at the intermission. Kyle Bernlohr exhibited his usual goalkeeping sophistication, turning away four shots while holding a 66.67 save percentage, but it was Maryland's offensive showcase that turned heads: The Terps shot 45.00 percent in the first half while committing only three turnovers, putting almost half of the teams shots on net and blowing each on-goal attempt past Kieran Burke. It was North Carolina that was expected to author that kind of performance -- the Tar Heels shot just 13.33 percent in the first half hour of the game while committing turnovers on over 60 percent of the team's 11 estimated first half offensive opportunities -- yet the Terps were able to pivot the anticipated advantages that Carolina held and bash them into dust while composing the best half of Maryland's season.
The Terps, however, were not finished toying with the Heels' soul. Maryland came out of the halftime break and proceeded to score four consecutive goals -- the markers were part of an eight-goal run for the Terrapins that started at the 10:50 mark of the second quarter and ended on a Dylan Maltz bucket with 6:52 remaining in the third period -- and hold North Carolina scoreless for what amounted to a 24:20 stretch, the conflagration completely eviscerating the Tar Heels from the shores of the Chesapeake. Ripping through four goals on 14 shots, the markers coming on half of the Terps' eight estimated offensive opportunities, and holding North Carolina to two buckets on 11 attempts, the Tar Heels converting on less than 30 percent of their seven estimated offensive opportunities, ended any hope that North Carolina harbored to shift the balance of the universe in the team's favor before the final gun sounded. Maryland ate the Tar Heels' face and feasted with a sociopathic hunger, "relenting" only late in the contest with the Terps' satiated and fat on the remains of North Carolina's dreams.
|Estimated Possession Margin||+3 (34)||-4 (31)|
|Estimated Raw Offensive Efficiency||41.18||22.58|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||30.43%||17.07%|
|Estimated Turnover Rate||23.53||41.94|
|Team Save Percentage||68.18%||36.36%|